RE: Usabililty In The Home

31 Mar 2004 - 3:41pm
10 years ago
8 replies
1050 reads
nyckiep at yahoo.com
2004

Wow! Thanks everyone! I was also able to find a lot of references to
past research, especially related to designing for people with
disabilities. (...and I've added Kitchen Stories to my Netflix queue)
:)

I think I may have misrepresented myself a little in my initial post.
What I really want to know is if their are any professionals on this
list or that any of you know, that do this sort of consulting? I would
expect Interaction Designers to work with contractors, builders and
architects to design more useful home environments. I personally would
love to steer my interaction career in this direction. (Enough software
already!) :)

Anyone else involved in this niche? Anyone else interested?

Kind Regards,
Nyckie

Comments

1 Apr 2004 - 12:51am
id at ourbrisba...
2004

Quoting Nyckie Pineau <nyckiep at yahoo.com>:
> I think I may have misrepresented myself a little in my initial post.
> What I really want to know is if their are any professionals on this
> list or that any of you know, that do this sort of consulting? I would
> expect Interaction Designers to work with contractors, builders and
> architects to design more useful home environments. I personally would
> love to steer my interaction career in this direction. (Enough software
> already!) :)

Nyckie,

It's an area that's been around for quite a while now. I don't know of anyone
personally, but you may want to start by searching for ergonomists and human
factors experts in the domestic market.

As has been mentioned, Nokia's human factors teams do plenty of ethnographic
research in the home; Thomson electronics has just started building a team in
Belgium as they saw their competition gaining marketshare; and domestic
ethnography, coupled with human factors design is what saved an ailing company,
and brought it back as one of the market leaders in kitchen appliances, OXO
<http://www.metaphase.com/news/ajc_article.pdf>.

As for domestic environmental layout considerations - try researching ergonomics
and human factors in interior design. Alvin Tilley wrote a well-accepted book
entitled "The Measure of Man & Woman: Human Factors in Design"
<http://www.wileyeurope.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0471099554.html>

Another way to research this would be to explore some of the more poignant
specialisations such as physical (anthropometrics), cognitive, social, and
environmental (including lighting e.g.
<http://shopping.yahoo.com/p_house-garden_books_1957170203_formatinfo>) human
factors.

I hope this helps.

Best regards,

Ash Donaldson
User Experience Designer

1 Apr 2004 - 3:34am
Mitja Kostomaj
2004

Hi all,

I've found short article at Conference on Design and Emotion 2004

from M Maguire "Does usability = attractiveness?"
http://www.designandemotion.org/search_papers.php?p_id=66

Regards
Mitja Kostomaj

1 Apr 2004 - 4:17pm
Christian Simon
2003

> on 4/1/04 12:01,Mitja Kostomaj wrote:
> I've found short article at Conference on Design and Emotion 2004
> from M Maguire "Does usability = attractiveness?"
> http://www.designandemotion.org/search_papers.php?p_id=66
Fantastic subject!

A quote from the article's summary:
> While poor functionality contributes strongly to peoples¹ disliking of
> products, a lack of usability seems a more important factor than style.
More important than style? Never! <haha>

Style is the first characteristic a consumer can evaluate that will lead to
purchase--if the price is right. High ticket items can be evaluated in the
store. BUT Most consumer products purchased in chain stores, and definitely
purchased on-line, do not allow for this evaluation of the interaction.

This begs the question, what characteristics of consumer product's
interaction are decision points for purchase? Does a screen shot or photo of
a new microwave's button interface communicate the interaction or is this
again just for style?

I think interaction decisions right now are based on brand loyalty. Another
way for consumers to evaluate is from peer feedback, but this emphasizes
evaluates mostly BAD examples. (>_<)

Xtian

_________________________________________________________________
Christian Simon | www.christiansimon.com | San Francisco Bay Area

1 Apr 2004 - 5:37pm
gruenberg.louis...
2004

Nyckiie,

Sometimes I think I've had enough careers for any 6 people. To this day, I still consult on kitchen & bathroom design jobs for local area contractors (something I've been doing for, oh, say, the last 20 years or so). Currently in-process on an extensive plan for the remodeling of an older home in Oak Park, IL that involves many structural changes to create a functional and aesthetic kitchen & breakfast room from a former 1st floor bedroom and the original kitchen. (Yes, I get paid for this!) If you want to know more about 3-D design/build, e-mail me off list.

