the appearance of change

29 Dec 2007 - 7:19pm
6 years ago
21 replies
595 reads
mtumi
2004

Hi -

I thought this was an interesting (and infuriating) article that
deserved to be seen more widely, and it also bizarrely reminded me of
several software decisions that I have seen in the past - changes
that appear to address a concern, implemented because it is easier
(and ironically more believable) to fake a solution than it is to
explain the technical reality to people who aren't computer engineers.

http://jetlagged.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/28/the-airport-security-
follies/index.html

If anyone has seen and dealt with a similar situation without
building a fake solution I'd be interested to hear about it.

MT

Comments

29 Dec 2007 - 8:47pm
.pauric
2006

Confessions of a deceitful designer..

I work in the networking equipment domain. A couple of years back I
was working on a building to building wireless bridge. A key aspect
of the design was that the appliance is usually mounted on a roof or
such inaccessible location with a single cable into the box which
carries both management and normal traffic. This presents the issue
in that unlike the kit found in a wiring closet, its not a simple
matter of sending a technician to the box to reconfigure it, its
always remotely configured. If the IP address & VLAN had to be
changed, the admin would loose connectivity as both those elements
are interdependent, change one and the networking configuration is
broken because the other didnt match. And a box on your roof that you
cant manage is a big PITA.

So, we implemented a temporary config state and a [Save
Configuration] button, make all your changes then push the config in
one go. Other products in the line such as indoor APs and wireless
switches do not need this concept as they usually have a dedicated
management connection, not possible with the b2b box. Later,
usability testing on wiring closet devices showed some users looking
for the Save function that was on the B2B box, resulting in a concern
that the config was not being applied.

So, now I have a fake button on wiring closet boxes that does
nothing. Changes in the UI are applied instantaneously in most cases
and admins can choose to click a Save Config button, or not.
Usability Theater.

I hope this doesnt mean I come back as a user in the next life for my
sins.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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29 Dec 2007 - 9:21pm
Katie Albers
2005

Well, don't feel *too* bad. After all the "pacifier button" is a
time-honored convention in certain uses. I don't think there's a
single elevator in which pushing the "Door Close" button does
anything at all...but they make people *think* they're in control.

If you want the ultimate commentary on interfaces which deliberately
provide a user with false or misleading feedback, check out Tog's
column on "The Pump" http://www.asktog.com/columns/030ThePump.html

Now, whoever developed *that* interaction should find themselves in
need of it. But if you think about it, a button that basically
functions to assure the user that the changes have been saved is
doing its job whether or not it functions within the "save changes"
process itself or not.

Katie

At 5:47 PM -0800 12/29/07, pauric wrote:
>Confessions of a deceitful designer..
>

<snip>

>So, we implemented a temporary config state and a [Save
>Configuration] button, make all your changes then push the config in
>one go. Other products in the line such as indoor APs and wireless
>switches do not need this concept as they usually have a dedicated
>management connection, not possible with the b2b box. Later,
>usability testing on wiring closet devices showed some users looking
>for the Save function that was on the B2B box, resulting in a concern
>that the config was not being applied.
>
>So, now I have a fake button on wiring closet boxes that does
>nothing. Changes in the UI are applied instantaneously in most cases
>and admins can choose to click a Save Config button, or not.
>Usability Theater.
>
>I hope this doesnt mean I come back as a user in the next life for my
>sins.
>

--

----------------
Katie Albers
katie at firstthought.com

31 Dec 2007 - 11:33am
Patricia Garcia
2007

Aren't solutions such as the airport security measures just another
way of designing for the user experience? Rather than tell the
consumer that the chances of 9-11 occuring again are slim, isn't it
easier to just put on a show and make people feel safe again?

Or perhaps TSA and their measures really are insulting our
intelligence. These are just thoughts that came to mind.

I have flown plenty since 9-11 and for every complaint I hear in the
security line, I will also hear a praise that they would gladly wait
in line for the security it provides. And so we are back to human
nature. People feel safe because by increasing all the security
validates their fears that something could very well happen and they
are now doing something to protect me. Maybe people prefer that over
"Oh, there's nothing to worry about, it's safe to fly again."

Kind of like the monster in the closet. We felt safer when our
parents actually took some action to kill it rather than tell us it
didn't exist. That was the experience we preferred.

Just my random thoughts for the day.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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1 Jan 2008 - 9:36am
Eva Kaniasty
2007

Yes, what we really need from our airlines (and governments) is to be
treated like small children afraid of monsters in the closet. Bring out the
smoke and mirrors, because we can't handle the truth.

