Affordance and Conceptual Models
- The Psychology of Everyday Things. The Design of Everyday Things. Chap 1. Norman.
- Cognetics and the Locus of Attention. The Humane Interface. Chap 2. Raskin.
Yubo Feng 15:40:34 9/10/2014
Both of the passages explain an important concept in the design: design your object with carefully human mental model. The first passage focus on more wild aspects, based on everyday objects that we could see; while the second passage focus on details about how to apply the principle into human-computer interface design. I feel more interesting about the first passage, which includes more insight idea that not only confined to our course, so I would like to choose this passage to make summary. The main idea of the first passage is “Well-designed objects give itself a way, clue, to explain how to operate, but poor-designed objects gives no clue how to use,” then the author explains his idea, and gives us some tips: Principle of design includes two things: visibility, correct part must be visible and must convey the right message in which natural design is the goal; affordance, just like the author mentioned in the passage: when affordance are taken advantage of, the user knows what to do just by looking, what it is used for? Wrong or poor design will cause misunderstanding of design purpose. After that, according to psychology, the answer of how things work comes from two ways: Conceptual Models (simulation of the device) and visible structure (affordance, constraints, mapping). Here are some tips of the design concepts: fundamental principles of designing: 1) provide a good conceptual model 2) make things visible After designed, the mental model comes out, then system is the container of the mental model as well as conceptual model; then if user could recognize it correctly and easily then the design is correct otherwise wrong; and the connection between system and user is reaction of the system. Make things visible: too much feature will make the system too hard to control, then we must take some method to make things easy to understand or use; the simplest way to make things easier is to make things works as it appear. Mapping: Natural mapping is necessary; not only about computer interface, but all things (especially some inventions) needs to be easier to see and use some lowest mapping method, for example loud noise means greater amount. When the designer considered all the situation happens, it is better to map them to some physically signal to remind them what happened instead of complex message, sometimes, the most effective way is natural way. What means “natural”? things happens when it is supposed to be. Failure: necessary failure must made; just before the right production comes out, the number designer tries is 6 or 7 times.
Eric Gratta 15:56:46 9/10/2014
The Psychology of Everyday Things – Chapter 1 Don Norman In the first chapter of his book, POET, Don Norman outlines some of the basic terminology that can be applied to design in any context by describing informal case studies and real people’s experiences. The most important concepts introduced are affordances (actions made possible by the relation between a user of an object and that object’s capabilities), mental models (users’ internal and personalized understanding of how a system functions), feedback, visibility, and mapping (visual analogies between the function of a system and the action(s) necessary to perform the function). The chapter is very compelling and the anecdotes especially are very entertaining. Norman gets to the core of a subject that affects everyone on a daily basis; interaction with all man-made things. Some of what is written could be viewed as common sense, but his categorization of the various properties of design creates a useful framework to describe physical (and probably non-physical) interfaces within. I would have liked to see some substantial psychological evidence. The author makes many small references to psychological concepts, which seem to be the evidence backing his categorizations. It may be that these concepts are explored in other chapters of the book. One design “feature” that Norman seemed to chide was the use of labels. Are labels always necessarily bad? I agree with his implication that if there is an equivalent and intuitive non-verbal signifier (a term introduced in his 2013 revision), then a label should not be used. But I don’t think that the use of a label implies a bad design. In fact, he even approaches contradiction when he speaks about the old, more user-friendly telephone systems that had buttons explicitly labeled “HOLD.” For a device with very little user input real estate like the telephone, labels might be on of the most effective methods of signifying functionality. Springing off the thought about labels, what about icons? I was surprised that the use of printed icons on objects was not discussed or at least mentioned along with labels. Are they better than labels? Or are they also signs of poor design? The photographs of cars and phones both showed icons but they were never given mention. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The Humane Interface – Chapter 2 Jef Raskin This chapter of “The Humane Interface” begins with a really convincing depiction of the concept of cognetics by making an analogy to ergonomics, the science of design to accommodate human physical faculties. Cognetics, then, takes the same approach. The author claims that empirical observations can be made about human cognitive processes when evaluating interfaces, and he terms the practice of applying these observations to design enhancements as “cognetics.” This understanding of human interaction with interfaces strikes me as very similar to or even inclusive of the GOMS model. Perhaps it can be seen as taking GOMS one step further by trying to interpret cognition and account for its variability; GOMS assumes consistency across users and their experiences by not further discretizing phases involving human thought processing. Within this idea of cognetics, Raskin attempted to elaborate on more specific concepts, particularly the distinction between the conscious and the unconscious mind, the locus of attention, and the natural formation of habits. I felt that the argument for distinguishing the conscious from the unconscious was belabored, but perhaps at the time of writing this concept (although I consider 2000 fairly recent) was still not fully accepted; I was taught these concepts in an intro psychology class. The use of examples that played on the reader’s own conscious mind was a clever way of getting across these concepts. An important point brought up by the author is that users can readjust their locus of attention more quickly when the system stores and reloads the state that the user left off at. Some interesting points were made about habit formation. That the presence of multiple options to perform the same action can forces the movement of the locus of attention (from performing an action to choosing the method to perform the action) and thus prevents habit formation. The author assumes that interfaces should strive to exploit habit formation (AKA human automation) when it improves workflow. I assume there are circumstances where it’s important for the user to choose the method or configuration for the computer to use – some junction in the execution of a program where the user should specifically not develop a habit and direct the system. But perhaps in those circumstances a better alternative exists such that the system will know a priori what the user wants. The paper did not state a clear opinion on how often to “afford” habituation. Another interesting point about habit formation was that confirmation prompts (the ones that double check whether a user wanted to perform an action) are rendered useless by “habituation” or the formation of a habit. Since those prompts usually exist to address rare cases where the user would click “No,” the habit of clicking “Yes” forms before the rare case occurs. When the user actually needs to click “No,” they habitually click “Yes.”
Yanbing Xue 16:53:44 9/10/2014
The first book mainly talks about the affordance of utilities. Affordance means that when coming to something, we are able to operate it directly without any trials or instructions, that is, the functions and usages are observable or detected with other organs. In everyday life, we are always frustrated even by the most common things because of the lack of affordance. The author provides an example of doors. When coming to a door, a most common and simple utility in real world. Should I pull it or push it? Is it a slide door? If it is a slide door, in which direction should I slide it, the left, the right or the top? Sometimes, we can do nothing about it except have few trials and errors. Trails and errors indicate extra work and a waste of time, which make us frustrated. Some people may argue that a symbol solves everything. But I have to mention that symbols suck. First, where is the symbol? Is it on the top, on the middle or on the bottom of the door? Or maybe it is on the wall next to the door. Second, what should the symbol be like? If it is a word, what if some illitare people are trying to operate it? It it is a shape or picture, what if some people may misunderstand it? Third, we are just talking about doors, one of the most common and simple utilities. What if we are talking about an electric pressure cooker? Symbols do not work. We have to provide long instuctions. That is what the author mentions about affordance, one most straightforward way of affordance -- visibility. I think it is essential to put emphasis on affordance. It is not for the common and simple thing in our life, it is also about those complicated tools. For example, smart phones. I think all the smart phone manufacturers should put emphasis on affordance. I always remember the hard time when my parents had their first smart phones. The instructions are almost futile, and I have to show them how to download and install softwares and how to get access to Wi-Fi. There are few prompts and you may not get the correct steps after thousands of trials since it is complicated. That is why affordance counts.
Yanbing Xue 19:21:34 9/10/2014
The second book is mainly about ergonomics and cognetics. Ergonomics consists of the studies of design guidelines for products that interact with people physically: straightforward and well cataloged on sizes and capabilities of the human frame and senses. Cognetics usually covers the study of the applicable, engineering scope of our mental abilities. For example, then designing a chair, ergonomics requires all the physical characteristics of human taken into consideration. A chair should work fine with most people, not for 0.5-meter midget or 3-meter giant. However, sometimes we have to compromise. For example, althought there are no 0.5-meter or 3-meter people, there are 1-meter and 2.5-meter people. When designing a chair, shall we make the chair very adjustable to fit them? Mostly, the answer is no. That is because usually designs of such kind are some how too expensive or technically unfeasible. That is why these two methodologies are essential.
