Introducing User-Centered Systems Design

  • Frank E. Ritter
  • Gordon D. Baxter
  • Elizabeth F. Churchill


If designers and developers want to design better technologies that are intended for human use they need to have a good understanding of the people who are or who will be using their systems. Understanding people, their characteristics, capabilities, commonalities, and differences allows designers to create more effective, safer, efficient, and enjoyable systems. This book provides readers with resources for thinking about people—commonly called “users”—their tasks and the context in which they perform those tasks. Our intention is to enable you to make more informed decisions when designing complex interactive systems. This chapter thus introduces this argument through example design problems. We then present the benefits and costs associated with understanding the user. Two approaches for understanding users are introduced. The first is a framework called the ABCS for understanding, in broad strokes, different aspects of users. The second is user knowledge and action simulation for developing and testing how users approach tasks in more detail. After reading this chapter you should be able to appreciate why it is important to understand users, and the associated benefits and costs of doing so.


Interface Design Cognitive Architecture Short Messaging System Fundamental Attribution Error Aircraft Pilot 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank E. Ritter
    • 1
  • Gordon D. Baxter
    • 2
  • Elizabeth F. Churchill
    • 3
  1. 1.College of ISTThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.School of Computer ScienceUniversity of St AndrewsSt AndrewsUK
  3. 3.eBay Research LabsSan JoseUSA

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