We all appreciate security measures. It would be nice if they were
effective/thought out security measures. And yes, I lose 10 minutes of my
life to annoyance every time they make me take my shoes off in the Boston
airport. They're clearly not designing their user experience for me. The
reason this, er, flies, is only because flying is a necessity. If we want
to get to certain places, we have no choice but to get on that plane, no
matter how poor the experience is.

</end rant>

-eva

On Mon, 31 Dec 2007 08:33:14, Patricia Garcia <pgarcia413 at earthlink.net>
wrote:

> Aren't solutions such as the airport security measures just another
> way of designing for the user experience? Rather than tell the
> consumer that the chances of 9-11 occuring again are slim, isn't it
> easier to just put on a show and make people feel safe again?
>
> ...
>

1 Jan 2008 - 11:23am
Jeff Seager
2007

An interesting article, Michael. I think there's a great study yet
to be made of the mob mentality that allows people to accept being
herded like cattle and humiliated in U.S. airports these days. So
I'll call Eva's rant, and raise her one.

Security initiatives and terrorism are both essentially about
creating the illusion that we are perpetually at risk. A security
firm will not put itself out of business by making everyone feel
delightfully safe and secure; they will instead create the illusion
that they are somehow in control of that risk.

How people *feel* is almost more the issue than the realities of how
safe we may be. Any rational person will admit that risk is an
inherent part of life, so the only trick is to extend that idea into
the ridiculous notion that we are all in real danger most of the
time.

More and bigger security guards are just another brand of terrorism,
which is well understood by those who pull the strings of the suicide
bombers. Terrorists and other sociopaths get more bang for the buck
by getting other people to do a large part of the work for them.

It's a brilliant (and sick) interaction design based on proven
principles of human psychology. I agree it would be good for more
people to see it for what it is.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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1 Jan 2008 - 12:18pm
.pauric
2006

Patricia: "isn't it easier to just put on a show and make people
feel safe again?"

Call me a conspiracy theorist...

First, the point of terrorism is to terrorise. Civilians fought
through the battle of Britain by trying in any way to lead their
lives as normal. The British government dealt with the IRA on the
mainland through very non-invasive security measures.

Allow yourself to be terrorised and you succumb.

Throughout the ~30 years of troubles in Northern Ireland people's
freedom in both countries remained fairly intact although thousands
died. 52 people lost their lives on 7/7 but the government used that
to pass sweeping laws that allow gross infringements of personal
freedom. I may be wrong but I believe one of those new laws is that
the police can randomly stop you and take your DNA without formal
charges. Many other crazy stuff.. anyway...

The security theater is, in my mind anyway, designed to remind people
of 9/11. To continue the feeling of insecurity and to allow the
security forces to infringe on our personal privacy.

This is a little off topic but it is worth noting that the experience
has been designed and the goals, if I'm not being too paranoid, are
being met. They're just not -our- goals.

With the argument that all this security has ensured our safety since
9/11 & 7/7 its very hard to see how to break out of the vicious circle
of self inflicted bad experience.

Not too dissimilar to our love, as consumers, for more/bigger/better
resulting in feature-creep driven products, resulting in our
dissatisfaction with the experience they offer.

It would seem reasonable to conclude that only enlightened users can
bring about better design. Be that voting for leaders that advocate
for us, not special interests, or buying products that meet our
needs and not our desires.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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1 Jan 2008 - 6:38pm
jan cohen
2007

It's an interesting albeit perhaps OT argument, this one about imposing security for the sake of making people feel secure. One could argue that the measures put in place to ensure security, as well as the perceived levels (feelings) of security that accompany them, are both similar and different in any number of ways from culture to culture, or environment to environment, depending on context. For instance, I can only imagine what the average Israeli, Palestinian, or Iraqi citizen thinks while going about their daily business on the way to their version of the local supermarket, especially during escalated periods of conflict. Maybe they feel terrorized and have succumbed, as Pauric put it, or maybe they don't. Me, I'm safe and sound in my current environment and wouldn't give going shopping a second
thought.

Of course, if a suicide bomber were to blow up a local mall and kill a large number of people in doing so, my thinking might change somewhat. And the casual mall shooter would probably have a similar effect, maybe in ways similar to those who experience or are close to terror in an almost daily fashion, in far away lands.

No, it doesn't take much thinking on one's part to give rise to the notion that "terror" may indeed be coming closer to home. The question is: how much do we dwell on that notion?