Qihang Chen 19:44:03 9/10/2014
The chapter, taken from the "The Psychology of Everyday Things", discusses the design flaws leading to frustration of everyday life and proposes several design principles to improve understandability and usability. First, with a number of instances the author analyzes the differences between good and bad designs. Visibility is emphasized by the author. Then the author talks about the psychology of everyday things and the article argues that affordance and causality should be paid much attention in the design. After this, the fundamental principles are proposed that providing a good conceptual model and making things visible. In detail, the conceptual models are helpful to build the relationship between the controls and the outcomes; visibility will provide good mappings, natural relationships, between the controls and the things controlled. Further, the author emphasizes the natural mapping which takes advantage of physical analogies and cultural standards, leads to immediate understanding. As the articles points out that while new technology provides benefits, added complexities arise to increase difficulty and frustration, so the design principles and suggestions are of great importance for today's design. In fact, the principles are never out of date since we are always tending to add unnecessary and complex features to a product and thus decreasing the usability. The ideas and principles proposed in the article are useful and important to develop software. Perhaps, it is always necessary to follow the principles have a think about the product standing on the user's side. Despite that I accept almost all points illustrated by the article, I believe the author gives much more negative evaluations to the telephone design that it is. For example, we have enough reason to have more functions finished by the limited controls; maybe decrease the size or keep the cost low. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The article, Cognetics and the Locus of Attention, argues that understand of human size is helpful is to the interface design. The author presents the concept of cognetics, differentiates the cognitive conscious and cognitive unconscious and shows the transformation between the two. And, locus of attention is explained later, including the habits and automatic tasks, singularity, origins and exploitation. Obviously, the article provides a deep understanding of human factors on the cognetics view and gives corking explanation on the related concepts. The formation of habits is discussed on how they are formed and hot they can become a problem for users and how to solve the problem. In addition, the author talks about the singularity of the locus of attention, how the users can become absorbed in a task and points out that the interface designers should make actions reversible to make up the missing message. In my view, the greatest contribution made by the article is that studying on the human side to improve design which is novel and practical. Meanwhile, the series discussion of human properties is helpful for designers to avoid certain pitfalls. I have to say that the article relates little with my current work, but I admit that the author's view and conclusions are useful to implement better stuff, at least for course projects.
Qiao Zhang 19:59:22 9/10/2014
The Psychology of Everyday Things The first chapter of the book POET gives some examples of repeated frustrations with everyday things. The author believes that sometimes it is not the users' but the designers' fault. There are several examples in the chapter that demonstrate faulty designs, one of which is the washing and dryer machine. The other example of digital watch that demonstrates the paradox of technology remind me of the well-known text editor VIM, and the cloud-storage company dropbox. These two software targets at different user groups, hence has different learning curves. The learning curve for VIM is steep, however many users are so fond of it. On the other hand, dropbox beat its competitor because of its simplicity. It shows the tradeoff that every designer faces with, which is the tradeoff between the functionality and usability. But as pointed out by the author, everyday objects should be designed for basic uses but not for the professionals. The book also talks about the affordance of an objects. It reminds me of a popular saying: "If you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail." The proper usage of materials will reduce the cognitive resources for a user to conduct an action. To build a successful protocol, not only pre-design surveys should be collected beforehand, but user data should be collected to see which functions are frequently used and which are not. ================================================================== Cognetics and the Locus of Attention In my opinion, cognitive consciousness and unconsciousness are very similar to the psychology terminologies "consciousness" and "subconsciousness". They are controlled by different parts of the brain: "subconsciousness" is evolved early in human evolution stage, while "consciousness" is controlled by the prefrontal cortex, which is developed much later in the history of evolution. As stated in previous readings, human's cognitive resources are highly limited. Designers should not expect their users to be experts in any ways. The article also points out a very good point: HCI design has to utilize habit formation. Using the interface should not exhaust users' cognitive resources. Designers should do their best to let users spend their limited cognitive consciousness on "the real problem", instead of manipulation of an interface. "Any confirmation step that elicits a fixed response soon becomes useless." -- I am an example of this rule. I had several experiences deleting my important files after confirmation. A better approach according to this article would be silently move files to trash can, but "shift+delete" and "empty trash can" will trigger a popup confirmation with the focus set on "no". The always returning strategy makes sense, too. I rarely turn off my computer in order to preserve my workspace. If the operating system is designed to take a snapshot of the working memory before it shuts down, it will be much more convenient for the users. This article does not only provide useful guidelines on HCI, but is also delightful to my own wellbeing. "You cannot undo a habit by any single act of willpower; only a time-consuming training process can undo a habit." When I formed a habit of procrastinating, I should not rely solely on my willpower to stop it. Instead, I should deliberately train myself to form a better habit. The execution of simultaneous tasks also tells me that I should never multitask consciousness-intensive jobs. Context switching is also costly. Switching locus of attention will take 10 seconds. I think this is why the course instructor asked us to read and complete the review in one run.
phuongpham 21:05:07 9/10/2014
The Psychology of Everyday Things: this book chapter gives many interesting points about the psychology when design everyday things. The author has given many main points which are similar to the paper "Direct manipulation" that we have read before. Affordances and Concept Models are similar to Distance, Mapping is similar to Engagement. A few take away keywords I have found in the chapter are: affordances, contraints, mappings, visibility, implication, concept model, natural signal. Moreover, the author has strong arguments that product manufacturers should take into account, such as 'poorly designed objects can be difficult and frustrating to use', 'the answers should be given by design, without any need ofr words or symbols, certainly without any need for trail and error'. Two important things from the chapter are: 1) the designer concept model is (most of the time) different from the user's concept model, and 2) even natural design is necessary but it requires resources and time, which are sometimes unaffordable for manufacturers. However, there are certain patterns for certain products. If we can build our designs on previous well-designed products, we will not make 'obvious' design errors. ***The humane interface: this book chapter is a strong argument that human side (human model) needs to be taken care of in the design of computers which are made for human. All the psycology findings mentioned in the chapter have been long found. However, the authors can point out mistakes in current computer systems or other products where human psycology findings are not used properly. Working with human, a designer cannot only focus on physical characteristics but also mental characteristics. As listed in the chapter, these mental characteristics play an important role in the success, easy-to-use of a product. The author has made a good bridge between product design and cognetics. Understand these cognetics can help designing better product, help people become happier with their daily lives. Some of these cognetics findings are similar to the human-model that we have read before. Human has one processor (one locus of attention), has a long term memory (unconcious), and working memory (concious) and they also have limits that we can measure. However, approaching this from a psycology perspective makes me few more reliable than from a model mimicking a computer system.
