Innovation and User Expectations

6 Nov 2006 - 12:15pm
8 years ago
8 replies
1070 reads
Esteban Barahona
2006

"never fail user expectations" is often repeated in the User Experience
fields. Consistency is important, but what about innovation? New ways of
interaction assumes that some or all of the expectations of the user will
fail. If the new interaction may work better than the old one, why not try
it? If indeed this new interaction is better, it is possible only because
the "never fail user expectations" idea was ignored.

A case in study is the Wii-mote. In the interview Iwata Asks... Vol2 Wii
Remote <http://wii.nintendo.com/iwata_asks_vol2_p1.html> it is clear that
the "user expectations" will not only "fail" but that the new controller
will be completely different than the old two-hands-hoding-one-controller
paradigm. Using extentions like the "nunchuck" the Wii controller is a two
handed one, but each hand holds one object, it is more comfortable. It's
goal is to be the "new standard" by ignoring "user expectations".

In my opinion, user expectations are important. But they can be "failed" if
the new interaction has chances of being better thant the old one. "Being
different for the sake of being different" is not the idea, but exploring
and designing new interactions is more important that "never failing user
expectations".

Comments

6 Nov 2006 - 2:38pm
Josh
2006

Nintendo has succeeded in the past with changing video game user experience
pretty dramatically. Does anyone else remember putting down their Atari
joystick and picking up the NES control pad for the first time?

I see change in UX coming not through "failing user expectations" but
through changing user expectations. In cases where user interactions have
been limited by technology, maybe all it takes is some real "cool"
functionality that couldn't exist previously. It may even play to Nintendo's
advantage to completely change the way users interact with their system.
I'm definitely very curious.

As a consumer, I am very very interested in the upcoming battle between the
Wii and the PS3. The nun chuck vs. a more traditional PS-style controller.
Check out a review:
http://www.engadget.com/2006/05/13/controller-showdown-playstation-3-vs-wii

- Josh Viney

6 Nov 2006 - 2:54pm
Robert Reimann
2003

I guess I would append to this admonishment:

"Never fail user expections, but exceed them whenever possible".

People hate change for change's sake, but embrace it when the
change leads to something dramatically better.

That said, it's a bit unfair to use Wii as a broad example: new ways
of interacting is part of the fun of videogames, and has little
external risk associated with it. There may be more inertia (not to
say danger) in dramatically changing the interactions in, say, a
productivity application or an automobile. I think the context will
always determine the scope and nature of innovation in interaction
that is appropriate to consider.

Robert.

--
Robert Reimann
President, IxDA

Manager, User Experience
Bose Corporation
Framingham, MA

On 11/6/06, Esteban Barahona <esteban.barahona at gmail.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> "never fail user expectations" is often repeated in the User Experience
> fields. Consistency is important, but what about innovation? New ways of
> interaction assumes that some or all of the expectations of the user will
> fail. If the new interaction may work better than the old one, why not try
> it? If indeed this new interaction is better, it is possible only because
> the "never fail user expectations" idea was ignored.
>
> A case in study is the Wii-mote. In the interview Iwata Asks... Vol2 Wii
> Remote <http://wii.nintendo.com/iwata_asks_vol2_p1.html> it is clear that
> the "user expectations" will not only "fail" but that the new controller
> will be completely different than the old two-hands-hoding-one-controller
> paradigm. Using extentions like the "nunchuck" the Wii controller is a two
> handed one, but each hand holds one object, it is more comfortable. It's
> goal is to be the "new standard" by ignoring "user expectations".
>
> In my opinion, user expectations are important. But they can be "failed" if
> the new interaction has chances of being better thant the old one. "Being
> different for the sake of being different" is not the idea, but exploring
> and designing new interactions is more important that "never failing user
> expectations".

6 Nov 2006 - 3:08pm
Josh
2006

That said, it's a bit unfair to use Wii as a broad example: new ways
> of interacting is part of the fun of videogames, and has little
> external risk associated with it. There may be more inertia (not to
> say danger) in dramatically changing the interactions in, say, a
> productivity application or an automobile.

One new experience change/innovation re: automobiles that could have some
significant risk associated with it is Lexus' new parking assist available
in the new LS. I forget the name of the feature, but the commercials have a
rather large LS parking itself between pyramids of crystal champagne flutes.
It has me more than a little concerned. There is potential for significant
change in user expectations re: automobiles, but just as much potential for
increased insurance costs.

- Josh

6 Nov 2006 - 3:48pm
Lorne Trudeau
2006

"exploring and designing new interactions is more important that "never
failing user expectations"."

I don't believe that these two goals are mutually exclusive. I think a
lot of problems with failing user expectations come from not
differentiating your product. If you offer a product that is very
similar to an existing approach, then an unusual behaviour might fail
the user's expectations. However, if the user recognizes the product as
something new, then they may apply different expectations.
I'll give a silly example: I once almost threw up because I ate a
"grape" only to realize that it was an olive. That olive failed my
expectations. However, if I recognized it initially as an olive and not
a grape (that is, if the olive differentiated itself from the grape), it
would not have failed my expectations.
My point is: new interactions do not _necessarily_ fail user
expectations.
Lorne

6 Nov 2006 - 4:12pm
DrWex
2006

I think Robert R has it exactly right. In the world of videogame
consoles, the user expectation is to be surprised, entertained, and
engaged. The method for doing that isn't really the point of the
expectations. Witness DDR.

If Wii wants to put out a new controller then great. It won't be
evaluated on the basis of "is this the same as the controller I
expected to see" but rather - to put it bluntly - "does it suck?"

