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Implementing Contextual Design in a Corporation Without a History of Using Contextual Design

April 2013 Presentation
Elizabeth Correa (Verizon)

A presentation from the ninth annual SATURN conference, held in Minneapolis, MN, April 29 - May 3, 2013.


Software Engineering Institute



Contextual design engages the people doing the work and studies their intents and problems to ensure that the software system developed is more in tune with the users' actual needs. It provides a powerful a tool for software engineers to use as input into their requirements and architecture. In a corporation without a history of using contextual design, putting a contextual design culture in place can be an overwhelming task. The author will review three specific methods and tools that the audience can put into practice when they get back to the office. Each method is one that the author has used at Verizon. When the audience leaves they will know:

  • ways to train the interviewers without overwhelming them
  • ways to target areas to use contextual design so as to use the limited resources wisely
  • ways to socialize the gathered information in a multi-country company using corporate communications

These methods save the architect time and allow him or her to successfully roll out a contextual-design culture in their corporation.