Longhao Li 21:22:59 9/10/2014
Critique for The Psychology of Everyday Things This article mainly talked about the principles to design products that fit users’ using habit. It used people’s psychological reactions of new objects to guide the designing of items. Apparently, people want to design products that can make people’s life easier. But sometimes, there are some bad designs that even gave people a hardship to learn how to use it. It may due to the poor understanding of people’s psychology. For instance, People don’t want to learn some brand new things so that designers should bring something usual to make sure that users can easily work with it. Thus, a good understanding of psychology can lead to good design ideas. This article talked a lot of the key points in psychology that related to people’s feeling of new items. They are all great points that designers need to pay attentions to, such as making the functions be visible. Users may forget hidden functions that need help of user manuals. It may give user a feeling of lacking functions. Therefore, this article is very important for the people who are doing designing works. In one the projects that I worked in before, they designed mobile interfaces that collect users’ expression of impatient about the speed of the device. Based on people’s natural way to express their impatient, they did mapping of them in the design of interface. In natural way, people are willing to shake their electronic devices when they feel impatient on its performance. So they add the interface that collect users’ shake as a sign of impatient. In the test result, shake interface is the most favorite interface to use, which tell us that the mapping is very useful when design items. Critique for The Humane Interface In this article, the author talked about how human beings’ cognitive works. It include cognitive conscious and cognitive unconscious. The author also talked about the locus of attention, which is about what people is focus on. The ideas in this article are very important for the design of interface. Since interface is work with human beings. Knowing how human beings process data will be a great reference for the designers to rely on. Understand that most times people can only focus on one thing will help the designers to enhance the interface to avoid people get annoyed about the fairly low processing or loading speed by adding music or something that can catch user’s mind. By understanding that people love to do something that they have already established habit, designers can bring the users an easy to use interface, like the interface that simulate what people doing everyday. Without this study of people’s mind, I think it will be hard for the designers to find the correct interfaces for human beings quickly. It will lead to a lot of changes on the final product, which will waste a lot of time and money. So I think this article contribute a lot for people who are designing interfaces. The article, The Psychology Of Everyday Things, also talk about the knowledge that can be used for designing works. But it based on psychology analysis. In these two articles, they both point out that people are willing to do actions by their familiar ways. This idea is used a lot in recently design of interfaces. For example, people are willing to throw trash into trashcan. Apple used this natural way as delete command in their computer operating system. Also since people are used to delete files by click delete button when computer operating system can only delete file by this way, this way of delete file are also included in Apple’s computer operating system. Thus, no matter whether users are familiar with Apple’s computer operating system, they can delete files easily.
Nathan Ong 21:32:46 9/10/2014
"Cognetics and the Locus of Attention" from The Human Interface: New Directions for Designing Interactive Systems by Jef Raskin Raskin argues that developing good interfaces requires understanding of human nature, especially in how we react to stimuli, how our locus of attention shifts due to stimuli, and how we form habits. He also argues that a great software interface will exploit these natures in order to provide a seamless experience for people to use. I think it is quite apt that the user brought up the issue of human psychology in work about developing interfaces for human-computer interaction. Many times, when people develop interfaces, there is a tendency to create them with the intent that it was helpful for the software developers. But we forget that the software is designed for the general population, and software is meant to help them pursue some field of work with greater ease. By forgetting that software has this purpose, interfaces also suffer from a lack of intuitiveness. Due to long-standing unspoken standards of human interfaces to computers (keyboard layout, mice, windowed graphics, etc.), humans have an expectation of how an interface is supposed to function, namely, almost exactly how other software works. Even if the new interface claims to save users time, change is hard to adapt to, and this article explains why through the field of psychology. I feel Raskin may be overplaying the seriousness of the limits of human cognition. For example, he mentions that our locus of attention is always shifting towards the locale that recently emitted a stimulus, and believes it is time-consuming to return to the previous task. While this may be true, it also depends on the person; some people can stay focused or easily return to the previous task that they were working on, while others have a more difficult time. He alludes to certain situations that have led to disastrous results, like the autopilot airplane example, but based on history, that particular situation appears to be an exception that was probably rectified in future designs anyway. In addition, hyper-focus tends to be valued in today's society, especially with schoolwork dominating the young adult life where many students even take ADHD prescription drugs in the belief that it will help them focus even more. Finally, while the obvious rebuttal is to note that most tasks do not require hyper-focus, the point is that we as humans also have the ability to set priorities whenever we deal with environmental sensory input, which can also determine the usage of any user interface. "The Psychology of Everyday Things" from The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman Norman exposes what goes behind good design for products, and explains the reasoning using real-life products that have good and poor design. Specifically he mentions three factors for design: affordances, constraints, and mappings, which are important to coming up with a good conceptual model of the object. As a pairing with the Raskin work, Norman's chapter focuses more on the object itself. Even though both tackle the psychology behind design, Raskin's focuses more on the human aspect. In addition, Raskin deals more with the limitations of human cognition, noting distracting stimuli and short-term memory as two big factors that designers may forget when creating objects. However, Norman sets out to show how design can exploit human cognition via intuition and cultural norms. For example, he illustrates the ease with which someone can understand a pair of scissors; the circular handles are affordances since one can easily conclude that someone can place their fingers in it, the size of the handles are constraints to guide users on correct handling, and moving the scissors up and down exposes the mapping between the interaction with the object and how it is to be used (probably to cut something). In both cases, Raskin and Norman stress that an object not only has to be useful (i.e. satisfy a need of utility), but it must also be intuitive for a human to use. Otherwise, no matter how innovative the product, the product will likely fail. Norman creates a strong case for his description of a good conceptual model, but many of these ideas do not scale well to software products. While good design is undeniably necessary for software, the way humans interface with any piece of software is generally limited to a keyboard, mouse, or touchscreen. While it is true that many of the ideas that Norman presents in his chapter are relevant to the good design of software, such as being sensitive to previously-established norms, software tends to be limited in capacity for intuitive usage, especially since a keyboard and mouse have their own intuitive uses already. What I find interesting is that the products that come out of HCI research do two things: first, it strives to circumvent existing uses of technology by presenting new interfaces, both through software and hardware; and second, it strives to find gestures (whether it may be touch gestures, mouse gestures, keystrokes, etc.) that are easy to the user at a given point in cultural history and ingrains these gestures into our human culture. We can see this through touch-gestures on a touchscreen tablet, where even toddlers can understand how a touchscreen works; because these gestures are easy enough for a 3-year-old to imitate, it is no wonder that these gestures determine how we operate computers with touchscreens. However, unless HCI research can continue to find new physical interfaces for humans to use, technology will continue its paradoxical trend, as Norman has pointed out. Software is a big sticking point because developers and designers have no choice but to use existing interface technology to satisfy user requirements while keeping ease of use in mind.
