Framing IxD Metrics

15 Nov 2006 - 1:41pm
7 years ago
1 reply
376 reads
Mark Schraad
2006

>To me these are all "efficiency" measures. And hence, my explorations
>of what other measures could be relevant as well. thanks~

When talking to business people I like to use a simple vertical scale with a centered horizontal line as a visual reference. I usually call that line, for lack of a better term, "sea level".

Below sea level we are primarily concerned with usability issues. Basically - how do we avoid getting in the user's way? How do we not send them down a path of failure? And, how do we discover and correct mistakes and problems? This has long been the space of cognitive study, HCI and HF. Residing soley in this space the designer is in essence playing to "not lose" (please pardon the sports metaphor). Most of this is in some way measurable. It is comfortable. And, it is a very scientific like endeavor.

Above this space is a somewhat uncharted area. This is what is really exciting. It is the space where we take chances, risk being completely wrong and our entire effort is focused on enhancing the experience. We are "playing to win". This, is not so quantifiable.

The reason that we have developed a methodologies and tools for inline, in process, low fidelity interaction research is to allow our designers to take more risks. This is where the fun, the innovation, and largest benefits reside. Granted it is very risky and we often fail... but we don't risk complex or extraordinarily refined prototypes here. We play.

Mark

Comments

15 Nov 2006 - 3:13pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Hi Mark,

Generally, I like where you are going with this "sea-level" thing.
I would just caution the "scientific" approach to usability.
Practitioners like Jared Spool often get quotes as saying (I think
recently in fact in his post about World Usability Day on his blog) that
usability is a "craft" and not a "science". But putting that aside for a
minute, I would rather point to the work of Don Norman in his book
"Emotional Design" where he postulates and I think supports well the
notion that perception of usability can be relative to the level of
emotional pleasure associated with the experience surrounding the total
use of a product/solution/service.

Basically, I'm not so sure this is all really quantifiable.

To Luke's point, there may be widgets or patterns that address HCI
theoretical concerns that can be used as a starting point, or base from
which practitioner designers could move forward with their designs.

Are there other criteria beyond these efficiencies that we can look at
(to get back to Luke's original question)?

I don't know what the exact criteria are, but like "efficiency" you have:
appeal - emotional affect: how does the user feel using the solution?
level of engagement: Does the user feel compelled to use it?
suitability: does the solution fit into all the prioritized axis of the
context.

(I'm sure there are more)

-- dave

Mark Schraad wrote:
>> To me these are all "efficiency" measures. And hence, my explorations
>> of what other measures could be relevant as well. thanks~
>>
>
> When talking to business people I like to use a simple vertical scale with a centered horizontal line as a visual reference. I usually call that line, for lack of a better term, "sea level".
>
> Below sea level we are primarily concerned with usability issues. Basically - how do we avoid getting in the user's way? How do we not send them down a path of failure? And, how do we discover and correct mistakes and problems? This has long been the space of cognitive study, HCI and HF. Residing soley in this space the designer is in essence playing to "not lose" (please pardon the sports metaphor). Most of this is in some way measurable. It is comfortable. And, it is a very scientific like endeavor.
>
> Above this space is a somewhat uncharted area. This is what is really exciting. It is the space where we take chances, risk being completely wrong and our entire effort is focused on enhancing the experience. We are "playing to win". This, is not so quantifiable.
>
> The reason that we have developed a methodologies and tools for inline, in process, low fidelity interaction research is to allow our designers to take more risks. This is where the fun, the innovation, and largest benefits reside. Granted it is very risky and we often fail... but we don't risk complex or extraordinarily refined prototypes here. We play.
>
> Mark
>
>

--

David Malouf
Vice President
dave(at)ixda(dot)org
http://ixda.org/
http://synapticburn.com/

AIM: bolinhanyc // Y!: dave_ux //
MSN: hippiefunk(at)hotmail.com // Gtalk: dave.ixd(at)gmail.com

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