Modelling the End-user

Modelling the End-User means creating a profile of the target audience for the resource being developed. Unless the resource maintains the user's interest and involvement in meeting user needs, it cannot succeed. And being able to demonstrate that user needs are met provides essential performance indicators, critical to the evaluation process. Incorporating in a project plan methodological procedures to measure these performance indicators is also valuable in securing project funding by minimising the risk of failure (and many projects do fail! -- Mention, or link to piece based on, the paper Julius gave me about the software crisis.)

Successful design results from a sensitive approach to one's subject: trying to see things from the point of view of the end-user, taking into consideration their needs, expectations and motivations, and communicating in language appropriate to the target user(s). The problem is a complex one, made more difficult by the fact that different people learn best in different ways. If the designer proceeds with the aim of trying to make life simpler and easier for the end-user, even though that means extra design work, the result should be greater user motivation and more effective learning and use of the interactive system. There is an important need, then to accurately model or profile of the end-user, refining the model as the design process proceeds and feedback is obtained through the process of testing and evaluation.

Questions to be answered about the target audience which help in building a model of the user (or user profile) include the following.

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