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Introducing Geographic Information Systems with ArcGIS: A Workbook Approach to Learning GIS, 3rd Edition by Michael D. Kennedy

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The Decision Maker–Product Interface

The act of a decision maker sitting down at a computer terminal is one that cuts out virtually all the “people buffers” between the decision maker and the computer. Many decision makers will not want to spend the time necessary to either learn or operate the software. There is also a certain element of justified fear involved for even the ablest individual in doing something new with others looking on.

A person familiar with the product (including the assumptions underlying it and other products that might be useful to the decision makers) should be present when the product is used. People charged with making decisions have a way of asking questions no one thought they would ask. Anyone who presumes to provide them with new information in new forms had better be ready.

The person charged with the responsibility of understanding and explaining a document is also in an ideal position to recommend changes in the document’s structure or information content based on conversation with the users of the product. The dissemination of a product containing information is very much a two-way street and relies on user feedback for its successful continuation.

Often, user needs are not correctly perceived by product designers. Further, user needs change. These and many other factors suggest that a continuing dialogue between the providers and users of information products must exist.

It may be that, instead of having a person assigned to a particular set ...

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