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Larry Constantine, Usage Centered Design

 Larry  Constantine, Usage Centered Design

Larry L. Constantine, IDSA, ACM Distinguished Engineer, is an award-winning designer specializing in visual and interaction design for software and Web applications. One of the pioneers of software engineering whose current work centers on usage-centered design, he has contributed numerous concepts and techniques forming the foundations of modern practice in software engineering and applications design and development. His design innovations include numerous patents in human-machine interaction. His publications in both the computer sciences and human sciences include over 175 articles and papers plus 17 books. A highly regarded presenter and teacher, he has lectured and taught around the world.

Constantine is Chief Scientist with Constantine & Lockwood, Ltd., the international design consultancy he co-founded, and Director of the Laboratory for Usage-centered Software Engineering (LabUSE) a research and development initiative at the University of Madeira, Funchal, Portugal, where he is a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Engineering.

Presentation: "Activity Modeling: Understanding User Requirements"

Track:   Software Usability for software developers

Time: Wednesday 13:00 - 14:00

Location: Westminster Suite


The very heart of end user requirements is an in-depth understanding of what users need to accomplish with a system. However, user interaction with a system does not take place in a vacuum but is always embedded within activities that involve other people, systems, and artifacts. Understanding this larger context puts user requirements into perspective and can guide designers and developers toward better software solutions.

This class shows how concepts from activity theory can be used to improve the modeling of user requirements. Essential use cases, widely used for task modeling and user requirements, can be coupled with activity models to yield a richer and more precise picture of the real needs of users. The combination of an activity model with a participation model and a performance model can guide designers and developers toward solutions that are better suited to how and where systems are actually used.

Presentation: "Pre Banquet Keynote: Meeting the Usability Challenge"

Time: Wednesday 18:30 - 19:30

Location: Fleming Room


In an era of lean and agile development practices and growing pressures to deliver features ahead of the pack, developers and their managers need to use resources wisely. Although nearly everyone acknowledges the importance of users and user experience, usability often ends up pushed to the back of the queue. How then can we know whether what we are delivering makes sense and will work for our users? Designers need to focus sharply on those aspects of users and use with the most impact and greatest potential payoff, but where do we turn?

Usability guru Donald Norman and a growing number of other leaders in the usability field argue that too much attention has been paid to users as people and not enough to what they are doing and trying to do. An approach to usability that focuses on the activities in which users engage offers the potential for delivering dramatic improvements in user performance and satisfaction with much less effort.

Tutorial: "Usage-Centered Software Design: An Activity-Based Approach"

Track:   Tutorial

Time: Monday 09:00 - 16:00

Location: To be announced


The key to better software designs is to base them directly and systematically on a sound understanding of the most important aspects of your users, their activities, and their goals. This intensive hands-on tutorial introduces usage-centered design, a model-driven process with a proven decade-long track record for delivering software and Web applications that better fit the genuine needs of users. Usage-centered design is a systematic process guided by simple but powerful models of users, activities, and user interface contents. By focusing on usage rather than users and abstract rather than realistic models, designers can more quickly understand the essence of user needs and derive innovative designs that better support those needs. Through a model-driven process, the specific features and facilities of the actual visual and interaction design can be traced directly to elements modeling user needs.

This tutorial for designers, developers, and their managers emphasizes streamlined modeling techniques for quickly and effectively capturing, organizing, and validating information and insight about users and their needs. Using low-tech tools, including index cards, sticky notes, and simplified schematics, participants will have the opportunity for hands-on application and skill-building with a realistic applied design problem. Participants will take away a solid understanding of the usage-centered design process and new techniques that can be put into immediate practice in their own work.