Application Envisioning idea
Examples from three knowledge work domains:
(Illustrated above) An architect likes a feature in her building modeling application that allows her to browse diverse information based on her current selection in the computing tool. For example, it may pull up similar details from previous projects within her
studio or download reviews for a particular brand of building material from a
leading industry website that she frequently visits.
In many knowledge work domains, the quality of workers’ outputs (L1) can largely be based on the information that they locate and make use of while completing their efforts. While some types of work rely on a single, standard reference, many practices can be better supported by a variety of sources, which individuals can choose to synthesize or use selectively (G5).
A scientist has selected two online databases to use as supplemental reference information about genetic sequences in her clinical studies. She links these databases to her analysis application so that when she becomes interested in a specific genetic sequence during her data explorations, she can easily compare reference information on the sequence from two different sources that she trusts.
A financial trader knows that the market prices displayed in his trading application are an automatically blended average of three different pricing feeds, supplied by different three different vendors.
Based on specific understandings of information needs and use (A), product teams can envision functionality concepts that could positively transform how workers access content from valued outside sources (E3, E4). Integrated information can be presented in clear, potentially novel, comparative representations (F3, F5) that are tailored to workers’ goals and approaches (F). When applicable, teams can also envision scenarios and design concepts for promoting the serendipitous discovery of unexpected and useful external content (G6).
Choices surrounding which information sources to use can be highly political due to conflicting industry standards and the divergent preferences of individuals or their organizations (A4, K3, K12). Appropriate levels of customization can make these integrative features more meaningful in a greater number of product adoption contexts (C8).
When product teams do not actively consider the potential role of outside information sources within their application concepts, opportunities to reduce workers’ information seeking efforts (C4, D4) and to represent continuities across sources can be lost. When choosing to reference information feels like an extra step, people may be inclined to limit their use of outside content or to consider fewer sources, which may in turn reduce the creativity and quality of their work outcomes (L1).
See also: C1, E, I
Application Envisioning questions:
More specific questions for product teams to consider:
Which references and resources do targeted individuals know and respect? Are there standards, or are people more likely to turn to the breadth of the Web for potential options?
What value do certain information sources provide? How do workers apply their relevant content?
Do individuals currently use more than one source at the same time when seeking information? What continuities and contrasts do they look for across sources?
Which commonly used resources and data repositories might feasibly be linked to, or somehow incorporated within, your team’s computing tool?
Could your firm offer its own reference content as a value added feature? What impact might such a service have on your design strategy and brand?
What larger market, technology, and design trends could influence your team’s ideas about valuably making outside information available “inside” your application concepts?
When and where might certain types of integrated information provide value within the interactive flows of your sketched functionality concepts?
How might useful representational characteristics of existing information sources
be preserved or even enhanced within the boundaries of your computing tool?
What novel interactive and representational concepts might your team envision to usefully distill outside information and clarify its relationships to associated content within your product? How might these displays valuably offload comparative
Do you have enough information to usefully answer these and other envisioning questions? What additional research, problem space models, and design concepting could valuably inform your team’s application envisioning efforts?
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