Affordance and Conceptual Models

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Reading Critiques

Haoran Zhang 17:31:33 9/1/2016

Both papers are talking about interface design principle. In the first paper, it used few examples to illustrate what is a bad design, for example, a row of swinging glass doors in a Boston hotel. Since the door has horizontal bars locate closer together on the sides people should push on, but it is not obviously, so that it still confuses people. The author think a good design should have both understandability and usability, which is mean to make things visible, and let people easy to use. Author provide a good example, that is seat adjustment control from a Mercedes-Benz automobile. The controller was designed look like a seat, so people can easy to understand the response of their own seat when they push the button. It is common to add complexity and difficulty when add more functions, but it can be minimized if we can design it wisely. The other reading is talking about cognetics and the locus of attention. The author think we can design interfaces based on a pragmatic and empiric view. There are two concepts of cognitive, they are cognitive conscious and cognitive unconscious. Also, the author talked about locus of attention and some results of experiments. The author gave us few examples, such as the accident that killed 101 people in 1972 to show that, people only can do one thing at the same time. It is hard for a people to be multi-tasking. With carefully design, we can use this thing. Like, if we try to distract users’ attention when they are waiting for something, they feel time pass by faster. These two papers offer us more principle when we do the interface design. In my opinion, HCI are related to phycology, to make a good design, we have to know how people think, and how people understand the world. For example, locus of attention may not a good thing for people, but that is one point that we can use during designing process. Also, design thing more intuitive, to satisfy peoples’ conscious, which is mean a good design will not let people think when people are using it. For example, a red button may means stop, and a green button may means start on a machine. Or if you want to warn someone, you would better to light up a red light, instead of green. These are just simple design principle, but they are the basic principle, that help us to make smarter design.

Keren Ye 13:55:53 9/5/2016

The Psychology of Everyday Things In this chapter, the authors firstly proposed the problem that occur in our everyday life, the frustrations. Some principles are then proposed to design for the human interface. One of the important principles of design is called visibility, which means correct parts for manipulation must be visible and they must convey the correct message. Natural design can help to achieve visibility. However, in the book, the authors give lots of everyday examples that the human interfaces are lack of visibility. The second principle depicted in the chapter is affordance. In general, affordances provide strong clues to the operations of things. For example, flat horizontal bar affords only pushing while vertical ones signify a pull. Psychology of causality is also at work, and it is a poor design that allows either kind of false causality to occur. The conceptual models are then discussed in this chapter. The clues to how things work come from their visible structure, in particular from affordances, constraints, and mappings. The authors sum that the fundamental principles of designing are: (1) provide a good conceptual model and (2) make things visible. A good conceptual model allows to predict the effects of actions. Without a good model users operate by rote blindly. For the visibility, good visibility makes it easy to find the appropriate control for a task, thus there is little to remember. There are two principles that help to improve visibility: mapping and feedback. Design is not easy. The manufacturer wants something that can be produced economically. And the needs of the concerned are different and often conflict. However, the principles of good design can make complexity manageable. Cognetics and the Locus of Attention Firstly, the authors explain the relation between ergonomics and cognetics, and conclude that human-machine interface in accord with the abilities and foibles of humankind can help to improve performance. The guidelines are ergonomics and cognetics, in which ergonomics takes into account the statistical nature of human variability and cognetics consider the applicable, engineering scope of human mental abilities. Then, the authors distinguish the concept of cognitive conscious from the cognitive unconscious. Locus of Attention is then discussed. It conveys a misimpression of how attention works. Apply the concept to the human-machine interaction guidelines: you cannot assume that, because someone has seen or heard a particular message 5 seconds earlier, that person will remember its wording. As the information becomes the locus of attention, it moves into short-term memory. The authors explain the guidelines for designing interfaces that do not allow habits to cause problems for the users: (1) take advantage of human trait of habit development and (2) allow users to develop habits that smooth the flow of their work. And having multiple options can shift locus of attention from the task to the choice of method. In the next paragraph, the authors discuss the relation of execution of simultaneous tasks and automatic. To my understanding, sequence of actions will eventually become automatic. An interesting example is that confirmation after typing forbids user from forming a typing habit. An important conclusion concluded in the next paragraph is that human cannot attend to multiple simultaneous stimuli, which means human can only form habit singularly in a cognitive conscious way. So how to exploit the single locus of attention? The authors make some discussion of context switching of human brain saying that we should resume from where we stopped or start a new task.

