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humanware

Humanware is hardware and software that emphasizes user capability and empowerment and the design of the user interface. The process of building humanware generally consists of these steps:

  1. Define users (age, mindset, environmental context, previous product experience and expectations, and so forth) and what they really want to do
  2. Identify tasks they will need to do or capabilities they will want
  3. Specify usability objectives (if possible, these should be measurable, such as how long to do something or how many mouse clicks to get to a specified task point) for each task or capability
  4. Build a prototype of the user interface (it can be a paper or simulated prototype if time is short)
  5. Test and verify or correct the prototype
  6. Provide the prototype and usability objectives to the program designers and coders
  7. Test the code against the prototype and objectives and, if necessary, redesign or recode the software
  8. Test the product with users or valid test subjects and revise as necessary
  9. Get feedback from users and continually improve the product

Philips Research uses the term for both software and hardware that is specially designed to interact with users, including its speech synthesis and speech recognition microchips.

This was last updated in October 2005
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