Given how the "world has changed" since 9/11, the security measures at the airport don't create that level of frustration in me that others may experience. They're something I've come to take for granted, and they do make me feel somewhat safer. Let's call it the nature of the beast. And let's say we did do away with some of the peskier security measures (like taking your shoes off), got comfortable with the idea, maybe to the point of even being complacent,
and something tragic eventually happened again because somebody sneaked something aboard an airplane in their shoe. Once can imagine who would bear the brunt of our wrath. And of course, we'd probably be right back where we started again, taking off our shoes while going through security checkpoints, maybe sans a few hundred human lives.

Or maybe nothing happens, and we get to live the rest of our lives in peace. Then, there's nothing like human nature, eh? Better safe than sorry.

Context. Is the world any more of an unsafe place for me to live in because I'm told it's unsafe? No. Would it be unsafe if bombs started blowing up around me? Yes, or at least probably. Is it just as easy for me or more difficult to do certain things as it was, oh, let's say 20 years ago? That depends.

Now it's back to eBay to check on something I'm hoping to win, and pay for it via a secure means. Site certificates be blasted, if it weren't for those darned hackers and identity thieves...

jan c.

----- Original Message ----
From: pauric <radiorental at gmail.com>
To: discuss at ixda.org
Sent: Tuesday, January 1, 2008 12:18:44 PM
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] the appearance of change

Patricia: "isn't it easier to just put on a show and make people
feel safe again?"

Call me a conspiracy theorist...

First, the point of terrorism is to terrorise. Civilians fought
through the battle of Britain by trying in any way to lead their
lives as
normal. The British government dealt with the IRA on the
mainland through very non-invasive security measures.

Allow yourself to be terrorised and you succumb.

Throughout the ~30 years of troubles in Northern Ireland people's
freedom in both countries remained fairly intact although thousands
died. 52 people lost their lives on 7/7 but the government used that
to pass sweeping laws that allow gross infringements of personal
freedom. I may be wrong but I believe one of those new laws is that
the police can randomly stop you and take your DNA without formal
charges. Many other crazy stuff.. anyway...

The security theater is, in my mind anyway, designed to remind people
of 9/11. To continue the feeling of insecurity and to allow the
security forces to infringe on our personal privacy.

This is a little off topic but it is worth noting that the experience
has been
designed and the goals, if I'm not being too paranoid, are
being met. They're just not -our- goals.

With the argument that all this security has ensured our safety since
9/11 & 7/7 its very hard to see how to break out of the vicious circle
of self inflicted bad experience.

Not too dissimilar to our love, as consumers, for more/bigger/better
resulting in feature-creep driven products, resulting in our
dissatisfaction with the experience they offer.

It would seem reasonable to conclude that only enlightened users can
bring about better design. Be that voting for leaders that advocate
for us, not special interests, or buying products that meet our
needs and not our desires.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24028

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1 Jan 2008 - 7:48pm
mtumi
2004

Although I'll certainly admit it is somewhat OT, I was thinking of it
more generally as designing something that appears to be a solution
rather than something that actually is. Or at least that's how I
rationalized posting it. :-)

A good general example of this in software design would be progress
bars. Some are in fact accurate but many are fudged to some degree
or other, and in that case they are just a design element that has
been produced to elicit the desired response (patience) from the user.

MT

On Jan 1, 2008, at 6:38 PM, Jan Cohen wrote:

> It's an interesting albeit perhaps OT argument, this one about
> imposing security for the sake of making people feel secure.

1 Jan 2008 - 9:29pm
Charlie Kreitzberg
2008

First of all, I'd like to introduce myself as this is my first post
here. I've been designing interactions for 35 years and I'm
delighted that we are starting to identify as a profession.

Michael, I know what you are saying about these elements being
apparent (rather than real) solutions. It's true.

But for me, an interesting question is "why is it this way?" I
agree that progress bars are often very inaccurate but I don't think
that was a design goal. And neither did the TSA when designing
security processes start with "how can we waste money and fool the
public." Conspiracy theories aside, what we are seeing is yet
another example of the inability of most organizations to produce
top-notch products and services.

There are lots of places where an organization can slip up. Sometimes
there are powerful fools like the person who looked at the sky on a
screen for a football site I designed and told me "I don't like
blue."

Sometimes it's a stakeholder with an agenda that runs counter to
good decision-making: "great idea, Charlie but we don't have time
to get it right."