That's how the users (gamers) think.

--Alan

On 11/6/06, Robert Reimann <rmreimann at gmail.com> wrote:
> That said, it's a bit unfair to use Wii as a broad example: new ways
> of interacting is part of the fun of videogames, and has little
> external risk associated with it. There may be more inertia (not to
> say danger) in dramatically changing the interactions in, say, a
> productivity application or an automobile. I think the context will
> always determine the scope and nature of innovation in interaction
> that is appropriate to consider.

6 Nov 2006 - 5:22pm
Ryan Nichols
2005

I disagree, I don't think it has much to do with world of videogames at
all. This same innovation can be applied anywhere. The key difference is
simply user expectations, but only in regards to what they already know.
If something SEEMS like it should act like old paradigms but doesn't,
then there is a problem. Make a car where the wheel actually controls
the gas... that's a problem. Make a new kind of steering device that
vastly improves upon vehicle control, is natural, fluid, and easy to
learn - then the world will change.

No one is going to pick up the wii controller looking for the atari
style joystick. They get it. And it works.

Ryan Nichols
Creative Director
Apples To Oranges

Alan Wexelblat wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> I think Robert R has it exactly right. In the world of videogame
> consoles, the user expectation is to be surprised, entertained, and
> engaged. The method for doing that isn't really the point of the
> expectations. Witness DDR.
>
> If Wii wants to put out a new controller then great. It won't be
> evaluated on the basis of "is this the same as the controller I
> expected to see" but rather - to put it bluntly - "does it suck?"
>
> That's how the users (gamers) think.
>
> --Alan
>
> On 11/6/06, Robert Reimann <rmreimann at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> That said, it's a bit unfair to use Wii as a broad example: new ways
>> of interacting is part of the fun of videogames, and has little
>> external risk associated with it. There may be more inertia (not to
>> say danger) in dramatically changing the interactions in, say, a
>> productivity application or an automobile. I think the context will
>> always determine the scope and nature of innovation in interaction
>> that is appropriate to consider.
>>
> ________________________________________________________________
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6 Nov 2006 - 5:54pm
Onny Chatterjee
2006

I believe this is gets back to the prioritization of user needs. The primary
need that users have from videogame is interactive entertainment. Somewhere
after that comes: "a way to interact to produce that entertainment." Lower
down the list is: "a joystick." If you have a way to better address a
higher-level need at the expense of a lower-level one, you are less likely
to get pushback. Of course, prioritizing needs isn't easy and finding that
tipping point (where the increased benefit out-weighs the cost of change),
isn't either.

-Onny

On 11/6/06 6:22 PM, "Ryan Nichols" <ryan at apples-to-oranges.com> wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> I disagree, I don't think it has much to do with world of videogames at
> all. This same innovation can be applied anywhere. The key difference is
> simply user expectations, but only in regards to what they already know.

> Ryan Nichols
> Creative Director
> Apples To Oranges
>
> Alan Wexelblat wrote:
>> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>>
>> I think Robert R has it exactly right. In the world of videogame
>> consoles, the user expectation is to be surprised, entertained, and
>> engaged. The method for doing that isn't really the point of the
>> expectations.
>>
>> --Alan

Onny Chatterjee

......................

User Research Specialist
Daedalus Excel
voice 412.687.7000 ext.21
fax 412.687.7500
directions http://www.daed.com/map
feedback mailto:improve at projects.daed.com
......................

This message is for the designated recipient only and may contain
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7 Nov 2006 - 2:25pm
Todd Warfel
2003

This does not just belong to the world of Video Games, I have seen this
happen on projects before.

I have seen BA's ask user's questions such as 'What do you want to see?'
This results in a long list of features that the BA Will put into a Req doc
and eventually find it's way into a fully designed feature within a
Functional Spec. This approach will never lead to innovation. The user will
get what they asked for and not necessarily what they need!

On 06/11/06, Onny Chatterjee <achatterjee at daed.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> I believe this is gets back to the prioritization of user needs. The
> primary
> need that users have from videogame is interactive entertainment.
> Somewhere
> after that comes: "a way to interact to produce that entertainment." Lower
> down the list is: "a joystick." If you have a way to better address a
> higher-level need at the expense of a lower-level one, you are less likely
> to get pushback. Of course, prioritizing needs isn't easy and finding that
> tipping point (where the increased benefit out-weighs the cost of change),
> isn't either.
>
> -Onny
>
>
>
> On 11/6/06 6:22 PM, "Ryan Nichols" <ryan at apples-to-oranges.com> wrote:
>
> > [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
> >
> > I disagree, I don't think it has much to do with world of videogames at
> > all. This same innovation can be applied anywhere. The key difference is
> > simply user expectations, but only in regards to what they already know.
>
> > Ryan Nichols
> > Creative Director
> > Apples To Oranges
> >
> > Alan Wexelblat wrote:
> >> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
> >>
> >> I think Robert R has it exactly right. In the world of videogame
> >> consoles, the user expectation is to be surprised, entertained, and
> >> engaged. The method for doing that isn't really the point of the
> >> expectations.
> >>
> >> --Alan
>
>
> Onny Chatterjee
>
> ......................
>
> User Research Specialist
> Daedalus Excel
> voice 412.687.7000 ext.21
> fax 412.687.7500
> directions http://www.daed.com/map
> feedback mailto:improve at projects.daed.com
> ......................
>
> This message is for the designated recipient only and may contain
> privileged, proprietary, or otherwise private information. If you have
> received it in error, please notify the sender immediately and delete the
> original. Any other use of this message by you is prohibited.
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
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>

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