Using Claims Analysis to Evaluate Your Design

Claims analysis  is a common technique which is employed in evaluating the positive side and the negative side of a design. The technique helps in examining the positive and negative effects of a particular design in the current scenario and in the future scenario when in use. It is a statement or statements which give the effects or consequences of a particular design or an artifact to the final users or stakeholders.

Claims analysis follows some criteria which ensure that the consequences to the users are classified accordingly as to whether they are negative or positive. The criteria may include the attributes of a target user group, the theories surrounding cognitive psychology, environmental attributes, computer-human interactions and the knowledge of the target users among other factors.

How to conduct the claims analysis

Come up with the list of all key stakeholders such as the designers, new users, developers, expert users, product managers among others whom you may consider important to the design. The people who will feel the design in one way or another must be involved.

Come up with a number of scenarios which describe how the users or people will utilize the product. This is an important description as it will guarantee the success of claims analysis.

Out of all the scenarios above, extract those which contain the features that you are mostly interested in. There are those features in your design which will have greater impact on users as opposed to others, these are the ones to be extracted and considered in the claims analysis.

After extracting the key features in your design, then arrange them starting with the most significant feature and end with the less significant feature. This is sometimes called a priority list.

From the list of priority, generate a list of negative claims and positive claims for those high priority features. This must be done by the stakeholders that were selected or nominated earlier. This can be achieved by conducting interviews, brainstorming by the stakeholders, use of a set of structured questions, visiting literature to gather some information in respect to the features of your interest. This will help in coming up with the negative and positive effects of the design.

From the list of claims, come up with tradeoffs with a target of decreasing the number of negative effects as the numbers of positive effects are increased. In overall, this will ensure that the number of positive claims surpass the negative claims. The negative claims must be reduced as much as it may be practically possible. This process must be repeated for the next key feature with the intention of decreasing the negative claims as the positive ones are increased.

This will eventually help in evaluating/examining a design to ensure that designs with less negative claims are taken up as compared to those with more negative claims. This is based on the impact of the design on the stakeholders.

Claims analysis is simple and does not cost a lot of money to conduct.

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Jessica Miller
Jessica is the Lead Author & Editor of UsabilityLab Blog. Jessica writes for the UsabilityLab blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to usability.
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