Nick Katsipoulakis 22:31:03 9/10/2014
The Psychology of Everyday Things: In this book chapter, important aspects of design are presented. First, the author enumerates frustrations users experience every day. Those emanate from the lack of natural design, when objects do not indicate their functionality. Furthermore, lack of visual mappings make the usage difficult, by not showing to users ways to complete an action. Examples have shown that users need visible mappings between intended actions and actual operations. In addition, the author states the importance of affordance (the indication of fundamental properties that determine how things could be used) along with causality, as crucial attributes that need to be apparent to the user. The conceptual model of a device plays a crucial role in a design, such that the user can mentally simulate the operation of an object. A successful design is one that provides a good conceptual model and makes things visible. In general, conceptual models are a subset of a broader group called mental models, which indicate the view people have of themselves and the things with which they interact. The author gives the definition of the design model (what the designer has in mind), the user model (the user’s mental model) and the system image (is the resulting physical object) In the last part, the author mentions natural relationships (user’s intentions, required actions, and the results), visibility and good mappings. A mapping is a technical term for relating a control and its movement with the results in the world. Finally, by providing feedback back to the user is really important and additional functionality comes with added complexity. ---------------------------------------------(next text starts here)The Human Interface: This book chapter focuses on human’s cognitive abilities and explains how these two should be taken into consideration. The author supports the previous opinion by justifying the need to understand the ergonomics of the mind. Before the main part of the text, a thorough explanation of the cognitive conscious and unconscious is given, along with the differences between them. The Locus of Attention is defined as an intentional and active thought of the brain. It is part of the cognitive conscious and relates to short-term memory. The formation of habits is another attribute of human ergonomics and the author states that habits are created through repetition. Every habit is merely a surrender of control and usually it is part of human nature. Turning to interfaces, a designer has to prevent habits from causing problems to the user, by expediting processes of everyday tasks (benign habitation). Turning to automaticity, which is another attribute of human ergonomics, should be leveraged so that interference between tasks is minimized and at the same time productivity increases. However, a correct design should also balance the prevention of mistakes, emanating from habits, along with a pleasant user experience. Singularity of the locus of attention is expressed as the absorption of the user in a task. Absorption not only increases productivity, but it may also cause problems in user experience. Finally, the author addresses the exploitation of single locus of attention, by using it in background processes, and the importance of resuming the user to his last task, after a time break. -----------------------------------------------------------
Bhavin Modi 23:02:35 9/10/2014
Reading Critique on The Psychology of Everyday things This chapter taken from the book The Design of Everyday Things, makes a singular statements that everything we use around us is innovation and takes critical design efforts. It outlines with numerous examples the flaws of designs and what should be kept in mind to overcome them. The author emphasis and puts forward a simple idea, that one should how to use an object by just looking at it. The visibility, clues, and feedback are the three importance characteristics of any good design. To maintain the flow of the chapter, he talks about the problems of some everyday things and then some ways they could have been made better. Affordances and natural mappings are focused on. The conceptual model formed in the minds of people when they look at a device is also important, the author calls this as the system image, which propels the user’s actions. Visibility is very at the top of the list with having a separate control for each of the features to get a good design. The author seems particularly displeased with the modern telephone that it was so complex with so many functions, people didn’t know how to use most of its functions. This example has been reiterated several times in this chapter indicating some severe design flaws one should not repeat. Another important point brought out was about how people are put at fault because of some design fault or mechanical failure. They just happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, this shows that good design it just not about beauty, but about safety, efficiency and addressing user needs. Blaming yourself for being mechanically incompetent is not always true. Moving on to some contradictory points, natural mappings and separate function buttons are definitely preferred in the design of objects, but size of the objects with the numerous features that the user wants puts some serious constraints on the design. Reading the user manual is a good idea, it is carefully made so that most of the complexities are addressed. This is not always the case, which the door and telephone example proves, just going for aesthetics and fewer buttons doesn’t make the product more user-friendly. The Design is not always the culprit in making usage complicated, sometimes good design coupled with poor documentation and models affect the usability of the product more. The Designing team is not a separate standalone entity, take the example of the fridge in this case. The article really opens your mind to some design flaws that I have never thought about, in the wide variance of objects possible, form the toothbrush to a washer/dryer. It highlights some great points, and focuses on improving visibility of the design and creating products such that they conform to the users conceptual model. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Reading Critique on The Human Interface The chapter can be summarized as an insightful view into the Human Cognitive working and how to design interfaces that conform best to the way the mind works. It gives detailed discussions on Cognetics, the conscious and the unconscious mind, locus of attention, habits, absorption, and the way they affect our behaviour and performance. The author delves into the working of the human mind, clearly dividing it into two parts the cognitive conscious and the cognitive unconscious. The discussions follow the interrelation between these two aspects of our cognitive mind. The most important of which is the locus of attention, our ability to consciously work on only one objective at any given time. The other tasks that occur in parallel are automatic in nature, reflexive actions for the purpose of safety or conscious tasks repeated so many time so as to become a habit. The formation of such habits make designing more difficult, in terms of negating safety features and creating new types of interfaces. The discussion of features that make interfaces more attractive like the resuming of interrupted tasks carried out by the CAT system, unlike today’s systems, is very helpful to recollect the thinking process at the time you left. The design of interfaces should be such that they keep within the limits of ergonomics and do not require us to go beyond our cognitive ability. This statement is like a one sentence answer to what should be kept in mind while designing an interface. The author clearly states that the human body embodies only a single mind, and that being the reason for our singular thinking. He very truly states that changing habits is very hard and unconsciously we tend to do them whether good or bad. Repetition is a powerful tool as such. The four main features of interface design in focus are undoable actions, elimination of warning prompts, singular mode of operation and accomplishing tasks. The only to change the pattern of design in such a scenario is to create a natural mapping, i.e., simpler interface we reduces the use of the human short term memory, and provides clues for recollecting and resuming incomplete tasks. There is nothing to refute in this chapter as the human psychology has been clearly understood with empirical and practical results, elaborately stating the effects of such on our everyday tasks. To conclude, consciously done tasks take more time and occupy our locus of attention, while unconsciously we are able to do them faster, automatically. The move from conscious to unconscious and vice-versa depends on the stimulus from the environment and leads to forming habits and singular focus on the locus of attention. As such the human cognitive mind plays a vital role in our behaviour and work pattern, which will eventually affect the interface design.
Wei Guo 23:32:47 9/10/2014
Reading Critique for the Psychology of Everyday Things Wei Guo Bad design will confuse users and bring frustrations with objects, while good design helps users to minimize the complexity and difficulty. The advance of object’s technique will unavoidably cause using complexity and difficulty of the objects. A clever design will help to minimize them. What is a clever design? A well-designed object is easy to interpret, to understand, or we say to use. How can we make an object easy to use? The most important part is it must give a right direction to user, the visibility to the correct parts. And have a clear understanding of the object’s visible structure such as affordances, constraints, and mapping. The thing interest me in this paper is conceptual model. Conceptual model, according to Wikipedia, is a model made of the composition of concepts, which are used to help people know, understand, or simulate a subject the model represents. The author uses several examples to define this, such as “Convergent bicycle,” “My refrigerator,” and so on. A good concept model can help us understand, and predict the object effect and results. I think a good conceptual model can be a successful prototype in task-center design process. Reading Critique for Cognetics and the Locus of Attention Wei Guo Unconscious mental processes are those we are not aware when they occur. Although the information is not being accessed, we are able to recover it when needed. A stimulus can help us bring the information from unconscious to conscious. Locus of attention indicates that one is intently and actively thinking. A habit is formed by repeating a task. That is we can do the task without being conscious. To perform simultaneous tasks, automaticity is not enough. One has to alter the attention between tasks. User are normally focus on only one thing while ignores the others. This paper also indicates the reason, advantages and disadvantages of the single locus of attention. To have a good design, the first we need to consider is the weakness of human. That’s why we need to have a better understanding of the characters of human. To make a HCI, it is important not only to consider user habits, but also single locus of attention. Interface is the bridge between human and computer. User is in command of operating the interface. That’s why user is the basis of HCI design. I think it is very interesting to do research on human to make better design. Good design can fully consider human weaknesses and let user do the same task in the shortest time.
Wenchen Wang 23:42:52 9/10/2014
The psychology of Everyday things Summary: The book talks about some principles of design a product, which are, providing a good conceptual model and visibility. These principles constitute a form of psychology of how people interact with things. Paper Review: The clues of how things work come from conceptual model and their visible structure. Conceptual model is a model made of concepts, which are used to help people know, understand, or simulate a subject the model represents. Visible structure includes affordances, constraints and mappings. There are two models involving in a product, designer’s conceptual model and user’s conceptual model. System image is a bridge connecting the designer’s model and the user’s model. In the other hand, we also need to make things visible. Visibility means good mappings between controls and their actions and the controlled results. Visibility is also good feedback, which means single controls often have single functions. The problem of modern telephone is that the systems have less feedback than the features. Whenever the number of functions and required operations exceeds the number of controls, the design becomes complicated. An example is ipod shuffle, which does not have screen and is very small with only five buttons. Each button controls multiple functions and controls. It is hard to use and I gave it to other people the first day I received it. However, a design may not appear in the marketplace no matter how good the design is, because purchaser, manufacturer and repair service have their own demands, which sometimes conflict. In addition, the complexity of a device varies with the development of the technology. The same technology that simplifies life also complicates life by making the device harder to use. That is to say the paradox of technology could also make design complicated. But good design could also make the complexity manageable. Cognetics and the locus of Attention Summary: Knowing more about how human process information and their abilities and foibles could help design a human-machine interface. In detail, the paper introduces cognitive conscious and cognitive unconscious, locus of attention and the formation of habits. Paper review: The cognitive unconscious is a tested phenomenon and it may not be a physical place. The cognitive unconscious and conscious might be places in the brain. For example, the process that thoughts became part of awareness is a change of state of your thought from unconscious to conscious. Locus of attention is a feature about which you are intently and actively thinking. Perceptions do not automatically become memories and are lost after they decay. Persistent use of any interface will cause you to develop habits that you find yourself unable to avoid. For today’s advertisements, merchants keep posting their ads to make their product become user’s habit. This kind of unconscious habit makes people remember their product much longer. In addition, any sequence of actions that you perform repeatedly will become automatic. For example, when we use windows system for a long time, we will do some operation automatically.
