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User-Centered Design in Procured Software Implementations

Jen Hocko

Journal of Usability Studies, Volume 6, Issue 2, February 2011, pp. 60 - 74


Beginning in 2008, the author’s IT department started looking at Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) products as an alternative to custom developed applications. Over the next two years, the company would transition from a “build” to “buy” philosophy, and it would be necessary to evolve the role of usability specialists to help incorporate user-centered design practices into both COTS evaluations and implementations. This case study describes how the author contributed to an enterprise-wide implementation of Microsoft SharePoint, as well as some of the challenges faced and lessons learned. It also suggests other ways that usability specialists can participate in COTS implementations.

Practitioner’s Take Away

For usability practitioners whose organizations are increasingly considering COTS product purchases, this author recommends the following:

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User-Centered Design in Procured Software Implementations