A system user is a person who interacts with a system, typically through an interface, to extract some functional benefit. User-centered design, often associated with human–computer interaction, considers a wide range of generic systems. System user also defines the behaviour of the system operations and how the audience(end-user) would interact with the system using pre-designed triggers such as buttons/mouse/keyboard. In order for the system to work on a larger scale using various databases system would have to create an interface that would be suitable for specific level of knowledge that the end user acquires.
- 1 About
- 2 User (system) interaction
- 3 Evolution of user systems
- 4 Usability of information systems
- 5 Importance of modern systems in life
- 6 Examples of user systems
- 7 Related terms
- 8 References
Different types of system structure use different triggers. Some triggers require user to do certain action (e.g. type phone number for the system to call that person), others get triggered by certain activities related to the user (e.g. person calling user`s phone), however in both types of the system the output could be similar (e.g. phone rings).
In most of the systems there are two different types of users, Single-User (e.g. car driver) type of system is only targeted at one user and others cannot interact with the system at the same time with the main user, Multi-User (e.g. university portal) is the type of system where more than one user can interact with interface simultaneously.
User (system) interaction
Depending on the type and purpose of the system operators can either be triggered by the system user himself or by the actions related to the purpose of the system and user. Input or trigger is usually related to the user actions or inserted by the user himself in order to activate the system. Modern triggers include keyboard/mouse/microphone/buttons.
System could be of two types, hardware or software, system connects all the variables and input that are triggered and sent by an operator to produce certain output that the system designer has made the system to do. Output could have many different types, in software systems the output is usually sound/picture and sometimes certain motion outputs as vibration or movement, in hardware system the output can be very different and related to the system purpose (e.g. electrical output) that activates different triggers of the system to do its purpose. Many of the modern systems connect both the hardware and software system in order to manage different purposes (e.g. smartphone).
The designer is the person that is able to change all aspects of the system procedures, programmer is the person interacting with software system and its interface, engineer is the person involved in changing the output and the hardware part of the system. Designer sets all the possible outcomes of the activities that the user is triggering.
It is the type of user that actually interacts with the system that has been resigned, unlike the system designer, end-user doesn`t change any instructions of the system (e.g. software code), end-user only inputs operators in order for the system to produce output that would benefit an end-user.
Evolution of user systems
Long ago human generation had very basic user systems compared to what is available at the moment, old systems were only able to operate with a few operators at a time only, 1-5 operators maximum and now modern systems able to provide user with millions of different outcomes and operate with thousands of triggers simultaneously.
Since the computers were first built and introduced users have seen lots of changes in the design of the systems and interfaces to interact. The most famous OS, Windows has changed in size from less than 1 mb (Windows 1.01) to 20 gb (Windows 10), so during last 30 years Windows OS has increased in size by 20000 times, one of the few and the most significant functions of Windows 1.01 back then was to provide users with an ability to MS-DOS applications. Compared to the 1985 version, Windows 10 has tremendously changed and simplified the way users interact with the system while supporting 1000s of different program formats and extensions.
As for mobile devices, most smartphones and tablets in 2006 used a keyboard, scroll wheel, pen or other device to act as a trigger. In 2007 with the debut of the iPhone users have adopted the screen as the trigger and interface.
Usability of information systems
The problem with designing a new system is always the level of knowledge that is required from a system user to understand how to interact with an interface and, therefore gain increase in productivity of the task that the system is focused on. Many famous systems nowadays use alpha-beta-release scheme of testing the system on approachability to an end user, alpha is the first testing procedures that most software company use, it involves providing access to a small group of people with certain knowledge in order to test the most important features, then the system shifts to a beta phase where the access is gained to the public interested to test the features of the system and by giving access to a much bigger pool of testers system designers make sure that the system is tested under every possible condition for an every given feature, after the system is released to everyone else who is interested. However, since 20th century when the first basic systems were introduced many users had to study a lot about in order to be efficient at the interaction between operators and the system itself.
Importance of modern systems in life
Reliability on modern systems
Nowadays many activities are done by the computers and other iterations of system operators, the problem is that users don`t effectively measure the reliability of the system that is used. For example, if the airplane gyroscopic system goes wrong, pilots could not pay attention at the altitude and the plane could crash. Other example is online banking systems, if there is a mistake in code design the whole system could go wrong and people will lose their money.
Real examples include RBS Group which managed to design a system with a bug and occasionally, on 2 December 2013 millions of customers were not able to pay for the products with their credit/debit cards. Another example
One of the famous failures happened in 2012 when Knight Capital designed a software to buy/sell stocks, however a small mistake in the algorithm has led to a company losing £450 millions, the problem was that software bought stocks and sold them too soon, when the price of the stock was a little lower than the price it was bought.
Modern systems require lots of users` time in order to test for all the possible outputs of the systems and operators that trigger the activities of the specific system. However, in most of the cases new system doesn`t work as intended without identifying all the bugs in the code if related to software or testing all the system actions if talking about hardware systems. Modern projects that are producing different kinds of systems usually make their systems available to users with several bugs, as it is very difficult to test lots of different possibilities of actions of the system when the human force is only 10-20 people, so when the system goes live to thousands of people, users themselves test different outputs when working with the system.
Examples of user systems
Enigma Machine was used by Nazi Germany mainly during the World-War || in order to cipher and decipher messages to communicate with other military services. Related to the User(system) the machine had an interface for the user which allowed to type text for the machine to make a cipher. End-User had to enter cipher into the machine for it to produce deciphered message that is readable. Rotors and electrical pathway acted as an operator in Enigma cipher system, by using a long and complicated sequences of cables and rotors machine was able to produce cipher that could not be deciphered without correct type of machine.
Tesla AutoPilot System
Modern cars use lots of operators to trigger different actions of the systems, therefore changing the output. One of the most innovative systems involved in a car industry nowadays is Tesla AutoPilot. The car has been built with many different detectors to activate certain activities for a car to do. They have built a system where User (car driver) has to do input certain activities (e.g. engage turn signal) in order for the system to provide specific output. When a turn signal is activated the system thinks that user wants to change lane, therefore using different detectors it would measure the possibility to change lane by measuring distance to other cars around user's car and if it is possible the car would change lane itself without user doing anything else.
If the sensor tells the system the distance to the end of the lane on the sides is extremely small the car would activate side collision warning for a user to change the distance, if user does not input any activity to the system (e.g. turning the steering wheel) the car would change the lane itself.
Unlike consumer products, the customers of systems are not the same as the users. Typically, the customer is often an organization, and the user is an employee of that organization. This implies, for example, that in case of significant loss due to use error, the customer seeks to nominate the user as accountable for the loss.
- End-User System Development
- "Hardware and Software interaction".
- "What is System Design? - Definition from Techopedia". Techopedia.com. Retrieved 2015-11-04.
- "End User Definition". techterms.com. Retrieved 2015-11-04.
- Evolution of Windows
- Usability of Complex Information Systems Evaluation (Albers-Still)
- (Telegraph) The ten biggest IT failures
- Software Testing Fundamentals
- Enigma Machine History BBC
- Tesla AutoPilot System
- Gerald Weinberg (1971). The psychology of computer programming