Steven Faurie 16:33:00 9/5/2016

Steve Faurie Beating Fitt’s Law This paper explored several techniques to make pointing at on screen objects more efficient. The three sections described decreasing the distance needed to travel to an object, increasing the size of the object a user wishes to click on, or increasing both. Several of the techniques described have been implemented to varying degrees in different programs and operating systems. With decreasing distance seeming to be the most rare, outside of right clicking to open a menu that will display actions associated with the object that was right clicked on. I think I would find several of the techniques annoying as a user. Especially increasing the stickiness of clickable objects, or displaying a big ugly cursor described in the section about area cursors. The section about C-D gain was interesting and the description of increasing errors with increasing mouse speed made a lot of sense for an average user, but I know many of my co-workers that play a lot of FPS type video games like a very fast moving mouse cursor. Because they’re experts with the device their error rates are probably comparable to a typical user with a more traditional cursor to mouse movement ratio. Many modern higher end computer mice even feature buttons on them that let you adjust the C-D gain on the fly. Which is something that might not have existed at the time this article was written. This allows users to adjust their mouse speed easily for the task they’re currently performing. Beyond Fitt’s Law: This paper developed a quantitative way to measure tasks that required maintaining velocity and steering a pointing device. The author’s developed a corollary to Fitt’s law that described these types of motions. They ended up showing that as the difficulty of a task increased the time it took to do the task increased linearly. The paper gives another tool to researchers interested in HCI. By using the equations developed by the paper researches can analyze actions like drawing a letter with a mouse or on a tablet. More tools mean more precise quantitative analyses regarding following paths can be made, and the effectiveness of different designs relating to these types of task can be compared more precisely.

Steven Faurie 16:33:13 9/5/2016

Steve Faurie Beating Fitt’s Law This paper explored several techniques to make pointing at on screen objects more efficient. The three sections described decreasing the distance needed to travel to an object, increasing the size of the object a user wishes to click on, or increasing both. Several of the techniques described have been implemented to varying degrees in different programs and operating systems. With decreasing distance seeming to be the most rare, outside of right clicking to open a menu that will display actions associated with the object that was right clicked on. I think I would find several of the techniques annoying as a user. Especially increasing the stickiness of clickable objects, or displaying a big ugly cursor described in the section about area cursors. The section about C-D gain was interesting and the description of increasing errors with increasing mouse speed made a lot of sense for an average user, but I know many of my co-workers that play a lot of FPS type video games like a very fast moving mouse cursor. Because they’re experts with the device their error rates are probably comparable to a typical user with a more traditional cursor to mouse movement ratio. Many modern higher end computer mice even feature buttons on them that let you adjust the C-D gain on the fly. Which is something that might not have existed at the time this article was written. This allows users to adjust their mouse speed easily for the task they’re currently performing. Beyond Fitt’s Law: This paper developed a quantitative way to measure tasks that required maintaining velocity and steering a pointing device. The author’s developed a corollary to Fitt’s law that described these types of motions. They ended up showing that as the difficulty of a task increased the time it took to do the task increased linearly. The paper gives another tool to researchers interested in HCI. By using the equations developed by the paper researches can analyze actions like drawing a letter with a mouse or on a tablet. More tools mean more precise quantitative analyses regarding following paths can be made, and the effectiveness of different designs relating to these types of task can be compared more precisely.

