The doctoral dissertations of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and Aalto University Schools of Technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI) published in electronic format are available in the electronic publications archive of Aalto University - Aaltodoc.

Information Support for User-Oriented Development Organisation – Considerations Based on the Construction and Evaluation of Knowledge Storage

Marko Nieminen

Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology to be presented with due permission of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering for public examination and debate in Auditorium T2 at Helsinki University of Technology (Espoo, Finland) on the 22nd of October, 2004, at 12 o'clock noon.

Dissertation in PDF format (ISBN 951-22-7308-X)   [1578 KB]
Dissertation is also available in print (ISBN 951-22-7307-1)


User-centred development of interactive systems and devices has received increasing importance in product development organisations. So far, the answer from the usability engineering community has been the offering of different types of methods that can be applied during the development work in different stages of the development process. As the amount of applicable methods increase and the stakeholder population utilising these methods broadens, support for the management of this usability engineering work becomes important. This includes considerations about the arrangement of the organisation performing the development work as well as the tools and methods that supports this.

The objective of this study is the modelling and construction of information support for product development that takes user-centred issues into consideration. The main research question of the study is "What kind of information management system can provide support for user-oriented product development?" Boundaries for the main research question are presented with the focus areas of the work that point out insights from the organisational standpoint as well as from the standpoint of the methods and tools.

The methodological standpoint has a longer tradition in the HCI field than the organisational one. In the literature review part of this thesis, methods that are used rather widespread are introduced in order to find out the characteristics and requirements that they point out for the surrounding information support systems and the hosting organisation. The organisational standpoint is studied and reflected in the three empirical studies that illustrate the contemporary arrangement and organisation of product development. Product development is addressed also in the literature review.

Building on the findings, a framework of the characteristics for a hosting organisation is presented. The framework consists of five levels: organisational orientation (values, attitude), life-cycle considerations (business/process/product), generic development support (methods and tools), quality instructions (organisation-specific adjustments of the generic level), and information support (operative level). This framework points out the position of an information support system in the organisational surroundings. After this 'positioning', more detailed modelling, design and implementation of the supporting information support system, the "Knowledge Storage" is presented.

The results from the construction and evaluation of the Knowledge Storage point out needs for information support applications (developer community, roles, awareness, contribution evaluation). The results also reveal difficulties in the making of these kinds of applications attached to real development projects and activities (migration of existing knowledge base, 'suitable' project, application integration, implementation of baseline functionality vs. value-added features).

Keywords: usability, CSCW, product development, software engineering

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© 2004 Helsinki University of Technology

Last update 2011-05-26