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Maturity

For a product to achieve a guaranteed level of usability its development process should be human-centred.  In order to be effective, human-centred methods have to be integrated into the product development process.  This integration has to take account of the current state of the developer’s processes and the overall attitude to usability (or the maturity of the human-centredness) of the organisation.  Philip Crosby’s well-known Quality Management Process Maturity Grid (Crosby, 1978) can be applied to an organisation’s attitude to product usability.

Stage

Typical Attitude

Ignorance

“We don’t have problems with usability”

Uncertainty

“We don't know why we have problems with usability”

Awakening

“Do we always have to have these problems with usability?”

Enlightenment

“Through management commitment and improvement of human-centred processes we are identifying and resolving our problems”

Wisdom

“Usability defect prevention is a routine part of our operation”

 These attitudes give goals for the level of maturity of the management and development processes in an organisation. 

The Human-centredness of an organisation is the extent to which its approach to system development focusses specifically on making systems usable.

In order to select which goals are appropriate for a particular business, and to plan how to reach these goals, an organisation needs an overview of the usability-related parts of its development processes.  A human-centred (HC) maturity model provides such an overview. It describes all of the HC activities which have to be carried out in order to ensure that products are usable. Such a model also contains criteria for deciding how well human-centred management and project activities are being performed.  Examples of the use of an HC maturity model are:

  • a high level plan for setting up usability activities
  • basis of workshops to identify and resolve barriers to effective exchange of usability information
  • assessment of the capability of sub-contractors or service providers
  • benchmarking of usability process in an organisation against its competitors.

The Human Centredness Scale (HCS) was developed to present levels of maturity. To see a slide presentation on the Human Centredness Scale, click here.

 

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