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Preece Ch. 3, Harper (pp. 10-63) Response May 31, 2009

Posted by maggertj in Uncategorized.
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Chapter 3 was a very interesting look into the cognitive aspects of the human mind.  I find it very interesting to apply known psychological and sociological ideas directly during the design process.  The key cognition processes as listed as: attention, perception/recognition, memory, learning, reading/speaking/listening, and problem-solving/planning/reasoning/decision-making.  It’s no surprise that these processes are interdependent and may actaully aid or hinder one another.  One key note is that many people are goal oriented, or at least driven by a need or want, which alters these processes profoundedly as well.  Keeping these ideas in mind, it becomes important to limit the information available to users in your designs, to not overly clutter things, and also to help draw users towards the direction they desire.  When speaking of memory, the idea of 7 + or – 2 comes to mind.

Its recommended to keep menu options limited for the basic user, but more complex for those who wish to explore.  People find it hard to understand spoken menus with more than a handful of options.  This goes into human information processing model.  This model goes: encoding, comparison, response selection, to response execution.  Forcing the mind to “backtrack” so to speak causes information overlay which hinders cognitive execution.  The overall purpose of this modeling is to make designing much more physical in its framework.  Designing becomes much easier when one has the ability to accurately predict user interaction and performance with their designs.

Harper’s article had some interesting insights as to the past, present, and future implementation of HCI technology. The first example was mainframe use in the 1960s, how one computer served thousands of users.  Now 1 user has dozens of computers, and he proposes in the future that 1 user will have thousands of computers.  Computers have gone from a business only, with limited use, to an everyday efficiency requirement. He mentions the ideas of interaction with computers has been ever evolving.  Previously limited to only keyboard and mice, now we are moving into GUIs with touch and sense interaction, which more fluidly capture the human mind’s ideas.  New electronic ink and flexible smart fabics are making it possible to display computer data nearly anywhere, from clothing to finger sized devices.  Computer AI is becoming so advanced that they can display human emotions and reactions.

He questions the necessity of privacy in an age where computers capture your everyday routine constantly, whether it be financial transactions, CCTV, or conversation patterns.  This information is used to create new technology, safeguard bank accounts, or help capture terrorist activity.  However new technologies are becoming ubiquitous, and thus easily exploitative in possibility.  Also one might question at what point do we draw the line; where do we say we no longer wish technology to intrude on personal privacy.

There are also several examples given in which technology is permanently changing human life.  It’s changing the way we work, learn, think, and even feel.  One example is cell phones.  On paper a simple phone, however its almost become a requirement to communicate.  When someone doesn’t own one, and you wish to communicate with them, you get annoyed.  When someone ignores your calls, whether intentional or not, you become angry and assume they refuse to speak with you.  Technology is changing how countries do business and make profit to survive.

Part 2 talks about how bio-sensing techology might impede on human development.  The idea of interfaces is somewhat of an old notion when it comes to bio-technology.  Harper mentions human values with now determine how HCI is implemented.  Baciyl techo-dependancy creates a responsibly for HCI designers to carefully think about how they will continue to alter the world around them with new designs for technology.  Bare in mind these new designs can greatly aid in human delopment and creativity in general, and we are just understanding how to use this to augment our own goals.   Part 3 starts by reiterating these previous ideas, and then goes on how the design process flows.  It is slightly different than the one in class.  Harper’s process goes: understand, study, design, build, evaulate.  It is also flowing digram that can revisit previous steps.  the names are different but the idea is still the same.  You understand your user, you create a design to aid their goals, you build it, and then you evaulte if your design did indeed aid them and/or society.

Design Competition May 31, 2009

Posted by miacohen in Uncategorized.
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Last Thursday, I participated in the extra credit design activity. I was somewhat nervous since I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Once I got there we were told we were going to make some sketches to improve some or make new technological interfaces. It was a round base competition where teams were going to get eliminated. In the first round we had to design a device that tells tourist where the local hot spots are. My team decided to make a handheld device similar to a GPS system where the hot spots show up on the map. For this round the time limit was 10 minutes. At first I thought that was going to be an eternity but once the two minute warning was called out, I realized we still had a lot to do still. The one minute presentation was not nearly enough time to explain your design in the detail I would have liked. The second round we were to design an entertainment system of international flights. We designed a touch screen in the headrest where the user could watch movies listen to music, play games by themselves or multiplayer games such as chess or blackjack with other passengers on the plane. This is the round where we were eliminated. I feel our design was good enough to move on but the presentation was lacking a little bit and didn’t get the main points of the design across as much as I would have liked. I am glad I participated; I had a lot of fun coming up with creative designs. The short time limit and competition made for an exciting and intense environment.

