Sunday, March 01, 2009

M364 Block 1, Unit 1, Computer Activity 2

The following are three of the currently important ID websites. I suggest that you:
  1. explore Don Norman's site to see what, if anything, he has to say about the latest piece of interactive product you have recently bought or read about
  2. explore the site to see what it says about paper prototyping (paper prototyping is an important part of this course)
  3. read Usability News to see what the latest news is.
You might like to follow some of the links from these sites in order to identify other useful sites. If you find one, I suggest you recommend to to other students via a message to your online course forums.
  1. Don Norman has an article on Waiting: a necessary part of life which interests me because I recently occupied time spent in an NHS waiting room by analysing the strengths and weaknesses of the interaction design of its patient queueing system (in short, great self-registration, poor notification). He argues that "[w]henever two systems must interact, unless every event of one is perfectly synchronized with the events of the other, one system is going to have to wait"; that once you become sensitised to this view you will see buffers everywhere, from the factory to the queue, buffet food, plate, page and even brain; and that these buffers embody major interface problems and solutions.
  2. I searched for "paper prototype" and "paper prototypes" and got the same 16 results. There seemed to be three themes running throught these pages. These were firstly, research indicating that the results of usability testing against "low fidelity" paper prototypes are just as effective as testing against "hi fidelity" software prototypes; secondly, guidance for creating and testing paper prototypes; and thirdly, the use of paper prototypes in specific contexts such as Form Design and (new to me) Parallel Design.
  3. Usability News had a review of an article on the live question of "Does UX still matter in touch economic times?" where the current decline of Starbucks, "a model for the experience economy", is contrasted to the success of McDonalds, and offered as evidence that quality of user experience may become less important than price as the economic chill deepens. But the article then refutes this worrying suggestion by pointing out that providing a good user experience may be the cheapest way of increasing the value of your offering.

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