Contextual Design

Ovid Technologies, which is a Wolters Kluwer company, is trying to get away from products designed by engineers to ones that meet user needs. Jay Chakrapani showed how Ovid’s been using Contextual Design to accomplish this. First Ovid did 2 hour interviews and watching how they did their literature searching. Then there’s an interpretation session, affinity diagrams, visioning and storyboarding, and create paper prototypes. Then Ovid took the prototypes back to the customer to see how they interacted with it. The fun part is inventing new features. The process uses real customers not personas.

Early findings: There are two camps of users, structured subject searchers versus web searchers; content currency and full text is critical; literature search is one step in a process that involves many applications; there’s no time for training; and search process is separate from reading articles.

Marydee Ojala
Editor, ONLINE: The Leading Magazine for Information Professionals

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