Application Envisioning idea
Examples from three knowledge work domains:
(Illustrated above) A financial trader knows that the pricing information in his trading application is updated continuously based on current market conditions. Their database of security names and symbols is less dynamic, updating every weeknight at 10 PM EST to reflect any changes announced during the previous trading day.
Understanding changes in information environments can be a necessary skill for knowledge workers. Individuals may monitor certain content to support their own understanding of what progress is being made inside their organizations or in their fields at large (C7, G4, H3). Their investment in maintaining an ongoing understanding of certain information’s currency can also be rooted in its potential influence on their own work outcomes (L1).
A scientist knows that her analysis application updates certain reference information about genetic sequences daily and that when she views details on a specific sequence, the information is pulled in real time from online databases, which are updated more sporadically.
An architect knows that all of the reference material about building regulations in her building modeling application was entered by her team at the start of the project. This content will not be updated unless someone on her team manually makes changes, which the application will then highlight as people work on related areas of the model.
The introduction of interactive computing into work practices can add new challenges for tracking these types of changes. For example, applications can increase the frequency of some types of information updates through automation (E3, E4, K10) and reduce the effort required to make sweeping changes across multiple data objects (D2, D3).
Product teams can map key information currency scenarios in targeted work practices (A) and envision functionality concepts that could support desirable awarenesses and understandings. These envisioned responses can include appropriate introductory instruction (C1, K2), notifications (D6), and contextual visual cues (F10, F11).
When product teams do not actively consider how their application concepts might promote a consistent model and messaging approach for information updates, resulting computing tools may render important transformations effectively invisible. When workers are presented with unexpected disruptions in content, a product’s trustworthiness can suffer (K12, K13). Users may develop alternate conceptions of how and when content is updated, potentially causing them to act in error (C9, G3) or to incorporate extra actions into their practices to ensure that they are working with current content (D4).
See also: B2, C5, B6, C8, E5, G6, H
Application Envisioning questions:
More specific questions for product teams to consider:
What value do targeted individuals place on understanding the “freshness” of different types of information in the work practices that your team is striving to mediate?
What mental models and shared narratives do workers have about how the various types of information in their practices are currently updated?
How do workers assess the currency of certain types of information that they encounter in their efforts? What cues do they reference?
How can misunderstandings of information currency lead to errors? How do workers currently diagnose and recover from these errors?
How might the adoption of new computing options into targeted work practices create volumes of information where messaging about information currency could be useful or necessary?
When and where might messaging of information updates provide clarifying value in your team’s sketched functionality concepts?
What guiding conceptual models might your team envision to help clarify the process behind, and potential causes of, information updates?
What initial instruction could help instill these conceptual models in users as they adopt your computing tool? How might individual interactions around information currency also convey appropriate background?
How might your team’s design responses for communicating information currency relate to your error prevention and handling conventions? Your sketched approaches for supporting workspace awareness?
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?
< PREVIOUS PAGE | NEXT PAGE >
Back to top | View Table of Contents