Information System Quality – Design

3 Feb

Research around the subject of IS Design has led to the common and academic understanding that there are two major elements that make up the design process. These are 1) the limitations of the software engineering and 2) the user-acceptance perspective.

The designer is limited by the technology available, the idea of touch screen devices has been around for decades (Even Sci-Fi movies in the 1950’s showed their idea of the future with touch screen devices) however its only really in the last five years that the technology has become cost effective and with it widespread growth and acceptance. Many futurists are designing ways to interact with hologram based designs but again like touch screens ten years ago the technology is not yet available. [1][2][3]

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The user-acceptance perspective ensures that designers build their systems with the end user in mind. Without thinking of the eventual end of day users then the design may be completed with fundamental flaws and require expensive re-designs. [4][5]

One great example of terrible foresight and lack of user inclusion in the design was that of the PlayStation 3 launch in 2005. To unveil their new console Sony developed a new controller called the ‘Boomerang’, to replace their established Dual Shock controller. Fans of the console didn’t take to the new controller at all and started buying third party replacements. Sony was losing millions so just after the launch of their new flagship product they ditched the Boomerang for a traditional Dual Shock controller. [6][7]

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Now a research paper has been published claiming that there is a third element to the design process, Incentive Alignment; “As organizational processes are increasingly embedded within information systems, one of the key considerations of many business processes—organizational incentives—should become an important dimension of any information systems design and evaluation”[8]

In the paper ‘Introducing a Third Dimension in Information Systems Design—The Case for Incentive Alignment’  they claim that incentive issues have become of central importance to Information Systems, including knowledge management, e-business supply chain coordination and decision support systems. In their paper they produce a framework to the inclusion of Incentive Alignment into Information System Design.  [9]

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In the conclusion they state that; “For an information system to be correctly designed, it should embody the right incentives, so that users have no incentive to cheat the system or can never be better off by distorting information.”

I must say that I’m quite inclined to agree with this paper and that Incentive Alignment has an important place in the future of the design process. Let me know if you agree or disagree.

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