What is User Experience (UX) design for building DSS?

by Ciara Heavin
Managing Editor, Journal of Decision Systems


Daniel J. Power
Editor, DSSResources.COM

People must interact with a computerized decision support system to use it. Design of the software interface between the application and the user largely determines whether a given decision support capability will be used and whether it will be used effectively, cf., Power, 2011.

User Experience (UX) design or a user-centric approach to design is a process of developing technical artifacts to maximize user satisfaction by ensuring heightened usability, accessibility, utility, performance, marketing, ergonomics and human interaction (Cousins, 2013). The term user experience design was first coined by Dr. Donald Norman, a cognitive science researcher who was also the first to describe the importance of user-centered design. UX moves beyond good user interface (UI) design to explore the interaction between the user and technology.

There has been much focus on good user interface design for computerized DSS. Traditional UI design looks at the use of graphics, data displays and color coding used in the design of applications and especially executive dashboards of information. While also incorporating the design or overall aesthetics of an application, UX digs deeper to understand how a user feels when they interact with a system, taking into consideration the context(s) within which they are accessing and using the system. It is difficult to design an effective DSS without considering the broader context within which senior managers and knowledge workers operate. Therefore, it is useful to consider UX when designing computerized decision supports systems.

Glushko (2015) suggests that UX needs to be central to the design of the next generation of computerized decision support. He offers six recommendations for pursuing UX design for DSS:

1. Do thorough user research, focusing on the context of use

2. Do service-experience mapping, outlining all channels that an executive might use identifying channels that they could or should be using

3. Hire a UX designer onto the team

4. Start by building a minimum viable product (MVP)

5. Test your prototype with the actual audience

6. Identify any major gaps in your working product as quickly as possible

UX design is widely used and understood for desktop and mobile websites, applications and ecommerce. There is an opportunity to further explore best practice in UX design for a variety of computerized decision aids, particularly mobile DSS.


Cousins, C. (2013) Why does user experience matter?

Glushko, A. (2015) Designing the Next Generation of Decision-Support Systems for Business Executives,

Power, D. J. (2011) "What rules should guide DSS user interface design?" DSS News, Vol. 12, No. 4, February 13 at URL

Last update: 2017-01-07 08:34
Author: Daniel Power

Print this record Print this record
Show this as PDF file Show this as PDF file

Please rate this entry:

Average rating: 4 from 5 (1 Votes )

completely useless 1 2 3 4 5 most valuable

You cannot comment on this entry

DSS Home |  About Us |  Contact Us |  Site Index |  Subscribe | What's New
Please Tell Your Friends about DSSResources.COMCopyright © 1995-2015 by D. J. Power (see his home page).
DSSResources.COMsm is maintained by Daniel J. Power. Please contact him at with questions. See disclaimer and privacy statement.


powered by phpMyFAQ 1.5.3