Steven Faurie 20:08:50 9/5/2016

Steven Faurie The Psychopathology of Everyday Things: The chapter begins by describing some frustrations with everyday objects caused by bad design. It calls to mind the old joke about no one ever having the correct time on their VCR displayed. The author goes on to describe how the design of some objects gives clear clues about their intended use. For example doors with horizontal bars are generally for pushing and those with a vertical handle should be pulled. He goes on to describe how users need to have a conceptual model of the devices they’re using so that the interactions with the devices are not from rote memorization of what you need to do, but rather the user is only required to do what is logical and obvious to make the device work properly. Mappings are also discussed. The first example given is that turning a car’s steering wheel clockwise will turn the car to the right. He goes on to say how natural mappings can lead to immediate understanding for a user. I think one reason Apple has been so successful with devices like the iPhone is that they’ve taken almost all of these things into account. When you touch something on the screen it does what you expect. A swipe scrolls a document the way you would expect, etc. This might also be one of the reasons some people disliked early iterations of Windows OS. Windows was a powerful operating system, but the settings a user might wish to take advantage of were buried in hard to find menus that didn’t necessarily make their purpose clear by their icons, titles, or location. Cognetics and the Locus of Attention: This chapter focuses on the need to design interfaces with the limits and abilities of human cognition in mind. The author describes how to study cognetics, which is the cognitive equivalent of ergonomics, we must assume we can understand the thoughts of others and that they would make the same rational decisions we would when presented with an interface. Most of the chapter is devoted to describing certain ways the brain works, and how humans have both conscious and unconscious thoughts occurring. The author gives the example of automatically/unconsciously breaking at a red light. Or consciously deciding to speed through the light if you see it just turns yellow. The thing you are consciously focusing on is your locus of attention. Which the author argues a person can only have one of. For example you can complete multiple unconscious actions at a time, but can only do one thing that requires your conscious attention. The chapter eventually begins discussing habits as unconscious actions we take that can simplify our life. It means people don’t have to think about everything they do specifically. People will also develop habits while using an interface. The author says the designer of the interface should make sure those habits are not detrimental to the user’s ability to properly interact with the interface. An interesting example is given about deleting files. The “are you sure” question that precedes most attempts to delete something may cause the user to stop and think about what they’re doing once or twice. But eventually this confirmation step will become routine ineffective as clicking the yes button becomes part of the habitual action. Rather than having these clunky interactions with the interface, a better option would be to allow the user to undo changes they didn’t want to make. The chapter ends by giving examples of absorption in a task, how it is essential for getting work done, but can also be problematic.

Zuha Agha 0:16:55 9/6/2016

1.) The Psychopathology of Everyday Things In this chapter the Norman discusses the underlying characteristics of good design. According to him, the key factors that determine good design are its discoverability and understandability. These characteristics show how easy it is to figure out the way a product works and the possible actions that a user can take. In order to achieve discoverability and understandability in design, the fundamental principles described in this chapter are affordance, signifiers, mappings and feedback. Affordances are the possible actions; Signifiers are the implicit or explicit indicators for those actions; Mappings are the relationship between the product controls and actions; Feedback are signals that confirm execution of an action and state change. What I like about this text is how the author illustrates the application of all the aforementioned design principles through common daily life examples such as doors, refrigerators and sink drains which makes it understandable even for a non-technical reader. However, I do not fully agree with the paradox of technology that the author describes at the end of the chapter. Though the functions of devices are increasing, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the devices are becoming harder to use. In my opinion, design needs evolve with the complexity of devices, and good design can achieve understandability and discoverability regardless of the number of functionalities that the product offers. 2.) Cognetics and the Locus of Attention In this chapter, the author talks about interface design in the light of human cognitive limitations. Aspects of human cognition discussed are the conscious versus the unconscious mind and the locus of attention. First the author gives different examples to show that conscious mind is invoked by tasks that are new or involve decision making whereas unconscious mind is invoked by non-branching or routine tasks. An interesting phenomenon mentioned is how thoughts and ideas emerge from our unconsciousness to consciousness and fade back in over time. Next, the author discusses locus of attention which is the feature that actively engages the user attention. Locus of attention is affected by habituation of tasks due to repetition and the singularity of attention, which can sometimes lead to unpleasant outcomes as a result of an absent-minded choice made by the user. However, designers can also exploit these traits to their advantage such as masking out any delays while the user is context switching. Overall, i think the reading is useful as it teaches the importance of understanding the interplay of attention and consciousness in order to design products that best capture and retain the user’s interest.

