[Possible Spam] RE: Re: "Intuitive" designs can be cumbersome

16 Aug 2004 - 2:12pm
452 reads
Svoboda, Eric
2004

Not to sidetrack this interesting conversation, but are any of you
familiar with the system described at www.muse.com? The description is
pretty vague I think, but they seem to be describing an adaptive
(andragogical I'd call it. Does this term apply?) UI for a collaborative
music app of some kind. I guess they've shown it off in some San
Francisco clubs. Just wondering if anyone's seen it in action.

-----Original Message-----
From:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesign
ers.com] On Behalf Of Reimann, Robert
Sent: Monday, August 16, 2004 11:33 AM
To: discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Subject: [Possible Spam] RE: [ID Discuss] Re: "Intuitive" designs can be
cumbersome

Hi Sandeep, et al,

To agree (I think) with James, I think the part of the problem is in
conceiving of the "beginner UI" and "intermediate UI" as distinct
interfaces rather than as a single interface with a range of
discoverable options.

I think we all agree that most people who use a product on a regular
basis soon reach a degree of intermediate skill with the product.
But to get there, they need to pass through that beginner phase
successfully.
Thus, most products that endeavor to support frequent use should be
designed to get beginners to the intermediate level as quickly as
possible, while optimizing for the capabilities and needs of
intermediates.

This implies that the most used functions need to conform closely to
user mental models (or appropriate conventions, but I believe that
designs that really match the mental model can bend conventions). These
functions also may need to have a discoverable method of use that
optimizes for efficiency in context-- but without getting mired in
expert functionality (e.g., dozens of configurable parameters or command
lines).
If you must address expert needs, those functions should be made
available with additional (commensurate) effort, so that they do not
intrude on the experience of beginners and intermediates.

By making tasks that intermediates need to do as simple and
straightforward as possible, you may find that they are already easy
enough for beginners to master (though this may not apply to completely
neophyte computer users).
This was the case for a medical information system I helped design:
the client had initially estimated 2 weeks of user training would be
necessary, but when it was piloted in the field, they found that only a
single week or less was required, due to its "intuitive" design. The
project is described in this AIGA-ED case study:

http://www.aiga.org/resources/content/7/6/2/documents/FORUM_calde_case_0
3210
2.pdf

The way this was accomplished was not via any single particular
interaction paradigm, but rather through designing interfaces that truly
matched the needs and expectations of the users, and which provided
critical information with a minimum of effort.

Robert.

---

Robert Reimann
Manager, User Interface Design
Bose Design Center

Bose Corporation
The Mountain
Framingham, MA 01701

-----Original Message-----
From:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesign
ers.
com] On Behalf Of James A. Landay
Sent: Friday, August 13, 2004 6:55 PM
To: discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Subject: [ID Discuss] Re: "Intuitive" designs can be cumbersome

This is a great comment and it is funny that I just wrote about
something very similar on my (new) blog this morning (see
http://dubfuture.blogspot.com/). I was complaining about how Microsoft
chose not to put a pen-centric UI on the TabletPC and instead chose a
very incremental change over the standard desktop GUI. The main problem
was because of learning and the necessary transitioning between the two
UIs.

The best example of I know of seamlessly moving from a novice interface
to an expert interface is with Kurtenbach & Buxton's Marking Menus (see
the above blog for links). In Marking Menus, the novice sees a normal
pop-up pie menu (like a standard GUI, though circular menus are
standard). If one moves through the menu interaction (right button down,
move in direction of selection, release) fast, the menu never even
displays. So, as the user gets more advanced and faster with this
interaction, their normal practice moves them to the expert UI
seamlessly.

---
James A. Landay
Associate Professor
Department of Computer Science & Engineering University of Washington
642 Allen Center, Box 352350
Seattle, WA 98195-2350
landay at cs.washington.edu
http://cs.washington.edu/homes/landay

> -----Original Message-----
> Date: Thu, 12 Aug 2004 12:00:39 -0700 (PDT)
> From: Sandeep Jain <sandeepblues at yahoo.com>
> Subject: [ID Discuss] "Intuitive" designs can be cumbersome [cut
>excess] Moral of story:
>
> Going back to a topic many months ago, how does one balance simplicity

> for the simpleton and mediocrity for the majority of user? I am
> constantly hounded by this dilemma, in my designs. How can IxD
> transition a beginner UI to a intermediate UI? Doesn't the beginner
> UI train the user in bad habits, that will prevent the user from
> increasing skills?
>
> Please give examples of UIs that have succeeded in solving this
> problem. Thanks.
>
> The second question: how to convince management to allow a
> functionality to be designed in 2 modes:
> "beginner" and "intermediate", when the "simple", "intuitive",
> "beginner" but "mediocre" UI is so darn "appealing", "conventional",
> and "safe".
>
> Sandeep

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