Enabling the user - Exploring methodological effects on user requirements elicitation

Abstract: This thesis concerns centred product development and more specifically how methodological choices in user requirements elicitation can enable the users to communicate their requirements to the product developers. During the development process choices have to be made concerning what methodology to use for eliciting user requirements. These choices include the choice of data collection method, the choice of participants, the choice of mediating object, and the choice of context. In order to explore how different methodological choices can work as enabler in user requirements elicitation two case studies, three comparative studies, and a survey have been carried out. The results show that all four methodological choices influence user requirements elicitation in terms of their enabling effect. Product use experience and to what extent the method could provide the users with product use experience seem to be the most important factor to enable the users. An important finding was that enabling the user also includes enabling the designer to understand the user and the use situation in order for the designer to interpret the users' requirements. A conscious choice of methods can be used as a common tool enabling the user as well as the designer.

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