DocTrain: Document Engineering in User Experience Design

Sarah O'Keefe / ConferencesLeave a Comment

Bob Glushko
blog: Doc Or Die
University of California, Berkeley

Has a history as a consultant in hypertext (Hypertext Engineering), Passage Systems (single-source publishing and SGML), and then Veo (business-to-business commerce stuff), which was purchased by Commerce One. “And I made a gazillion dollars.”

He has just started a company called Document Engineering Services.

What is document engineering?
Designing the information models and repositories that enable document-centric applications.
Building an information supply chain
Examples: tracing lettuce origins because of contamination concerns, simplifying passenger travel (and then some wildly entertaining attacks on TSA, the agency everyone loves to hate), integrating web-based stores and retail stores (purchase something online and return at the local store)

Information tech and business process are co-evolving

  • New business processes are created/coordinated/choreographed via the management and exchange
  • Standards/patterns

Document exchange patterns

  • Businesses exchange documents to transact stuff
  • Supply chains and distribution channels are metaphors for the coordinated flow of information and materials/products
  • Processes are “glued together” by overlapping information components in the documents

Interesting discussion.

Document design questions are fundamentals.

“Drop shipment” pattern
* web store takes the order and validates it
* warehouse has the stuff
* web store notifies the warehouse
* warehouse ships the stuff

“hidden documents in business processes”

overlapping info models from shipping note, purchase order, transaction advice

traditional design approaches were preventing him from seeing the whole problem. Focus on documents is wrong. Need to focus on user experience — not the interface, but Did the Product Arrive on Time and was the order fulfilled properly? Does the right person pay? Does it go to the right address? Did it arrive on time?

Traditional User Experience Design
* emphasis person-to-person interaction
* focuse on touch points where service is delivered or received
* implies that a richer or more personalized user experience is usually better

The need to bridge the “front stage” and “back stage”

* focus on the service encounter implies a sharp distinction between the interaction between customer and provider and what makes the interaction possible.

compare restaurant experience: MacDonald, gourmet restaurant, Japanese steakhouse — amount of “front stage” varies greatly.

“Radical Claims Start Here”

* Many design ideas and methods need to be substantially rethought.
* Moment of truth reveals service quality but rarely determines it.
Front stage/back stage is not an architectural distinction — it is just a point of view.
* It embodies some design biases that cause problems in service system design.

hotel service
* quality of check-in service
* Ritz higher than Motel 6
but missed the point of quality of experience.
Losing the reservation: Bad. No amount of nice will help with that.
kiosk check-in: low interaction/high quality

four encounters at hotel check-in:
* employee looking up reservation
* hotel systems talking to Expedia
* and some others I missed

all have to work for the front stage to work properly
quality is enabled or constrained by all of the service encounters.
even though many encounters don’t involve or are invisible to the customer

service encounters are information exchanged
* person-to-person and machine encounters are less different than you might think.

Service system
* abstraction of service encounters are information exchanges

front stage/back stage distinction is a point of view
tension between front and back stage is not intrisic
merge the mindsets between front and back
services should be modular and configurable
information flow and process models across both
actionable user models
model-based user interfaces

customization and personalization
what information is required to do this?
where can this information come from?

ask question or fill out form?
one form or many over time
how about using information we can already to make it unnecessary to collect information from the user

mass customization/segments of one

model-based UI and UX

personalized banking…specific accounts but generic offers

traditional service design concepts — moment of truth, front stage/back stage

need a methodology for designing service systems that are more horizontal or end-to-end
all services can be viewed abstractly as information exchanges.

Very interesting presentation.

His book is Document Engineering.

About the Author

Sarah O'Keefe


Content strategy consultant and founder of Scriptorium Publishing. Bilingual English-German, voracious reader, water sports, knitting, and college basketball (go Blue Devils!). Aversions to raw tomatoes, eggplant, and checked baggage.

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