Louise Gruenberg
Answers Research & Communication Services

2 Apr 2004 - 3:16am
Mitja Kostomaj
2004

Hello Christian,

CS> A quote from the article's summary:
>> While poor functionality contributes strongly to peoples¹ disliking of
>> products, a lack of usability seems a more important factor than style.
CS> More important than style? Never! <haha>

The research shows that if users/consumers like product then they are
less prone to point out any problems with it. If the consumers don't
like the product then they are going to mourn about usability problems
or probably anything they don't like about the product.

Best regards
Mitja

2 Apr 2004 - 1:01pm
cfmdesigns
2004

Christian Simon <christiansimon at pacbell.net> writes:

>Style is the first characteristic a consumer can evaluate that will lead to
>purchase--if the price is right. High ticket items can be evaluated in the
>store. BUT Most consumer products purchased in chain stores, and definitely
>purchased on-line, do not allow for this evaluation of the interaction.

Amen. I'm starting to look at getting a new car, preferably a
"semi-convertible small SUV" -- which means either a Jeep Wrangler or
a Land Rover Feelander SE3, since those are the only two items in the
class now that the Tracker, Vitara, and Rav4 are all closed-box
vehicles only. I'm attracted by the style and the perceived features
most of all. (I want a "butch fun car". <grin>)

But how do I check them out? How do I really get a feel for the
vehicle? I can test drive it for perhaps 30 minutes or so, that's
how (that's all). How will it really feel on a road trip of a few
hours? How does the speaker system sound at 70 mph with the hardtop
off, listening to both talk radio, showtunes, and ABBA? Will the
height make my bad knees ache after getting in and out a lot? (That
happened with a Dodge Dakota I drove for a week over the holidays.
The pickup truck was $100 less to rent than any compact car I could
get in the LA area!)

Ideally, I would be able to rent the vehicle for a week -- either
from the dealer or from a car rental company. But nobody rents these
things. (Avis told me there's no demand for them. Duh: when you
don't carry them, when you don't even have a car class they would fit
into, no one asks for them, and when they do, you say there's no
demand.) I feel real reluctance to spend $25K on something with so
little time spent with it up front.

(Of course, as I think about it, I didn't get to live in my house for
a week before I bought it, either.)
--

Jim Drew
Seattle, WA

2 Apr 2004 - 2:32pm
Christian Simon
2003

> on 4/2/04 12:00, wrote:

> The research shows that if users/consumers like product then they are
> less prone to point out any problems with it. If the consumers don't
> like the product then they are going to mourn about usability problems
> or probably anything they don't like about the product.

I read that. As a finding, that does not surprise me. It is something that
usability experts would find meaningful, but not developers. It's another
example of designers not understanding consumers ideas of good interaction.

_________________________________________________________________
Christian Simon | www.christiansimon.com | San Francisco Bay Area

6 Apr 2004 - 7:25pm
id at ourbrisba...
2004

Quoting Mitja Kostomaj <mitja at kostomaj.net>:
> I've found short article at Conference on Design and Emotion 2004
>
> from M Maguire "Does usability = attractiveness?"
> http://www.designandemotion.org/search_papers.php?p_id=66

For a deeper look at this, try Don Norman's book on "Emotion & Design". The
work of Norman, Ortony and Revelle for the past ten years has uncovered some
interesting insights into how we perceive things. Here's an article that covers
this in simple terms:
http://www.jnd.org/dn.mss/Emotion-and-design.html

If you are interested in the broader area of Affect in Design, check out
Rosalind Picard's research over at MIT.
http://web.media.mit.edu/~picard/

Best regards,

Ash Donaldson
User Experience Designer

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