Design Competition May 28, 2009

Posted by icpark in Uncategorized.
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Today’s competition was to improve the current system of various models. First round we integrated a city’s tranportation logistics and entertainment into one system that is user friendly. At the second round we developed on-board aircraft entertainment system. I thought that both of our ideas would improve the current system. Although I got eliminated on the second round, I still had lots of fun. Throughout the competition, I learned what HCI design is, and user-friendly and creative ideas are crutial for this job.  I would improve our presentation skills if I have another chance.

Design Competition Recap May 28, 2009

Posted by toast000 in Uncategorized.
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I’m writing this as the last two teams are in the design phase for the final round of the competition, so I can’t really say who has won yet.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect coming in to the competition, but thought it sounded like fun. I was really surprised at how varied the problems were. I think some of the ideas from the first could possibly be used for the second option for the final project. Being under a time limit (especially for presenting) caused me to have to drop or at least simplify some ideas. Presenting still isn’t my strong suit, but I did enjoy the informal environment and that definitely made things easier.

Presentations are about to begin, so I’ll end it here. Good luck to teams D and F in the final round.

Week 3 Reading May 27, 2009

Posted by kh2011 in Uncategorized.
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In Chapter 3, memory and metaphors were the main topic of discussion. As defined in this chapter, memory “involves recalling various kinds of knowledge that allow us to act appropriately”. This is an vital concept to understand as designers, because it emphasizes the importance of understanding our users and spending a lot of time in the early stages of development to best understand what our clients need to accomplish.

When thinking about the design process, the book listed some things we need to keep in mind in order to consider better how people store and recall memories, and how they put them to use when interacting with our designs. Such examples are to keep the length of speech-based menus to a minimum. It can be very difficult for people to remember verbal instructions for an extended period of time. I experienced this when my grandmother bought her first computer. She bought a new printer that came with special photo editing software, and the informational disc that came along with it to teach her how to use it, used mainly voice instruction. She found this very fast-paced and confusing and therefore I ended up having to teach her how to use the software. Another example the book listed to assist with creating the most human-friendly designs was to provide the option of larger text on a screen. This is another example I have experienced with my father. He recently purchased an iPhone, and I don’t think there has been a page yet that he has looked at where he hasn’t had to use the zoom feature. Thankfully, the iPhone’s zoom feature is very easy for him to use, and therefore browsing on his phone has not yet been a problem. But other people like him who have impaired vision could be in trouble if they try to utilize the same browsing capabilities with a device that doesn’t allow for such easy zooming.

The other major concept in this chapter was the use of metaphors and analogies. Especially in this time period, when technology is constantly evolving and there are still many people who aren’t familiar with computing devices, using terms and ideas that the user is already familiar with can ease the use and understanding of these concepts. As the author says, “Information is thought to enter and exit the mind through a series of ordered processing stages”. Using ideas that the user already knows and can easily recall in their memory can help them step-by-step to learn and understand these new tools that can be essential to their every day living.

In the Harper reading, the main focus seemed to be the development of ubiquitous computing as we move towards the year 2020. He began by making us as readers consider how developments in technology will affect us. While all this new technology provides us with great tools and innovative capabilities for accomplishing every day tasks, these powers can be used for evil just as easily as for good.

As we move towards the year 2020, there continues to be a growing diversity of interaction types. Harper refers to the idea of paper as becoming practically obsolete. One example of this in my own life is registering for college courses and viewing test grades. My parents went to IU, and they tell me stories of how they remember standing in long lines to register for classes every semester, and having to return to the site of their tests to view their scores. Today, I don’t even have to leave my room to do either of those things. Everything is becoming digital, and this trend will continue to grow in the years to come.

Another point that Harper wrote about that I found interesting was when he referred to mobile phones as “Handsets to the World”. This is so true, as the invention of the iPhone has shown us, there isn’t much on a technological level that our phones can’t get in touch with. We can accomplish almost any internet task in the palm of our hands, and can also communicate with others faster and in more ways than ever. Harper emphasized the importance humans place on communication. With the growing popularity of Twitter and Facebook, it is obvious to see that we demand the ability to stay in touch with others and remain in constant communication with the world. As we move towards 2020, the demands will grow and more information will be demanded at ever-accelerating speeds.