nannan wen 0:23:18 9/6/2016

The Psychology of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman. Summary: First the author expressed his appreciation to people who has help him in writing this book, and he also stated the reason why he wrote this book, and what’s the relation between everyday product with computers. In the chapter called “you would need an engineering degree to figure this out”, the author thinks that the design for everyday product sometimes provide little or no clue on how to use it, and because human brains are purposed to make sense of the world, hence it became more easier for humans to interpret and understand if the objects is well-designed. And thus poorly designed objects are difficult to figure out, and easy to make people frustrated. Under the title “the frustrations of everyday life”, the author gives an example where his friends got trapped in the doorway of a post office in a European city. The designer maintained a prettiness and elegant of the door, but neglected the visibility of the correct parts which indicates how to use the door. After some examples where he find difficulties with the projector because of the design. The second one where the man who adjust the painting can’t see what he’s doing while he’s adjusting it. The third example is that a new telephone system, the design are different from the old days because it doesn’t have a “hold” function, so it’s difficult to learn how to use it by a glance. The author also showed another example where a family bought an expensive washing machine, the functionality are so complicated thus difficult to remember all the settings, it’s a fancy machine, with super-duper multi-symbol controls, but it’s a bad design, and yet people still spend money to buy it, which gives the designers the wrong impressions that people likes their design, so user needs help in order to make things more direct. Under the title “the psychology of everyday things”, there are different subtitles the author used to explain the idea. First the author explained what “affordances” means in this context using the example of different material used in objects. Second, the author illustrated that there are twenty thousand everyday things that’s been used, then the problem cames that how do people cope? The answer is that designers should make the operation clear. Under the title “principles of design for understandability and usability”, the author argues that the fundamental principles of designing for people is provide a good conceptual model and make things visible. Then the author gives an example of his refrigerator as how important to make a correct conceptual model. He used model telephone as another example to illustrate how important it is to make things visible. He also expressed that designing well is not easy. Last, he explains that technology offers the potential to make life better but also has the potential to make things more complex and make people frustrated more easily. The humane interface - new directions for designing interactive systems by Jef Ranskin: under the title “ergonomics and cognetics: what we can and cannot do”, the author explained two terms, one is ergonomics, which should take into account of human variability when design products. Another term is cognetics, which should take into account of human mental limitations when it comes to design an interface. Then under the title “cognitive conscious and cognitive unconscious”, the author also gives the concept of consciousness and models of the mind, he using the first character of people’s name as an example to illustrate what is conscious and unconscious. In this book, conscious and unconscious are intended as abbreviations for the cognitive conscious and the cognitive unconscious. Then the author also explained what locus of attention means using an example. Another topic is “formation of habits”, when we first do something, it always seems impossible to do it, but as we practice more, it always becomes easier for us to do, that’s the power of habits. The next concept is “execution of simultaneous tasks”, people generate automatic responses for that people can not be conscious of more than one task at any moment. The author also talked about the formation of habits, the exploitation of the single locus of attention and resumption of interrupted work.

Tazin Afrin 0:26:50 9/6/2016

Critique for “The Psychology of Everyday Things” : The main purpose of this article is to compare between a badly designed everyday thing and a good design of everyday thing and find out the psychology for designing it in a particular way and the frustration or easiness for using the device. The author Donald A. Norman tried to solve the frustration for using a device based on its visibility, affordance, natural mapping, and the conceptual model. The author thinks that human mind is especially designed to make sense of the outside world. Hence while designing some device there should be visible clue for using it even for a door design so that it can be naturally interpreted. If the mapping between the intended action and the actual operation or outcome is not visible then frustration grows inside the users no matter how detail instruction is given. If the conceptual model of the designer and the conceptual model of the user does not match then the system becomes a complex system and the user cannot appreciate the usefulness of the device. So the designer has to take advantage of human psychology and cultural standard and some already used techniques. I find this study very interesting. It has change the way I look at everyday things such as a door knob. Also it reminds me, when Microsoft removed the start button in Windows 8, it created so many confusions and frustration because of poor design. But after getting feedback the start button was back in Windows 8.1. This book was originally published in 1988, and they talked about a display on telephone which is the regular thing now on smartphones. But I think they could categorize the everyday things and then could find out if the psychology changes for different categories. Critique for “The Humane Interface” : We need to understand the human mind and behavior to design an effective human-machine interface. In this chapter, the author Jef Raskin talks about the concept of cognitive conscious and cognitive unconscious and locus of attention and discusses what human mind can or cannot do and when the likelihood of error increases. The author argues that there is only single locus of attention which is the main focus of our attention at a fraction of time. We as human can only think about one thing at our cognitive consciousness. But we can be unconscious of a lot of things at a time. We can only go from unconscious to conscious but not otherwise. Multitasking can be done while we are unconscious of our action such as walking and eating a burger. As we do things repeatedly, we become unaware of our sequence of actions and that becomes a habit. This is very important for interface design, because it can take advantage of human habit formation and help develop a habit that will smooth the flow of work. As I read the document, I figured out how carefully the modern interfaces are designed to make the user very comfortable and addict to whatever work he is doing on the computer or smartphones. However, I think not every action can be predicted by a habit and design accordingly. There should be some natural human actions found that are worth studying with the study of human mind while designing an interface.

