Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Sunday, October 09, 2005
User Experience X
Emotions play a very important role in terms of UX.
What turns you on? or off?
Image from the Emotion-Research Network of Excelence
User Experience IX
Loved or hated, Jacob Nielsen (JN) is always controversial for his views in the area of usability and the web. Some (web) designers take the view of criticising JN for being stuck in the web’s past, where functionality and efficiency were king.
Assuming that the basics of functional usability are taken care of, JN does not advocate for design-less websites, but for websites that a free from superfluous design elements that can/could be potential distracting and get in the way of the users tasks. With so many free services around, and a good design and a good user experience is a key differentiator of the service.
There are many websites (including this one) that still do not strictly comply with some of the basic usability heuristics (or even accessibility). However, the web has moved on and almost you could get out-of-the box a basic CMS (Content Management Server) that deals with the basics aspects of the design and functionality. As the CMS software is a commodity (quite a lot of CMS, including the weblog service that I use are free), what needs to be different is the user experience. This is probably a sign that at this level, usability is becoming a comodity.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
User Experience VIII
Now, with the so called "Web 2.0" (lets hope that there is no a DotCom Bust 2.0!) new evolutionary apps and concepts of social computing (does anyone remember CSCW?) are appearing almost every day trying to capture the imagination (and the time) of the discerning web users. One of the important "features" or components of the Web 2.0 is RUX or Rich User Experience.
Rich user experience, based on technology providing increased interactivity (Ajax, Ruby,…) and clever remix/combinations of numerous services (maps, photos, calendar, lists,…) that free the developers from building infrastructure and focus on the user and its needs.http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html?page=5
Monday, October 03, 2005
User Experience VII
The tale of three cars:
Toyota Aygo, Citroen C1 and Peugeot 107
When a product becomes a commodity, stuff like this can happen.
These three cars have something in common:
The design and engineering is the same
They are built in the same factory
They are built by the same people
They drive the same
What is different?
Some trim and fabrics
Some external details
And the perceived user experience from the brand and all that comes with it.
More Info at the dealer's website
Saturday, October 01, 2005
User Expericence VI
What are the tools/methods and/or approaches to design for UX? What skillsets are required?
From Bill Buxton's KeyNote speech at Interact'05
Designing for experience comes with a whole new level of complexity. This is especially true in this emerging world of information appliances, reactive environments and ubiquitous computing, where, along with those of their users, we have to factor in the convoluted behaviours of the products themselves. Doing this effectively requires both a different mind-set, as well as different techniques.
This talk is motivated by a concern that, in general, our current training and work practices are not adequate to meet the demands of this level of design. This is true for those coming from a computer science background, since they do not have sufficient grounding in design, at least in the sense that would be recognized by an architect or industrial designer. Conversely, those from the design arts, while they have the design skills, do not generally have the technical skills to adequately address the design issues relating to the complex embedded behaviours of such devices and systems.
Link to the Abstract of this KeyNote Speech
Sunday, September 25, 2005
User Experience V
Note: I am renaming the series to User Experience (UX)
As I am working in a SOA et al. related project, any article/text/book that mixes those buzzwords with usability/user experience/interface design/etc brings my attention.
Over at UsabilityNews.com (UN) there is an article that mentions the terms so that the HCI/Usability community starts to learn about them (probably!!). However, the article has no insights whatsoever of why this is relevant to the community.
It is almost an early stage for the new types of middleware architectures and software development approaches to become relevant for the user experience or usability practitioners. Although there are already some academic articles coming out that explore the combination of MDA and user interface design , there is no much real experience out there.
The Product LifeCycle Diagram is a useful tool that can help to frame at which stage UX becomes an important factor for a product or service. As this other article in UN points out, the motivation for the early adopters (introduction stage) is totally different from the users of a product/service at the decline stage. At the Development-Stage we have (almost) no users and therefore UX is not important. It is only relevant when we are within the late (probably) Growth-Stage onwards when our product or service becomes a "commodity".
Saturday, September 24, 2005
I was the other day attending a meeting/conference type of event. While we sat there and listened patiently to the different speakers, I could not help myself but to look at the screen of someone’s laptop. Why? For two reasons. The first one was because this person had installed the latest version of Google Desktop (GD) and I was curious to find out about the new functions compared to the previous one. The second one was because the tool was slowly displaying thumbnails of images from interesting places, family and so on.
GD was picking up images from the hard disk and slowly making some sort of mini slide show with them. According to the documentation, you can also configure GD to pick up pictures from news sites, blogs and so on.
While this is potentially distracting (how many focus of attention can you hold at the same time?? 3?? 2?? 1??). However that is not the point, the point is that the as we bring life to work and work to life, the boundaries of the work/life balance get more and more blurred.
We bring things from work to home and we bring things from home to work. As machines are cold and functional (File Explorer in Windows or cmd line in Linux anyone?), we probably need to add some emotional aspects to the interfaces to make our work more bearable as we work long hours.
A (European) research network looking at emotional aspects of user interfaces is HUMAINE. You can get introductory presentations (Videos, pdf, etc) of their approach to investigate emotion on interfaces here:
Be emotional means to engage with users in better ways. As the blog for the Head First book series puts it, you don’t want users, you want passionate users!
The blog also mentions that the current way to explore the “life of interfaces” are all about quantities (as in qualitative type research traditionally used in HCI). However there are not many practical ways to capture emotions. And emotions are what creates passionate users.
source of the image: desktop.google.com