Harper’s reading made me think a great deal about the endless possibilities of technology, and the good and bad it could bring us in the future. It is definitely an idea that needs to be introduced to everyone, and can be considered as a great achievement as long as we take precautions and use it as safely as possible.

Week 1 Blog May 26, 2009

Posted by MidwestFit in Uncategorized.
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Well I thought I posted this last week but apparently I put it on my personal WordPress Blog without even thinking about it. So I know it is late, but I figured it would not hurt to put it up anyways.

“First off, I enjoyed these readings as they shared some similar views with my self when it comes to designs and the design process, specifically interaction design. When I get questions about this class from friends/family or even about Informatics in general they seem to always be very to the point. By that I mean the people asking the questions always seem to think they is exactly one answer. They think that in designing or programming or whatever, that there is just one way to do something and we are learning that ‘one way’ to do it. They think that because you are working with a computer, it just has a way to go about things and the only struggle is finding out that way. What they do not understand is the complexity or ‘openness’ (maybe not the best word but it serves my point) of human and computer interaction. What I liked most about the articles was Kolko’s talk about interaction design. He seems to really stress the fact that interaction design is many, many things and can be done many, many ways. The complexity for which things are designed leads to the broadness in which they can be designed. I think that is what I enjoy most about the subject. I like to really bring in creativity and the complexity or designs and needs by people for those designs allow creativity.
Another good point I thought was made was the idea of simplicity. Kolko also talked about how simple designs are usually successful designs. I think this can be very true, although it may not fit for every situation. For instance, my mother is not much of a computer wiz. She had a PC for a long time and would always mess with the settings, download things that were not necessary, etc. Ultimately what happened was the ability to really change a lot of things on her PC (what I like to consider the responsibility that the PC gives you; some would disagree) allowed her to really mess it up with her inexperience in dealing with computers. What she did like once she got her hands on it was a MacBook. She found it to be much simpler and was not always being asked a lot of questions about options, etc. and ultimately she had a much more pleasant experience with the Mac design. In a way this is what Kolko was talking about I think. The Mac design was simple and in my mothers case much more pleasant to use. She was able to do everything she needed to do on the MacBook that she needed to do on her PC but she just had a much better experience on the MacBook. Working on that computer was not a lot of work and was not very stressful and ultimately a design that causes less stress and anxiety for the user will win out in my opinion. Now does this make Mac’s better than PC’s? Well that is an argument I am simply not going to get into on this blog.

Not only is it about the simplicity but also the “attractiveness” of the design. The MacBook was much more slick looking, a lot like the iPod is compared to past and current MP3 players that our out there. I had a MP3 player before the iPod came out or became popular and loved it, but once the iPod was out there it caught my eye and I just felt like I had to have one (obviously I did not, but hey they made a cool design right?). It played the same songs, had a same memory, etc. but the iPod was just a lot cooler. It was not even like I was choosing an MP3 player like I normally would like based on song capacity, sound quality, etc. I was basically purchasing an accessory because it was just cool to have (I am disappointed in myself). I think this is something else to take from the readings and my personal experience claims it too be true. The sort of ‘fashionable’ sense of the design is very important especially if a company, or person is trying to market it to the general public. It almost has to be fashionable now-a-days in order to be successful and make money”

Kolko and Buxton Readings May 21, 2009

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The Kolko reading dealt more with interaction design, while the Buxton readings were about sketching, the role of design, and the creation of products that are similar to other products on the market.  Kolko explains interaction design as being the center of several worlds including industrial design, engineering, psychology, art, and business strategy, which are all crucial to the design process.  Interaction designers must speak many different languages because of the diversity within organizations and the fact that design is outsourcing because of cost.   One thing that interaction designers ahve to take into account is that there are real people using the products they are designing and creating.  However, engineers designed the software for the functionality of the business, not for the users of the software.  But that creates a proble because many people probably did not actually know how to use the software.

The point of the IPod part of the Buxton reading was that a company wanted to design a product similar to the IPod, but the person who was asked was not sure how to do that, so he asked a friend for help.  The people creating or designing a product need to be on the same page with each other for the product to turn out the way they thought it up.