Zhenjiang Fan 1:03:16 9/6/2016

The Psychology of Everyday things: The first chapter of the book mainly discusses how the design of things in our everyday lives fails to guide us to use them efficiently and how do we fix the problem. Just like the title of the book suggests that the main point of the book is talking about the psychology of everyday things. Indeed, the author give us lots of examples to lay out the problems that how the design of everyday things has failed us on using them correctly and efficiently. Thorough out the first chapter, there are examples, which demonstrate how somethings in daily life make our lives miserable, and there are also counter-examples in the late part of the chapter, which show what a good product design should look like. But I also found that author have given too many examples to just prove one point. Sometimes it feels a little bit redundant By using these example, the book demonstrate several principles, including the importance of visibility, appropriate clues and feedback of one’s actions. These principles constitute a form of psychology, the psychology of how people interact with everyday things. Then the book goes on talking about this psychology, stating there already exists the start of a psychology of materials and of everyday things, which is the study of affordances of objects. And another psychology of causality is also at work as we use everyday things. A poor design may have a poor usage of affordances and allows a false causality to occur. To come up with a good product design, a designer should have some knowledge of the psychology of people and the psychology of how everyday things works. That mean a good product design should provide a good conceptual model and makes things(affordances, constraints and mappings of tings’ structure) visible. On the topic of the conceptual model, the book illustrates the relation between the design model(the designer’s conceptual model) and the user’s model(user’s conceptual model). Then the book goes on discussing about how to make things visible, how to map the implied controls and related movements and how to provide some feedback to the user’s actions. Finally, the book talks about the impacts of development of technology on product design, the paradox of technology, and how this paradox should not degrade the product design.

Zhenjiang Fan 2:06:19 9/6/2016

Cognetics and the Locus of Attention The book says that if we want to design good interfaces, we should not only muster ergonomics of the mind(physical related designs), but more importantly, to explore the mental state of our cognitive ability(cognetics). In the most parts of the chapter of the book, it discusses the cognitive conscious, cognitive unconscious, the locus of attention, the formation of habits, the execution of simultaneous tasks, automaticity, the singularity of the locus of attention, the origin of the locus of attention, how to exploit the single locus of attention and resumption of interrupted work. There are a lot of topics in the book that have been discussed. But if you really think about those topics, there are just two main routines: Cognitive Unconscious ---Habits --- Automaticity(Almost same concept) Cognitive Conscious --- Locus of Attention(Almost same concept) Again, this book also uses a lots of citations and example, the reason behind this huge usage third party citations may be, the author just wants to make his points clear or just wants to write as many words as he or she could to make book looks like contentious.

Anuradha Kulkarni 5:39:14 9/6/2016

The Humane Interface –Cognetics and the Locus of Attention This article gives an insight of the different psychological phenomenon that can impact a user’s experience and thereby lead to good interface designing. The phenomenon discussed in the paper are singular attention, automaticity and simultaneous tasks, habit formation and locus of attention. In addition, it unravels the properties of cognitive consciousness and cognitive unconsciousness with help of models and examples. Cognitive conscious refers to the object that the conscious mind is giving attention to at the particular moment. A thorough understanding of the human ability to carry out stuff consciously or unconsciously aid in developing good interfaces. For example, a habitual task can unknowingly lead to losing out important stuff like deleting the file unknowingly. Designer came up with an idea of including confirmation before deleting a file but that confirmation pop up can also lead to a habit to few users. Thus if a file is never to be deleted, that file should be made impossible for the user to delete. Although this article was informative and interesting, it seemed to be heavy on the psychological terms. Examples provided in this article are small and limited. More examples would have aided in better understanding especially for the design goals. The Psychopathology of Everyday Things This article gives an insight about psychology of the interaction between humans and everyday objects. Here a conceptual model refers to a user’s belief as to how a particular object really works, and visibility refers to how clearly the design itself conveys its function to a user and how clearly the result of an action done by the user can be observed. This article provided good set of examples elucidating people’s reaction on poorly designed objects. It also explains the concept of visibility and affordance with good practical examples. The article conveys the point that good design in technology provides benefits to the lifestyle rather that make it difficult and frustrating. The author also states that the poor design should not be the victim of the paradox of technology. The article was informative with good set of examples that aided in better understanding of the concepts. The drawback of this article is that the example is outdated to current upgrade in the technology. For example, the telephone example referred to what was a landline phone with minimal design success. With today’s smartphones the interface design issues specific to phones are significantly different, though the principles remain the same with visibility and conceptual modeling. The article made an excellent point that a good design is one that makes the users life simple.