Mengsi Lou 0:13:12 9/11/2014
The Psychology of everyday things ----------This reading material tells how to apply experimental psychology and cognitive science into design. The main point is to take use of the psychology of everyday things. ----------First, the author believes that well-designed objects are easy to interpret and understand. They may contain visible clues to their operation. Here’s some examples about bad design. In one case, the designer make one function of the door for beauty, but not utility, which made ordinary users fail to use it. This case illustrates one important principle of design, that is visibility. A good design should display as much as possible from the natural signals. Another counterexample is telephone system. People cannot understand how to use it because of complex functions and controls. Here comes a concept of affordance that provide strong clues to the operations of things. ----------Second principle is to provide a good conceptual model that allows us to predict the effects of our actions. The author takes his refrigerator for example. A false conceptual model makes the control difficult and a correct model provide setup clear and unambiguous. There is an important concept of mental model that people have of themselves, others, the environment and the things with which they interact. ----------Third, the author illustrates mapping that means the relationship between the two things. And the point is that users can understand the mapping in a natural way. ----------Four, the author indicates the importance of feedback, which is getting the user information about the results has been accomplished. More feedback will make the systems more user-friendly as the feedback can provide a obvious signal of the the machine’s current state. ///////////////////// The human interface – Cognetics and the Locus of Attention ----------This chapter of ‘The human interface’ tells us about the human side variables that affects the interface design. Here, I get in touch with the new area of ergonomics first time. This field focuses on condering the human’s abilities and foibles into interface design. The scope of engineering is cognetics, which means cognitive engineering. ----------First, cognitive conscious and cognitive unconscious that distinguish from whether or not users can be aware of a task. This feature of human beings is the base of the human side’s interface design. Second, people’s abilities of executing the Simultaneous tasks indicates that products can be put into some parallels tasks that make good use of this feature to improve whole efficiency. ----------Third, the locus of attention is single. We can learn from this point that systems should be designed to allow users to concentrate on their jobs. Interfaces should allow users come into the situation that they are absorbed in their tasks and will not give respond to interfaces. ----------Four, the locus of attention may be interrupted so that products should have interfaces that keep up with these cognitive capabilities. ----------To sum up, the product is in server of people so that we they should accommodate people’s behavior and cognitions. So the first step is to understand human beings’ features.
Brandon Jennings 0:27:29 9/11/2014
The Psychology of Everyday Things This article is about understanding the interaction between the human psyche and device design. It presents a notion that maybe negative events are not because human error, but that human error occurred because of poor designs to begin with. The concept is not new, but what I like about this article is that it presents an argument against the common notion of human error. The first part of the article talks about seemingly trivial scenarios that are quick to judged human error but could have actually ben avoided with better design. The author starts with an extreme example of a power plant failure. It was officially reported as human error, however there were many mechanical failures that contributed to the human error, for example the pressure release valve did not open when the user pushed the button and the light indicated that it was. It also used a common scenario many of us can relate to: doors. There have been many times I was not able to open a door because it was designed for appeal, not function. Many times the door handle implies a push or pull when it is the opposite that opens it. An important part of the paper is the second half where it describes ways to improve design to reduce human error. The two main fundamentals are good conceptual model and visibility. Essentially, the average person should be able to look at a device and infer how it works and what it does, and the controls should be easy visible. This article provides an understanding of mapping, that is connecting controls to functionality to desired results, and of course, feedback. I think this paper entices designers to think more about their designs. What may seem trivial to a designer may not be so to a user. The designer knows what the device is supposed to do, so there is a bias of information about the device. Functionality may not be as obvious to others. Cognetics and the Locus of Attention This article is about designing for the comfort of the mind as opposed to the body. It addresses the importance of understanding cognitive limitations and considering them when designing systems. I think what makes this paper important is the discussion about the human mind. The human mind is one of the biggest mysteries and hardest codes to crack. Between conscious and unconscious senses and the uniqueness of individuals, it can be a difficult task to scientifically generalize the human mind. There are many aspects to consider when designing around cognitive parameters and it is important to consider how people behave and react. For example, the text talked about stimuli triggering a mental construct from the unconscious to the conscious, like reading text about clothing. We are not normally aware of how our clothes feel on us, but if we read about it in a text, it becomes apparent. Locus of attention is vitally important in interfaces because it describes what the user is focused on. It was shown that one could only focus on one entity at a time; despite they’re being an abundance of data being fed into our retinas. Magicians exploit this limitation. They rely on people’s singular locus of attention to create illusions. Locus of attention is an important characteristic that can be exploited by interface designers. For example, Canon Cat. It stored an image of the screen when the user was inactive and when the user became active again, the screen was loaded in faster time than it took for the human user to switch contexts. The user’s locus of attention was on the next coming task. People do not realize how long it takes to mentally switch contexts and it appears that the computer instantly displayed the screen. This paper provided a grounding in cognitive concepts that will prove critical for optimizing user experiences with interfaces.
Yingjie Tang 0:34:30 9/11/2014
The Psychopathology of Everyday Things is an article which emphasize the importance of user-friendliness in object design. Well designed objects are easy to interpret and understand because the clues on how to use them are obvious while poor designed objects will make users confused when using them. He listed many examples, such as the inconvenient window door and the elegant projector where caused him in trouble when he was doing a lecture because the projector only uses one button to control the slides to move forward or back. He also concluded 2 problems of new phone systems: one is that they fail to relate the new functions to that people already know about, another is the lack o visibility of the OS. And he compared the phone system and the automobile system to figure out what kind of design will be useful. I think the point that designers should relate the new functions to that people already know is quite important. Take the smartphone for example, although touch and gestures is very hot and nearly every smartphone adopted the touch screen. But the physical button has always been there, like iPhone. Although Iphone has redefined smartphone, it adopted the home button to be physical, maybe just because people are familiar with physical button and physical button will also give them a stable control. Gestures is not as stable as physical button control just because the sensors will receive some more extra noise than physical button when it works although gesture control will give users a sense of magic.—————————————————————- The article Cognetics and the Locus of Attention mainly tells us that the properties of human learning and performance can be directly applied to the foundations of any interface design, the interface design mainly refers to the human-machine interface. The author writes that the ergonomics should be applied to interface design, the example he give to it is the simple objects like chairs, table, keyboards and so on. He says that these were well designed for human users according to the ergonomics. Recently, the iPhone 6 was published with a thin edge in order to let the users have a easy control on it. Since our hands are not big enough to control the whole screen when the screen become larger and larger, the reduce on the width of the edge is necessary. This design well confirmed the theory in the paper. Apple products are always known for its user-friendliness, mac air is a kind of laptop which is extremely light and it let users to be able to put it in a school bag and to go everywhere without a feel of tiring.
