Contextual design (CD) is a user-centered design process developed by Hugh Beyer and Karen Holtzblatt. It incorporates ethnographic methods for gathering. Karen Holtzblatt, Hugh Beyer, A tool supporting capture and analysis of field research data using the contextual design methodology, CHI ‘ The authors developed Contextual Design, the method discussed here, through their work with teams struggling to design products and internal systems.

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Views Read Edit View history. HoltzblattKaren and JonesSandra Apprenticing with the Customer. Amazon Rapids Fun stories for kids on the go. And so Contextual Design prescribes interviews that are not pure ethnographic observations, but involve the user in discussion and reflection on their contextula actions, intents, and values.

Toward a Contextusl Development Process. Participatory design in a human-computer interaction course: It is intentionally rough and high-level – a vision sets a possible design direction, without fleshing out every detail.

Up to this point, a Contextual Design project focuses on understanding the users as desihn are. After completing the wall, participants “walk” the affinity diagram to stimulate new ideas and identify any remaining issues or holes in data.

Contextual design has also been widely used as a means of teaching user-centered design and human-computer interaction at the university level Weinberg and StephenLarusdottir When the user discovers problems, they and the designers redesign the prototype together to fit their needs. Contextual Design explains the customer’s role in product design to high-tech product teams.


Contextual Design personas are built from the detailed data gathered through Contextual Inquiry interviews, so they have the richness and depth needed to drive design.

Contextual Design | The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, 2nd Ed.

ArmstrongAnne-Marie I will review this product from its material standpoint and not drsign an implementation standpoint. In Interactions6 1 pp. The book was part of a class I took in Carnegie Mellon. Contextual Inquiry field visits allow detailed user interface designs to be iterated with users. They become “aware in the doing,” as Michael Polanyi puts it Polanyi This is especially true when people are taken out of the context of their everyday environment.

Contextual Design can and should be integrated into a whole product concepting and initiation process.

Contextual design

Implications for the designer: It shows each part of the system, how it supports the user’s work, exactly what function is available in that part, and how the user gets to and from other parts of the system – without tying this structure to any particular user interface.

Contextual Design Hugh T This aspect of Contextual Design leverages the work of earlier ethnographic methodologies Garfinkel but extends it in important ways. GreifIrene ed.


Contextual design has primarily been used for the design of computer information systems, including hardware, [3] software. Morgan Kaufman Publishers, Get to Know Us. As Agile processes become more widespread and more accepted, the relationship between Agile development and user-centered processes can be expected to evolve. Contextual Design is rooted in the observation that any technology or system is always situated in a larger environmental context – and that introduction ddsign new solutions invariably changes the environment for its users.

Because this is immensely important, so in Contextual Design, work models are used to capture the work of individuals and organizations in diagrams.

Refining the design with users gives designers a customer-centered desivn to resolve disagreements and work out the next layer of requirements. Morgan Kaufmann; 1 edition September 15, Language: They are living with the customer. And the simpler a testing process is, the more time is available for multiple iterations to work out the detailed design with users.

So contextuual important to test and iterate a design early, before anyone gets invested in the design and before spending time writing code.