Or the programmer who told me, "I don't want a graphic artist.
I'll do the screens myself" (and they look it).

The core of the problem is that excellent design is built on a clear,
comprehensive and consistent vision of the resulting product. In any
organization, there are many stakeholders with different degrees of
insight, a lot of personal agendas and flawed communications and
interpersonal skills. It is almost impossible to maintain the
conceptual integrity of a design from conception through
implementation.

Sometimes the organizational problems are intractable. Other times
they can be managed. Rarely do you achieve the results you originally
envisioned.

Lest I appear downbeat, let me also say that there is a lot of
creativity and good ideas within organizations. The problem is how to
best integrate all the good ideas and still keep the design on track.

About ten years ago I came to the realization that if I were to be a
highly effective designer, I had to understand and manage the
organizational issues that could affect the design and its ultimate
implementation.

I found a lot of interesting literature in the fields of
organizational change and product innovation. And some good stuff on
managing teams.

Sadly, I think that the nature of organizations is to grind the
polish off designs. As designers we need to understand this tendency
and manage well to minimize its impact. That's why I believe that
designers need a good understanding of how to manage the
organization's perception's and how to influence decision-making.

Even with the best management, it's really hard to turn out a top
drawer product on the first release. For that reason, it's essential
to evaluate the product's performance in the field, identify the
problems and correct them. And managing that is a whole
organizational can of worms by itself.

Charlie

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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2 Jan 2008 - 2:14am
Oleh Kovalchuke
2006

Perception matters. Tog (I think) mentions how he would save a screen
capture of the last screen at shut down and would display that screen at
boot up to simulate perception of quicker start up. The animated icon of
hour glass serves the same purpose. It is benign use of quirks of human
psychology.

The consequences of the measures described in the article are not so
harmless. I think the consequences are essentially the same as those in the
classic Stanford prison experiment [1]. The outcome of the "visible
security" creates and conditions dependent, top-down culture in the society.
The culture is comfortable to the elite, unpleasant to the conforming
populace. I have seen it back in the USSR - it is not an exhilarating
society to live in (it is not a particularly safe environment either).

Oleh

PS Another curious example of perception bias is inclusion of green and
blue colors into the the nationwide anxiety scale. The colors have never
been used [2]. Isn't it essentially the "War is Peace" message?

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeland_Security_Advisory_System

On Dec 29, 2007 5:19 PM, Michael Tuminello <mt at motiontek.com> wrote:

> Hi -
>
> I thought this was an interesting (and infuriating) article that
> deserved to be seen more widely, and it also bizarrely reminded me of
> several software decisions that I have seen in the past - changes
> that appear to address a concern, implemented because it is easier
> (and ironically more believable) to fake a solution than it is to
> explain the technical reality to people who aren't computer engineers.
>
> http://jetlagged.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/28/the-airport-security-
> follies/index.html
>
> If anyone has seen and dealt with a similar situation without
> building a fake solution I'd be interested to hear about it.
>
> MT
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
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>

--
Oleh Kovalchuke
Interaction Design is the Design of Time
http://www.tangospring.com/IxDtopicWhatIsInteractionDesign.htm

1 Jan 2008 - 10:53pm
jan cohen
2007

Now I get it (either light bulbs just went off, or I'm seeing flashbacks of last nights fireworks).

It's funny, your mention of the progress bar example. I'm actually critiquing a set of wireframes for a loan application site at this very moment, one of which includes a processing bar with the proverbial "we are currently processing your application, which can take from one to three minutes."

Besides other comments, I recommended adding a percent sign (%) to the bar... ;^)

jan c.

----- Original Message ----
From: Michael Tuminello <mt at motiontek.com>
To: Jan Cohen <najnehoc at yahoo.com>
Cc: discuss at ixda.org
Sent: Tuesday, January 1, 2008 7:48:06 PM
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] the appearance of change

Although I'll certainly admit it is somewhat OT, I was thinking of it more generally as designing something that appears to be a solution rather than something that actually is. Or at least that's how I rationalized posting it. :-)

A good general example of this in software design would be progress bars. Some are in fact accurate but many are fudged to some degree or other, and in that case they are just a design element that has been produced to elicit the desired response (patience) from the user.

MT

On Jan 1, 2008, at 6:38 PM, Jan Cohen wrote:

It's an interesting albeit perhaps OT argument, this one about imposing security for the sake of making people feel secure.