Anuradha Kulkarni 5:39:04 9/6/2016

The Humane Interface –Cognetics and the Locus of Attention This article gives an insight of the different psychological phenomenon that can impact a user’s experience and thereby lead to good interface designing. The phenomenon discussed in the paper are singular attention, automaticity and simultaneous tasks, habit formation and locus of attention. In addition, it unravels the properties of cognitive consciousness and cognitive unconsciousness with help of models and examples. Cognitive conscious refers to the object that the conscious mind is giving attention to at the particular moment. A thorough understanding of the human ability to carry out stuff consciously or unconsciously aid in developing good interfaces. For example, a habitual task can unknowingly lead to losing out important stuff like deleting the file unknowingly. Designer came up with an idea of including confirmation before deleting a file but that confirmation pop up can also lead to a habit to few users. Thus if a file is never to be deleted, that file should be made impossible for the user to delete. Although this article was informative and interesting, it seemed to be heavy on the psychological terms. Examples provided in this article are small and limited. More examples would have aided in better understanding especially for the design goals. The Psychopathology of Everyday Things This article gives an insight about psychology of the interaction between humans and everyday objects. Here a conceptual model refers to a user’s belief as to how a particular object really works, and visibility refers to how clearly the design itself conveys its function to a user and how clearly the result of an action done by the user can be observed. This article provided good set of examples elucidating people’s reaction on poorly designed objects. It also explains the concept of visibility and affordance with good practical examples. The article conveys the point that good design in technology provides benefits to the lifestyle rather that make it difficult and frustrating. The author also states that the poor design should not be the victim of the paradox of technology. The article was informative with good set of examples that aided in better understanding of the concepts. The drawback of this article is that the example is outdated to current upgrade in the technology. For example, the telephone example referred to what was a landline phone with minimal design success. With today’s smartphones the interface design issues specific to phones are significantly different, though the principles remain the same with visibility and conceptual modeling. The article made an excellent point that a good design is one that makes the users life simple.

Debarun Das 8:41:44 9/6/2016

“The Humane Interface” by Jef Raskin: This chapter deals with the importance of knowing how the cognitive conscious and unconscious part of the human mind works in order to design an appropriate interface. It proceeds by explaining the idea of consciousness and the models of the mind; the transformation from unconscious to conscious and vice versa with the help of examples; the locus of attention and the rule by which a person can have only one locus of attention at a time and finally the concept of habits which is formed by repetition of tasks. This paper explains the basic psychology and how it can be exploited to design interfaces. For example, it usually takes 10 seconds for a human brain to shift its locus of attention. However, this time should not seem as a delay for a person while using the interface. So, the use of sounds during this change of context (like changing the deck of cards in a card game) will make the user not realize this time gap for the change of focus. -------------------- “The Psychology Of Everyday Things” by Donald A. Norman: This article deals with the principles and aspects of design of everyday things that affects the way a user can use a device. It aims to apply experimental psychology and cognitive science to analyze the design of everyday tools. Initially, it presents several examples of the ambiguous and poor designs of things lead to frustration for the user. Then, it proceeds to discuss the factors/principles that can be kept in mind to design interfaces. It discusses about how affordance of things should be taken into account to design interfaces and that every design should have good conceptual models for more ease of the user. Finally, it discusses about the principle of mapping and the principle of feedback that are exploited for better design of interfaces. This article gives a comprehensive view of the basic user psychology that should be taken into account to design everyday things. These principles provide the backbone for designing computer interfaces.