Establishing shared understanding of product use through collaboratively generating an explicit frame of reference

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Journal Article
CoDesign, 2014, 10 pp. 171 - 190
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© 2014 Taylor & Francis. Recent studies have shown that there is a need to improve usability-related decision-making in product development teams to prevent usability problems in the final product. Those decisions are heavily influenced by the knowledge those teams have of future use situations and expected usability issues. Our previous research showed that design team members often implicitly hold this type of knowledge, but do not share it within the team. This lack of a shared understanding of product use negatively influences the decision-making process. In this paper we present the iterative development of a set of guidelines to support design teams in sharing knowledge of product use through the generation of flexible, explicit and evolving frames of reference. A series of studies in which the guidelines were evaluated suggest that particularly the activity of collaboratively creating the explicit frame of reference contributes to a shared understanding of product use.
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