2 Jan 2008 - 8:59am
Tracy Boyington
2007

As long as its animated, even a "fudged" progress bar tells me that my
computer has not locked up. That's really all I ask for.

~~~~~
Tracy Boyington tracy_boyington at okcareertech.org
Oklahoma Department of Career & Technology Education
Stillwater, OK http://www.okcareertech.org/cimc

>>> Michael Tuminello <mt at motiontek.com> 1/1/2008 6:48 PM >>>
A good general example of this in software design would be progress
bars. Some are in fact accurate but many are fudged to some degree
or other, and in that case they are just a design element that has
been produced to elicit the desired response (patience) from the user.

2 Jan 2008 - 9:03am
Patricia Garcia
2007

Yes, that is what I was getting at with my post, the idea of
perception. I didn't mean for it to go into the direction of
agreeing with the airport security solution. Probably not the best
example as it does create emotional responses, disguising the point.
(Although I do wholeheartedly hear everyone's concerns and am not in
any way trying to dismess them - just trying to stay OT.)

I'll go with progress bar, progress bar is safe. :)

My point was that although people know the truth, there are some (or
lots) that would rather be coddled in some way. Not to say people
want to be babies or treated like children, but sometimes people are
just tired (and understandably so) and don't want to have to think
every waking hour. Little things like the progress bar, it may not
always be accurate but some people like that movement if at least to
show they are not frozen.

I'm not saying these are the best solutions, personally I say don't
be so lazy and design it right the first time. But a fake progress
bar may be better than no progress bar in many situations to
alleviate frustration.

Obviously we are not representative of the target users for many of
these solutions, but we are not only designing for us.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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2 Jan 2008 - 10:13am
mtumi
2004

BTW, the progress bar just popped into my head as an applicable
example. I don't want to be known as the guy who thinks progress
bars are bad. I don't.

MT

On Jan 2, 2008, at 8:59 AM, Tracy Boyington wrote:

> As long as its animated, even a "fudged" progress bar tells me that my
> computer has not locked up. That's really all I ask for.
>
> ~~~~~
> Tracy Boyington tracy_boyington at okcareertech.org
> Oklahoma Department of Career & Technology Education
> Stillwater, OK http://www.okcareertech.org/cimc
>
>
>>>> Michael Tuminello <mt at motiontek.com> 1/1/2008 6:48 PM >>>
> A good general example of this in software design would be progress
> bars. Some are in fact accurate but many are fudged to some degree
> or other, and in that case they are just a design element that has
> been produced to elicit the desired response (patience) from the user.
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

2 Jan 2008 - 11:18am
White, Jeff
2007

Evil guy who thinks progress bars are bad!!!! Evil!

Just kidding. Yes, I agree they are good even if they are "fudged".
Communicating system status is a pretty basic design principle, and
it's highly valuable.

As for the OT conversation, perhaps I misunderstood a bit of it. But
the shoe example makes no sense to me. They aren't doing that to
create the perception that *something* is being done. They did it
because people have attempted to smuggle bombs in through their shoes.
Ok, so take 'em off and put them through the scanner thing. Fine with
me. It's not like they said "Oh, someone hijacked a plane? Ok, we'll
make people take their shoes off to create the perception that
something is being done, even though shoes have nothing to do with any
real threat. That should be good enough!" The shoe bomb is a real
threat, it's not an illusion.

Again, maybe I missed the point or just misunderstood the example.
Good discussion though.

Jeff

On Jan 2, 2008 10:13 AM, Michael Tuminello <mt at motiontek.com> wrote:
> BTW, the progress bar just popped into my head as an applicable
> example. I don't want to be known as the guy who thinks progress
> bars are bad. I don't.
>
> MT

2 Jan 2008 - 12:40pm
Julie Palmer
2007

I love them too, but let's think for a moment about why they even exist.

As Tracy says, they just tell us whether our computers are locked up. If
it weren't for the poor user experience that we've been subjected to
with bad operating systems, clunky applications or web pages that have
unacceptable load times, would we need them? If the products have
achieved acceptable levels of functionality/usability, the progress bars
of which we are so fond might not be necessary. I personally find that
I'm less reliant on them when I'm using a Mac. :-)

<apologies for straying so far from the original topic!>

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2 Jan 2008 - 7:12pm
cfmdesigns
2004

Except that it may tell you no such thing. All it tells you is that the process filling the meter hasn't locked; there may be zero connection to reality behind the scenes.