Xiaoyu Ge 1:06:25 9/11/2014
1. The Psychology of Everyday Things In this paper the author introduced four important design principles: Affordance, provide a good conceptual model, make this visible, the principle of mapping, and the principle of feedback. Before introduced the four concepts the paper, the paper emphasized the understanding of everyday things for example the everyday frustration is where the design principles comes from. As for affordance, the actual property of the product should be emphasize in the design. And for visibility, the correct parts of the product must be visible and covey correct message which should make the functionality of the product, how the product operate and the result of user`s operation clearly visible by users. Another important concept is the Principle of Mapping which stated that the relation ship of user`s need and the operation of the product to meet the need should be obvious for example following the physical analogies. And as for the principle of feedback, the user should be aware of result of the operation. This paper also introduced the limitation for successful design that there is not enough chances for a new product adjust it`s design. The examples to illustrate the design concepts are very live, and easily found around us. The concepts are still very useful and function as fundamental user interface design nowadays. Since the technologies are evolved to be more and more sophisticated and support more and more functionalities, the fundamental design principles are more easily to be ignored. In that case, this paper is useful and the limitations indicated in the paper still appeared in today`s word. 2. Cognates and the Locus of Attention The paper introduced Cognitive Conscious and Cognitive Unconscious, which means there are two stage of human conscious, the one you aware of you know something, and one you are not aware you have acknowledge of it, and there is a stage that the unconscious cognitive state transfer to cognitive stage and vise versus. The task users can handle, the operation and engagement differ when users are in different mental condition. Another factor affect the user behavior is the Locus of Attention. According to the paper, the design of human computer interface can make use of user`s habit formation process, which will let user work more efficiently and make the workflow smoothly. Another characteristic of human brain introduced is the singularity of the Locus of Attention, which means people will be absorb in a task, and the more absorbed, more time will be taken for the person to change the locus of attention. For the purpose of HCI design the designers should spend more effort to figure out what the locus of the attention of the user, in order to command the user`s attention. The paper also introduces the reaction of the user to interrupted task, return to prior task or start a new task. Therefore I strongly agree to the concepts introduced in this paper.
Andrew Menzies 1:22:31 9/11/2014
Andrew Menzies Critiques due 9/11/14 The Psychology of Everyday Things by Donald Norman In The Psychology of Everyday Things, Donald Norman explains that what we call human error when people deal with everyday tools and objects is actually the fault of design flaws in the objects themselves. Through several illustrative examples, he explains how factors such as establishing a natural mapping of action to effect and providing feedback make some items easy to use and a lack of doing so makes others challenging. This work is important partly because it defines several key terms. First, it describes the aforementioned concept of natural mapping. It also lays out the relationship between a system’s actual implementation, its system image (whatever of it is visible to the user to explain how it works), and the mental model that the user constructs containing their idea of the system’s implementation. The example of the refrigerator shows how an inaccurate system image results in confusion when one tries to set the device’s temperature. The paper also brings up psychological concepts, reminding designers that they are important to take into account. For example, the word processor that takes too long to respond to the user’s input shows how the user links their actions with results (causation) and the negative effects when this idea of what the actions cause is wrong. One important point that stands out is the idea that more controls on an item are not always bad. The contrast of the example of the car and the refrigerator makes this point clear. The refrigerator’s temperature controls, made to appear simple, actually cause frustration because they lie about what they are doing (presenting an incorrect system image) and do not offer precise enough settings to meet the user’s needs. Meanwhile, while the car has over a hundred controls, most if not all have a clear, singular purpose, making it easy to learn how to use them. I believe this point is important because too often “simplicity” is presented as a goal, but it is not clear what makes something “simple.” While I, at least, may have thought of an interface with few controls and hidden implementation details as “simpler” than one with more controls and visible inner workings, the work has made me realize that the opposite might be true. Even looking back at my experience making software library interfaces, I realize that hiding details sometimes does more harm than good. Cognetics and the Locus of Attention by Jef Raskin In this chapter, Jef Raskin describes the difference between the cognitive conscious and unconscious, as well as the fact that each person has a single locus of attention at any given time. The author gives several examples of how interfaces can fail or succeed based on whether they take those facts into account. One of the most important sub-topics of the chapter, I believe, is habituation. The fact that we eventually delegate commonly repeated tasks to the unconscious explains why we automatically say “yes” to confirmation messages without first rethinking our decision. According to the paper, interfaces should be designed so that all actions are reversible even if incorrectly confirmed. However, by definition, any interface that allows for permanent deletion, for instance, cannot follow this rule. The chapter leaves the problem of finding a solution for this problem open. One criticism I have of this paper is that the first few paragraphs explain little about the main point, which is the difference between the cognitive conscious and unconscious. Section 2-1, which identifies cognetics, spends several paragraphs explaining the rationale of studying the limits about our cognitive abilities. However, as I was already interested in the subject before reading this chapter, I found the justification unnecessary. The chapter could have made its main point—that humans as a whole have similar cognitive limits—without the analogy of ergonomics. Also, I did not find much value in the discussion on page 13 about whether the conscious or unconscious is a place or not, as the mental experiment where I was asked to recall the last letter of my name had already convinced me that the conscious and the unconscious are distinct.
zhong zhuang 1:28:51 9/11/2014
The this book is about the design principle of everyday objects, from a psychology point of view, or in other word, from the human perspective. It emphasizes on three points, conceptual models, visibility and feedback. I think the most important point is the correct conceptual model, conceptual model is about how user will mentally simulate the operation of a new device, it is inspiring that the author brings up the concept of affordance, if designer can understand this concept and try to apply it during the design process, many problems can be avoided, for example, the scissors, the two holes has the affordance of being inserted, and the size of the hole regulated the size of the object that can be inserted, the plastic material has the affordance of being soft and tender, it indicated that it is friendly to human skin, so with these factors added up, one can naturally insert his fingers into those holes, in this case, applying affordance correctly makes the object very easy to use. Another important factor in designing everyday object is visibility. That is showing important feature to the user, like in the door example, by showing the supporting pillar, people can know the direction of the door, and avoid the stuck problem. The third factor is feedback, when designing a product, the product should always give user prompt feedback, like when user pressed a button, the product needs to react the this user action, even the button triggers some background process.
SenhuaChang 1:47:25 9/11/2014
The Psychology of everyday things The psychology of everyday things This is an interesting book, the author talks about interface design and psychology with a lot of daily examples and the property of the design, such as visibility, affordance, mapping and feedback. As the author said, it is part polemic, part science, part serious, part fun. This article use a lot of example to support the fundamental principles of interface design, as the first principle, you should make the important stuff in a highlight place so the user can easily to distinguish. The second principle is about people’s perception of using it. Mapping, which just like in hash map, represent that some symbol can make user know what object it want to represent. Feedback is also very important, which can let users know whether it works or not. A lot of picture have been presented to show us how to make this principle into practice, which help me understand the content. *************************************&&&&&&& The human interface This article introduces two concept, cognitive conscious and cognitive unconscious, which play key role in design, we should make our design cognitive conscious. Better knowing cognitive limitation of human can help us to design a good interface which is more user friendly. Locus of attention is a feature or an object in the physical work or an idea about which you are intently and actively thinking. Everyone will make mistake, so designer need to allow users to undo some operation made by mistake, which is called cognitive unconscious. The author used a lot of example to support his point and make us better know how human mind works, which can use in design.
zhong zhuang 2:19:20 9/11/2014
This article introduced the concept of cognetic and the locus of attention, it explains these concepts in a very theoretical fashion, from biology to psychology. It explained what cognitive consciousness and cognitive unconsciousness is and what is the difference between them, it also explained what habit is, how to form a habit and what habit can be used in designing interfaces. I think this article is more like a base theory to interface design, it doesn’t say too much about how to design interfaces, but we should be aware of the difference between consciousness and unconsciousness, like the book says, we know our physical capabilities very well, so when we design tools, we won’t make silly mistakes like designing a keyboard that is too big or too small to fit people’s hands, but when it comes to our mental capability, we don’t know too much and we don’t know exactly what we capable or incapable to do, that is why we need to pay more attention to this subject.
