Recently I read an article about Human-Centered Design by Don Norman. (

He compared differences in between Human-Centered Design and Activity-Centered Design and explained that ACD is better in 3 points. 

  1. Tools define the activity: people really do adapt to technology. (HCD asserts as a basic tenet that technology adapts to the person.)
  2. ACD is good for dynamic environment, but HCD is good for static environment.
  3. Too much listening to users makes unfriendly result.

Before going ahead, I felt similar feeling with him. I'm curious whether such sympathy contributed to the winning of best intranet design award 2011 by Nielson Norman Group.
(Yeah, Do Norman found the company.) (My company name KT can be found on the winners paragraph in the link.)

I would like to mention two experience related to the HCD vs ACD. 

<<New Intranet Project>>

When I led the project which won the above best intranet award, there were so many requests from many various users, more than 30,000 employees. Even the project was integrating two different intranets after the merger of the companies and culture was totally different. I started to lead the project in the middle of gathering users requirements. Historically previous intranet manager accepted all the requests they were implementable with given costs. It was one example of HCD. Originally new systems were needed to implement all the functions which two different intranet systems have. But I strongly believed that it was not a good idea because it could also incur inconvenience for other users who didn't need and also cost a lot. (I also heard that one project which had been implemented for all requirements with big expense and later was modified to reduce the functions requested by users to reduce the complexity with also big expense.)(like 3 above) So I focused on the activities and chose core functions and persuaded people why their request would not be implemented. At first they rejected my proposal but finally they accepted. 

One of the module of intranet is mail system and previous mail system was highly customized for a long time with the history of my company. It also had its benefits but the problem was that it was not easy to upgrade even though there were many good new concept we could use: Upgrading meant almost developing new mail systems. So I decided not to customize and I could adapt the changes. During the project iPhone was released in Korea and new mail system could provide mobile mail service without any change and costs (like 2 above). It was amazing experience for me and also for other employees. 

When employees met the new system, they were reluctant to use and sticked to the previous style but soon they adapted to new system quite well by the help of change management (like 1 above).

<<Voting Experience>>

Last weekend I visited Chicago to vote for Korean Presidential Election. I got the email how to go to the voting place like below.(This was cut and translated into english by me. Because I am not familiar with Chicago area even though I visited before, I had to search which bus stop was closer to my hotel. 


      But I had very trivial problems. I thought that Voting place is inside of the Consulate of Korea, so I searched only Voting place, Joongboo Market, and Jefferson Park CTA Blue line using google maps. (Address of voting place was given ahead.) I complained it was too far form downtown and I took taxi to go to bus stop in Joonboo Market but I missed the shuttle bus just in front of my sight because of traffic jam induced by bad weather. So I had to come back to downtown and visit again by taxi. (OMG, taxi fare are quite high there.) After I finished the voting, I got to know that Consulate of Korea is located near my hotel. TT. I thought if they designed brochure using ACD such as including the map like below, I would not spend my time and money. (I thought they might put all the information people want using HCD. If they used ACD, they might find that people who don't know the place well would like to know the location with other information cohesively.)