The project I work on has two faked progress meters. One occurs in a login scenario and appears to be a marker of how much is done, but once it fills all the way, it empties and starts to refill. (Which tells the user: "Ha! Psyche! This could take forever, and you'll never know if we're actually doing anything!") Another one downloads as update and counts by %... or rather, shows % but counts time, so once if it gets to 100% (because of a server connection issue), it just continues to spin.

(And then there was the one meter I saw a few years back that would count up to like 120%. Either it was also actually counting time spent, and reflected a bad estimate on someone's part, or they later added more stuff for it to do and didn't recalibrate. Really freaky.)

-- Jim

-----Original Message-----
>From: Tracy Boyington <tracy_boyington at okcareertech.org>
>
>As long as its animated, even a "fudged" progress bar tells me that my
>computer has not locked up. That's really all I ask for.
>
>>>> Michael Tuminello <mt at motiontek.com> 1/1/2008 6:48 PM >>>
>A good general example of this in software design would be progress
>bars. Some are in fact accurate but many are fudged to some degree
>or other, and in that case they are just a design element that has
>been produced to elicit the desired response (patience) from the user.

2 Jan 2008 - 8:08pm
.pauric
2006

Jim:"The project I work on has two faked progress meters. One occurs
in a login scenario and appears to be a marker of how much is done,
but once it fills all the way, it empties and starts to refill."

Without seeing the design, I might conclude that wrong pattern has
been applied here??

Progress bars shouldnt really refill unless its a staged install or
something similar like the xp bootup screens.

If the underlying functionality is not able to provide the
presentation layer with a finite completion estimate then I provide
an 'hourglass'. Really good example of this is the browser page
loading animation.

In my mind progress meters/bars and hourglasses are two completely
different patterns, or as Jared calls them.. magic tricks (o;

"The project I work on has two faked progress meters"

Everything is fake unless you're peering in to a scope at
transistors (o;

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24028

2 Jan 2008 - 7:26pm
Hussein Ahmed8
2007

In fact the sense of response which I do like most is Mac OS X's
progress bar. What's nice about it is even if the whole program
crashes and the progress is not increasing, the colored ripples and
waves in the progressing bar looks so nice and give the real
illusion of something happening.

Another thing to note is that you are all speaking here of fake
progress and responses as if it is something tricky and decisive.
However, I think we would all agree that there is NO response
feedback ever in Microsoft productions that is not fake ranging from
copy progress, IE loading, hardware detection and all other things.
For this I think we should feel pretty normal having as many fake UI
elements as we just need to make our users happy.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24028

3 Jan 2008 - 11:17am
Gloria Petron
2007

Hi Charlie,
I agree wholeheartedly with your statement,

About ten years ago I came to the realization that if I were to be a
> highly effective designer, I had to understand and manage the
> organizational issues that could affect the design and its ultimate
> implementation.

I wanted to ask you more about the books you've read on the topic of
organizational politics, and ask if there are any you recommend. For myself,
I recommend Gary Klein's *Sources of Power* and *The Power of Intuition*.
Both books cover the relationship between interaction design & project
management, and how these things can affect the way Navy fighter pilots,
firefighters, and others make split decisions during emergencies. Another
great book is Donald Norman's *The Design of Everyday Things* where
mass-market thinking squares off against usable design; one of his most
stark examples is an airline crash traced back to unusable controls.

On a related note, for awhile I worked alongside my company's 6 Sigma team.
Sadly their ideals were never really taken seriously by upper management and
eventually the department went belly-up (I hear this happens a lot).
However, even though I could see how some of their methodologies could be
called into question, I thought that their devotion to measurable results
was something that they and I, an interface designer, had in common.

Regards,
Gloria

15 Jan 2008 - 12:51am
cfmdesigns
2004

On Jan 2, 2008, at 5:08 PM, pauric wrote:

> Progress bars shouldnt really refill unless its a staged install or
> something similar like the xp bootup screens.
>
> If the underlying functionality is not able to provide the
> presentation layer with a finite completion estimate then I provide
> an 'hourglass'. Really good example of this is the browser page
> loading animation.

I don't disagree, although I think users were long ago trained that a
working hourglass and a hung/looping hourglass (or "spinning beachball
of death") are indistinguishable. An hourglass that stays up for more
than about 5 seconds increases the feeling that the app is dead every
second thereafter.

A place where an hourglass works fine, though, is where something is
loading and the user can see the new items fill in as they wait.

An hourglass is a degenerate version of a refilling meter pattern,
isn't it?

-- Jim Drew
cfmdesigns at earthlink.net

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