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What are edge cases in design?

ACHONWA ALVAN

Overview

Edge cases are occurrences that fall outside the circle of the primary function of a product. An example of an edge case is when a class of people is unrepresented in the build of a product, or users who need assistive technology to access a product are ignored.

Edge cases

Edge cases are issues that arise in the extreme operation of a product. Some questions to investigate edge cases include: How much can this product stretch? Where is the breaking point? Are there any unrepresented gender or people?

These questions help check the flexibility of the product.

Checking edge cases

  1. Consider accessibility: To consider accessibility is to make the product inclusive by considering all of the senses: touch, smell, sight, taste, and hearing. Ensure that both people with and without sensory impairment can access the product. When this is completed with the necessary assistive technology, we can say that the accessibility of the product is in check.
  2. Design for the least: Most digital products are designed for users with high-tech and low-tech tools. An animation of a mega-bite would play differently on a device with 0.5.TB internet connection compared to a 26.MP internet connection. Designing for the least means building products to be usable by the users with low-quality access tools. When designing is done for the least, it is easier to scale through every population of the target users.

Edge cases constraint

  1. Cost: Most of the time, the edge cases affect a lower percentage of the product users. This may incur a high cost to correct such a case against the number of persons involved. The price of uncovering and perfecting edge cases could be pretty high.
  2. Error capture: It is impossible to capture all the errors in any product, so most times, users get to use the product without knowing the state of the product they use.

Conclusion

Edge cases in design are extreme cases or scenarios in a product. Before rolling them out, there is a need to view products on this end through processes like looking into severe user needs, possible extreme errors, etc.

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design
hci
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