Xiyao Yin 2:50:51 9/11/2014
‘The Psychopathology of Everyday Things ’ uses several convincing examples to give important principles of design and give detailed information and effective solutions on each aspect. I think the best thing in this passage is that almost each idea will appear together with one daily example, so the readers will be easily drawn into this passage. In fact, I have just faced the same problem in the door story. When the passage remind people of their own experience, people will learn more from it. One of the most important principles of design is visibility. Right things must be visible, and they must convey the correct message. When parts are visible and implications are clear, people can for a conceptual model and do the simulation of the design. Conceptual model, affordances, constraints and mappings are clues to how things work come from their visible structure. In order to get a good design, people should provide a good conceptual model and make things visible mapping and feedback should also be carefully concerned during the procedure. However, designing well is not easy, technology can both provide increased benefits and add complexities arise to increase difficulty and frustration. To figure out the paradox of technology, people should consider more in every aspect of a design. ‘Cognetics and the Locus of Attention ’ shows that complex and variable human side is harder to understand and mainly focus on people’s locus of attention. If people want to design interfaces that are likely to work well, people must master an ergonomics of the mind. However, many people are still blind to their own mental limits, they don’t try to discover the edges of their mind’s abilities. By learning people’s habit, I find that the ideal humane interface would reduce the interface component of a user’s work to benign habituation. Many of the problems that make products difficult and unpleasant to use are caused by human-machine design that fails to take into account the helpful and injurious properties of habit formation. So people must design interfaces that deliberately take advantage of the human trait of habit development and allow users to develop habits that smooth the flow of their work. In fact, I have seen many designs which didn’t follow these two rules and led to a failure in the end. Another important point I learn from this passage is that people are unable to attend to multiple simultaneous stimuli. However, that is not always a drawback. If people can make use of that singularity, they can create products that have interfaces that accommodate these cognitive capabilities, also, more improvement is needed in this area.
yeq1 5:43:09 9/11/2014
Yechen Qiao Review for 9/11/2014 The Design of Everyday Things. Chap 1. Norman. In this chapter, the author have used experiences of everyday objects to argue why some of the designs are good, and some of them are bad. The authors claimed that visibility, constraints, mappings, and affordances are some of the key properties of good design. They have also argued that good designs also should have the user’s conceptual model related to the design model, and that of mental models. This chapter is quite fun to read (which led me to actually buy the book). The chapter used anecdotal evidences that I can actually relate to: doors that I can’t figure out whether to pull or push, refrigerator I don’t know how to set, and digital watches that I have to read labels and use trial and errors to set the time. Even though about 30 years had passed since the book was published, many of the examples the book gave can still be observed easily today. This is not a coincidence. The authors have used things that are ubiquitous to make the argument, instead of only those that are considered high tech at the time. In the last class, we have talked about how to begin to solve a problem after we have a problem statement: we go back to observe the actions of the end users. Even though people in IDEO have obviously used shopping carts, being able to pay attention to the details of people using shopping carts allowed them to come up with a list of requirements for their prototypes. We see similar things happening here. After the author was determined to find out what makes some of the designs easy to use for the users, he starts to carefully observe, talk to people who use these objects, even if he have obviously used objects such as doors and telephones before. I think this is what makes the book #1 best seller in retails in Amazon right now. While I could not comment about the book due to I haven’t read the whole book yet, I think it might be interesting to have the author go one step further and discuss how to improve on some of the designs. In particular, I am interested in thoughts of how the author would design a modern office telephone, a washer, and a VCR. I think the process of designing would give the readers further insight of the correct design process. The Humane Interface. Chap 2. Raskin. In this chapter, the author described what important concepts of cognetics are, and why and how these concepts should influence the design of a human-machine interface. The chapter specifically focuses on what are the limitations of human conscious, why humans can’t stop forming habits, and how this is related to efficiency of multi-tasking. The authors have given some good designs such as Cannon Cat that utilizes these properties, and some designs that are less good. Many of these knowledge comes from existing literatures in psychology and neurophysiology. And many of the examples given come from real life examples. The argument about how designers should exploit the properties of locus of attention and human conscious in general is reasonably strong. Some of the examples such the personal desktop are easy to relate to, and many of the things mentioned had since been fixed or partially fixed (features added but is not the default). In contrast of the other book, I find myself difficult to relate to the examples provided in this chapter. I am not a pilot but if both the buzzer and the red LED on the gear switch turns on I probably would be focusing on the gear switch. Of course, a test would have be conducted (without me knowing about the test) before I know whether this is true or not. Do authors really need to give these examples that requires specialized knowledge before the readers can fully understand it? Should the authors assume the audiences could relate to these examples?
Jose Michael Joseph 8:10:15 9/11/2014
The Humane Interface This excerpt predominantly talks about the various factors of the human psychology that play a part in determining the interaction between a user and the system. The various important topics covered in this article are the cognitive conscious and unconscious, the locus of attention, habits and absorption in a task. Firstly, while the article does an excellent job of investigating the human psychology, it does very little to show the effect of this on interface systems. Only towards the end of the article does the author cite different examples. Secondly, the author sometimes explores only certain perspective of a particular situation. The example here being the one the author used about how pilots being absorbed by a light switch inadvertently ended up crashing the plane. The author thus tries to show that absorption is a bad thing. But in the modern world where we are continuously distracted by the environment around us, it would be very beneficial for us to have an application that does keep us fully absorbed. An example to illustrate this point would be an application that teaches students. Such an application can have tremendous benefits for the students if it can induce a feeling of deep absorption in the students such that they are not distracted by the outside stimulus. The author has quite rightly and concisely put forth the example of how a “confirmation screen” after the delete command becomes unnecessary as the purpose is quickly defeated since the user has formed a habit of click “yes” just after the delete command. We can see that this is implemented in the latest Windows 8 since just as we click delete the file is deleted without any further confirmation pop ups. The segment of the article that really captured my attention was the locus of attention. The author has quite rightly described the various ways the human psychology works with respect to the locus of attention. This can be incorporated into applications where we want the user to focus on the essential tasks at hand while limiting attention to the non-essentials. Currently, the minimalistic approach uses this property of the human mind to display only those information that is essential to the user. Also there are some researches that say that Google became a more popular search engine since it did not distribute the user’s attention into various fields thus giving the impression that it was better at searching.
Jose Michael Joseph 8:10:57 9/11/2014
The Psychology of Everyday Things This chapter is an excellent work on the role design plays in the interaction between a user and an object. The article shows that even an object that has tremendous functionality is practically useless if its users cannot manage to learn the controls to invoke this functionality. One of the important points that I noted to myself that I felt was relevant to our current generation of technology was the statement that visuals are important but even more important is that they should not clog up the space. This is proving quite true for the current era where the trend is shifting to a minimalistic approach. In a minimalistic approach we only keep what is essential and otherwise keep the design clean. The second important mention is the affordance of materials. Each material we use can have a different psychological impact on the user and thus trigger different examples. As an example, suppose British Rail had used a form of coarse ply wood it would have prevented the vandals from defacing it. Third important point is the necessity of feedback. Especially in today’s computer prevalent age it is absolutely critical to give feedback to the user based on his actions. This will enable the user to make better decisions that co-relate directly with their intentions rather than with the number of commands they could memorize. Although this article poses a lot of important questions and points I feel that the article largely repeated itself. The section about ‘feedback’ was done twice whereas other sections were repeated two to three times. It would have been much better if the article was concise in its representation of ideas.
changsheng liu 8:37:05 9/11/2014
<The psychology of everyday things> introduces the psychology reason of design of everyday stuffs. It’s an interesting aspect since normally people tend to explain the design in mechanical perspective. The information provided in this paper is a very good resource for HCI design. User Interface shares the same problems mentioned in the book. For example, when we design a door, we want to make it as simple as possible, which means people know how to open it without any explicit signs or instruction. When we need to design interface for mobile application, the size of screen is limited. As a result, we cannot give all the instruction of how to use the application or finish a specific operation on screen. We should consider “Affordance” when we design the interface, which could provide strong clues to the interaction. Similar to the first book, <The human interface> introduces cognitive science into HCI design. Chapter two mainly covers Attention, which could be conscious or unconscious. As mentioned in the book, there are some properties of human learning could be directly applied to the foundations of any interface design. The fact that we can only have one locus of attention affects many aspects of our design. In section 2-3-1, the author talks about user habit of interaction. The idea in this section is inspiring. For example, we should create interfaces that don’t allow habits to cause problems for the user. We must design interfaces that deliberately take advantage of the human trait of habit development and allow users to develop habits that smooth the flow of their work. We might think that single locus of attention is a drawback. But in section 2-3-5, the author mentions it’s not always like this. We can take advantage of this in interface design. For example, if we know the current locus of user attention, we can make changes in the system elsewhere without distracting the user.