The role of design section talks about thinking up a new product and sending it to the engineering team to start building it.  In the prototype phase, some models are indistinguishable from the real things.  If the project does get the green light, it takes about a year of engineering before it will even begin the production phase.  The fastest most efficient path is never a straight line because that’s when the product become average.  If the designers only look at one design idea and follow that the whole way, it might not turn out to be the best design because they didn’t pull anything from outside the design idea.  One thing that caught my eye was that Buxton said that if you build what you set out to build, if it’s the wrong product, it’s still a failure.  It might be csidered a failure, but whoever set the constraints for the project, either didn’t understand what they should have been building or something else went wrong in the process.

The final part was about sketches.  Sketches do not need to be super detailed, rather they need to be raw.  They need to get the point across with as little detail as possible, so as to not take too much time, but so that someone else can interpret it the way it is supposed to be interpretted.  Sketches, however, are not just about the phsycial aspects, but about the fundamental aspects as well.

Week2 Reading May 21, 2009

Posted by icpark in Uncategorized.
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Frist part of the Buxton reading deals about the success of the iPod, how it became so successful. People may think that iPod was successful from the beginning, but it actually took three years to be as successful as people see it is today. During those three years, Apple earned their success by learning from other company’s cases from Xerox and Gillette and its revolutionary design. Apple realized that there was not much interaction between industrial design and user interface design, and developed their signature design. iPods are mp3 players, but at the same time it is also a fashion icon. Its white earphones differentiate itself from competitors.

There was also reading about the role, sketch, and process of design. Buxton believes that one of the most significant reasons for the failure of organizations to develop new software products is the absence of anything that a design professional would recognize as an explicit design process. Buxton listed the product development process. In this process, design is the first phase followed by engineering and sales. While companies develop their new product, they often ignore the desisn phase, which causes the failure of development. Buxton argues that the cost of being late to market or having a defective product is much higher than the cost of design and planning. Thus, companies should focus more on the early stages of development before they jump onto making the actual product.

Customizing your blog group May 18, 2009

Posted by Will in Uncategorized.
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Hi all,

I wanted to give each blog group a chance to make their blog their own in the way that they saw fit. Right now, I wanted to show a few themes that we could use for your blog. Please everyone vote by this Friday at 5 by leaving a comment and choose which theme you like the best. If you have any other suggestions you’d like to make, please leave that in a comment as well.

Theme 1: Current Theme

Theme 2:http://i300hcia.wordpress.com/?preview=1&template=pub/andreas04&stylesheet=pub/andreas04&TB_iframe=true

Theme 3:http://i300hcia.wordpress.com/?preview=1&template=pub/black-letterhead&stylesheet=pub/black-letterhead&TB_iframe=true

Theme 4:http://i300hcia.wordpress.com/?preview=1&template=pub/digg3&stylesheet=pub/digg3&TB_iframe=true

Theme 5:http://i300hcia.wordpress.com/?preview=1&template=pub/quentin&stylesheet=pub/quentin&TB_iframe=true

Theme 6:http://i300hcia.wordpress.com/?preview=1&template=pub/unsleepable&stylesheet=pub/unsleepable&TB_iframe=true

Theme 7:http://i300hcia.wordpress.com

Pages 1 – 78 May 15, 2009

Posted by miacohen in Uncategorized.
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The book really helped to reinforce my understanding of all of the topics that were covered in class. Specifically, the user centered design process.  It helped me to understand what had is to be accomplished during each step of the process.  I also liked that listed how to make sure an interface was usable.  The usability goals the book mentioned are effectiveness, efficiency, safety, utility, learnability, and memorability.  For me, these are some very good ways to check and make sure your product or interface is user friendly.

One thing that caught my attention is the study that found “more attractive interfaces were perceived to be easier to use than unattractive ones.” I know that they are referring to computer interfaces or an interface on some form of technology, but I feel that the same thing works for books.  This book to me is very unattractive and boring to look at. Other than the pictures, the book has only five colors, dull green, dark green, black, white, and gold or light brown.  What I’m getting at is if the book were more attractive, it would be easier to use and read.  Another thing I found interesting is using metaphors and analogies in the design phase to help make a product more usable.  The example the book used was dragging a file across a desktop is equivalent to picking up a piece of paper and moving it.  I didn’t realize that when designing an interface, sometimes using things that people do in the real world will help make the interface more useable.