Users Award Living Lab

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Information doc: 

UALL: Aake Walldius; CSC/KTH, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden; UsersAward AB: Ove Ivarsen; UsersAward, 105 53 Stockholm, Sweden;

Effective member: 

The Users Award network of professional societies, trade unions, universities, ICT software providers and consultancies offers a unique forum for designing, trying out, validating and spreading the use of new innovative instruments for measuring user experience and satisfaction with ICT tools and environments. The network’s multi- stakeholder involvement provides a productive setting for trying out and discussing user experience design criteria and methods based on the popular yearly Users’ IT Prize competition, effective national and organisation wide user satisfaction measurements, and transparent certification assessments of workplace ICT software packages.


As the successful TCO hardware quality initiative that today has reached 500 million end-users [3] the UsersAward software quality initiative is a combined trade union and research projects. Thus, the users involved in the UALL activities are real end-users of software services that take an active interest in their daily tools for work and communication. There involvement takes many forms:  

 - in local research projects and pilot studies operators, nurses (and a wealth of other occupations), technical staff and ICT managers involve themselves in interviews, focus groups, and design workshops to propose new local workplace specific ways of working and new enabling ICT services

 - in User Conferences and user panels end-users and management are involved in discussion new, more general work patterns and design principles for enabling software services (like in the Users’ Day 2000- 2008 and World Usability Day 2009 with a full day programme and from 2011 with the yearly Users’ IT Prize Contest).

 - in national, inter- and intra-organisational ICT satisfaction questionnaires and interviews that assess how today’s services does, and does not, live up to those design principles.

References and Track Record

UsersAward has since 2003 awarded seven User Certified 2002 and 2006 certificates to software providers for software packages that have met and exceeded the expectations of users who have used the packages for at least one year. The certification method is described in [4] and in sum builds on a procedure in which:

1) candidate software providers describe there services in a self-declaration and name three successful workplaces using their package where they are confident that users are satisfied  

2) interviews with end-users and managers on all three workplaces

3) broad end-user questionnaires to all major professions (stakeholders)

4) a screening of results by the certification team against the general formula: that two thirds of all criteria should be met with a mean value of 4 (out of 6) points, in both interviews and questionnaires, for all professions, on two out of three workplaces.

UsersAward has arranged yearly ICT Users Prize Contests since 2000 in which end users from manufacturing industry and the service and health care sectors are invited to nominate their favourite workplace ICT system of which five systems, screened by an evaluation team and ranked by a jury of well known and respected decision makers from the field, are presented at the yearly Users’ Day / World Usability Day (beginning 2010) events. The method for gaining satisfaction data from the contestants are the same as for the UC 2006, except step 1, which is replace with a presentation by the finalist software providers at the final events.  

UsersAward has performed four comprehensive national surveys, IT Maps, of user satisfaction in manufacturing, health care and banking. The methodology and user experience criteria are the same as for UC 2006, although, as of yet, there is no ranking and the results are presented in a public “IT Map” booklet.

UsersAward has performed a series of internal user satisfaction surveys, particularly in the health care and utilities sector which are not public but which give important insights and method enhancement input to the much bigger public part of the activities.

The UsersAward initiative has emerged in the mixed reality of, at worst, having to cope with bad ICT tools on the shop and office floors of big anonymous organisations, or at best, being blessed with agile software providers that succeed in listening to and meeting the needs of end-user – like the 50 proud finalists who have presented their successful co-creative interaction of all their local stake-holders at the Users’ Day / World Usability Day events since 2000.  

In order to sustain the immediacy of these relations to local workplaces, the instruments, activities and processes of UALL all build on openness, e.g. transparent certification protocols (combining statistics, diagrams, and end-user/management quotes) and open procedures where quality assurance methods are described for the Users’ IT Prize and ICT maps on the UsersAward and the HCI/KTH web sites [1,2].




[4] Walldius, Å., Sundblad, Y., Sandblad, B., Bengtsson, L., & Gulliksen, J. (2009), ”User certification of Workplace Software – Assessing both Artefact and Usage”, accepted for publication in BIT, Behaviour & Information Technology, Vol. 28, Issue 2, 2009, pp 101-120.