Media and creativity

Partner N. and Name
CF - CyberForum e.V.

1st Pilot Video

2nd Pilot Video

Pilot Concept and Approach

CyberForum is responsible for the pilot in the field of “Media and Creativity”. With the intensive help of the pilot stakeholders it elaborated the concept for an “Open Innovation and Usability Testing Lab” (OpenInUse-Lab). OpenInUse-Lab is a Living Lab for testing new websites, web applications and mobile apps in a user-oriented way. It includes the support of Open Innovation processes and allows users to actively enhance the product by giving and rating feedback. 

Usability testing and Open Innovation processes serve companies to develop their products together with users by incorporating their ideas during development. Both processes interact and enable a comprehensive feedback on the usability of software.

However, usability testing and Open Innovation processes hardly matter in medium-sized companies, even though the use of new technologies and devices imposes a constant advancement of software (Fraunhofer IAO: Usability im Mittelstand verankern, 2013). The methods of usability engineering (UE) proposed by research are rarely if ever adopted. This fact can be mainly explained by the high costs of usability testing: UE experts can evaluate products reasonably only if they have significant expertise in the application field of the products. This either raises the price of the UE experts or ends up in an observation that focuses only on the user interface. Additionally, usability laboratories are very expensive and usually not affordable for SMEs, especially if iterative, fine-grained usability testing is required. Therefore, measures have to be developed within the pilot strongly addressing the issues of usability and Open Innovation for SMEs. The proposed approach promises to offer usability testing as a service with significant cost advantages. By this way particularly small and medium sized enterprises are able to provide low-costs usability tests and their products can be faster ready for marketability. On the one hand this will strengthen national and international competitiveness of the companies and on the other hand the customer acceptance for tested products will be enhanced.

Organisation of the Pilot Action

The pilot itself was created within an Open Innovation process: The idea of the self-learning usability testing software was published on a portal where interested experts and (potential) users were able to discuss and rate the approach as well as the feedbacks. Additionally, many workshops with the pilot stakeholders were held in order to improve the concept and to elaborate the technical structure of the pilot. The CyberForum team also supported and attended the World Usability Day and UX-Day in Mannheim (Germany) several times in order to be able to discuss with usability experts personally and thus to get even more valuable inputs for the pilot. By and by it became clear that the full potential of the self-learning usability testing software could be tapped only if an Open Innovation process would be included.

Approach

In a first step usability testing software will be developed as a “Software-as-a-Service”-solution. It will allow usability experts, developers, researchers and end-users to give feedback on the usability of software, platforms, (mobile) applications, websites or similar products. The software shall be able to learn from the experts´ feedback.

The software will also integrate the possibility for users to give general feedback on the products and to rate the feedbacks and ideas. Thus it will allow an Open Innovation process that will lead to more demand-driven products.

In a second step the software will be adopted in that way that it will be able to give itself automatically feedback on usability and on potential enhancements for the products – based on the learnings and findings of step 1. Due to the fact that a Living Lab is an ecosystem for experimentation and co-creation with real users in real life environments, the pilot itself can be seen as an Online Living Lab. Here, end users together with researchers and companies and public institutions jointly explore, design and validate new and innovative products, services, solutions and business models.

All services will be – during the testing phase – available for all SmarterCity Karlsruhe participants, including citizens. In the following final roll-out phase the pilot will become “transnational”: It will be translated into English and made available for all CentraLab partners – again accessible via the online platform. The latter ones will be able to offer all available services to their members; in that way many companies will be able to benefit from the planned CentraLab pilot project outputs.

 Activities for the future

As a first step to the development of the usability testing and Open Innovation software, the stakeholders have to apply for funding. The technical as well as financial risk of the planned development is for all stakeholders too high.

The stakeholders intend to build a Usability Competence Centre in a joint venture as soon as the software is implemented and ready to use. The involved usability experts will contribute their competence regarding usability and Open Innovation processes. Services offered in the Competence Centre could include requirement analyses regarding the usability of IT products, the procurement of usability experts on special topics or the organisation of different kinds of events, focussing on theme-specific experience and information exchange (workshops, round tables, conferences ...).

For further information go to: http://usebox.eu
 
You can contact CentraLab Media & Creativity pilot responsible persons:


Tamara Högler
Ilona Daum