Christopher Thomas 8:54:46 9/11/2014
FIRST PAPER ***** 2-3 Sentence Summary of The Humane Interface – The author provides a brief explanation of cognetics, i.e. taking advantage of human’s mental abilities in engineering contexts. The author explains the difference between the cognitive conscious and cognitive unconscious, as they relate to where our locus of attention is (what we are paying attention to). Concepts of attention, habituation, and confirmations are discussed in the context of user interface design. One of the things the author mentioned in the article was the use of PET scans and MRI scans to actually measure the amount of computation being done by the brain when using an interface, that is, interfaces which require more computation to accomplish the same task may be more difficult to use. I found this reference very relevant and timely from other articles I have read, as far as user interface design goes. Recently, there has been a lot of development in what is called “brain-computer interfaces” where a user wears a brain scan on his or her head and is able to control the computer directly using his or her volitional thoughts. I am interested to see how brain-computer interfaces will change user interface design and will change the past assumptions about the user (using a mouse, etc.) One brain-computer interfaces become mainstream, many of the concepts discussed in this article, including the user’s ability to have only one locus of attention at a time may become critical. For instance, if a user is controlling the system with his or her thoughts using a brain-scanning machine and the user is distracted (i.e. the locus of attention shifts), the user’s brain-patterns may cause unexpected and unintended effects on the computer system while the user is paying attention to something else. Only the future will show how these sorts of problems are overcome. More practically, I found the author’s points very well taken. It is critical to acknowledge not only that user’s behave in accordance to the limits of the model-human processor, but also that humans have certain additional psychological features and limitations, such as the inability to focus on multiple things simultaneously. These types of observations, though they seem simple and obvious, are critical aspects of user interface design. Laying out interfaces which allow the user to not require multiple shifts of attention will make design easier. Similarly, an understanding that user habits will occur no matter what the system designer’s do presents challenges and opportunities. On the one hand, a user interface designer could take advantage of the fact that habits form when considering whether or not to design an interface to be interchangeable with a similar product. Recognizing that users have habits of use of software, and that disrupting those habits with different processes or requirements to accomplish the same goals, suggests that the interface designer exploit those pre-existing habits and translate those additional use patterns into new software. Similarly, habits can also be jarred with an unexpected message or pop-up, when appropriate, so that users can be forced to pay attention to something they haven’t seen or expected. Though I did like the chapter and I felt the author gave many good examples, I felt at time the chapter was very wordy and long-winded. The author often made the same point multiple times. Similarly, the author also stated that he was interested in discussing the practical concerns of consciousness and unconsciousness as they relate to interface design, but he still bogged down much of the text with philosophical explanations, only to say they are irrelevant later on. Why not just omit those explanations altogether if they were irrelevant? The chapter was definitely thought provoking, though. For instance, we see tons of products designed to be “ergonomic.” There are ergonomic chairs, mice, etc., but what the author is arguing for in this chapter is an ergonomics of the mind, which is perhaps one of the most critical aspects of system design and one that is frequently overlooked. **** SECOND PAPER ***** 2-3 Sentence Summary of The Psychology of Everyday Things (POET) – The author provides numerous examples of good and poor design and uses those examples to illustrate several key points. The author argues that visibility of functionality to the user and the user’s ability to make a good conceptual model of the effects of their actions is key to good design. The author also discusses the importance of having good mapping design, where a button is mapped to one or more functions and giving feedback to users so they know what they just did. I really enjoyed reading this chapter. At first, when I began reading it, many of the examples seemed dated and irrelevant. I soon realized however, that the principles the author was discussing apply equally in our time as when it was written. For instance, all of us have had the experience of a poorly designed door which we weren’t sure to push or pull on. We can now translate what we learned there to software and user interface design. Thus, when we are considering design decision in a user interface, we should try as much as possible to make the interface natural and communicative to the user. The user should not have to guess about the consequences of their actions in the interface. The interface should provide a good conceptual model to the user, so that he or she can predict based on the design of the interface what a certain button will do. For instance, if a small red garbage can was listed in a section of an on-screen keyboard user interface called text editing functions with a mouse over tooltip of “delete text” the user should be reasonably confident that clicking the button will delete the highlighted text. If the garbage can was not grouped in this way or laid out in a random way, where functionalities were not grouped, the user may doubt the function of the button (i.e. whether it deleted the entire document or just the selected text). The user will see immediate feedback of this action. If, however, the user makes a mistake, providing an option to undo the action also helps users who may accidentally click the wrong button and mitigate errors. Another critical point in the chapter was the concept of mapping: the relationship between control (such as a button) and the result of pressing that button. The author argues that to the maximum extent possible, one should not load multiple functions into a single control, for fear of confusing the user. A good example of this is the “format painter” tool in Microsoft Word, which allows a user to highlight some text, click the format painter icon, and highlight some other text to have the format of the original text applied to the secondary text. After this process is done, however, the original format is cleared and the user needs to select the original text again if he or she wishes to apply it to some more text. It is completely not obvious and no indication is given that an additional function can be performed by double clicking the format painter icon, causing it to go into lock mode. One way to solve this problem would be after the user clicks the paint brush once, to display a small “unlocked” symbol for the user, which if clicked again would lock the original format to allow it to be copied multiple times. This would provide communication to the user that multiple functionalities were hidden beneath one button. As it stands, most users have no idea that they are able to double click the brush, as no indication of functionality is given. Also, without the tooltip over the paint brush, the concept of copying the format of text may be unclear, especially given the paint brush’s location, which indicates poor visibility and conceptual modelling of the mapping between function to control. Finally, something which I had never thought about before, but which I definitely think is true, is the “U” problem. The author argues that when a technology first emerges, many people struggle with it, but eventually they get to learn it and people become comfortable with it (they reach the bottom of the “U”). However, once this happens, people who have become so comfortable with it, decide to add lots of new features and change it, which then causes it to become increasingly complicated for users, who then have to face another learning curve with the updated product. I definitely see this pattern occurring in software. Consider Windows, for instance. Microsoft had a fairly standard user interface for several generations of operating systems, which many people were happy with. Microsoft attempted to update the interface in Vista and the result was a public relations disaster, with practically everyone hating the new operating system. However, that eventually subsided and people learned to accept the new interface in Windows 7. However, Windows 8 again changed it all causing the same revulsion. Again, we can see the same “U” pattern of behavior that the authors discussed when this article was written still occurring in modern interface design.
Vivek Punjabi 9:03:01 9/11/2014
The Psychology of Everyday Things Critique: The author of the book starts off with an array of everyday issues that people fae psychologically. He then introduces the concept of Affordances(visibility) and Conceptual Models(operative) that form the principles of design for better understandability and usability. He gives detailed examples of a telephone a car and suggests that telephone has a bad conceptual model whereas car has a much better one because of better mapping. Later he explains the paradox of technology as if how it can be advantageous as well as complex at the same time. The author clearly explains the psychology of human beings in everyday life with illustrious examples. He explains how the human psychology can be tamed in the name of technology and design. So it is always required to think of the design from the user's perspective and usage which makes sense only if its tested and verified in the most similar environment. Cognetics and the Locus of Attention: Critique: The author has provided a very precise approach of designing human interfaces using cognition and locus of attention. He explains the current research and findings of Cognetics and emphasizes on using that knowledge to build interfaces. Understanding the working of human brain and then providing what suits it the best is his strategy. He then discusses about the Locus of Attention as a major part of human beings' life that can be exploited while designing interfaces. The author uses some concrete and dynamic examples to explain the concepts of Cognetics and Locus of Attention making it easier to understand for the non-majors to grasp and learn the importance of the same. The approach surely seems plausible as understanding the user audience is essential in the process of designing human interface products. The author has provided a deep understanding of certain concepts such as consciousness and habit formation which makes other topics logical and easier to understand. Overall it seemed an interesting and relevant topic