1. Ergonomics for interaction designers

    Posted January 26, 2009 in user centred design  |  No Comments so far

    This series of articles from Rob Tannen at Designing for Humans discusses how a knowledge of ergonomics can be increasingly helpful to people working in interaction design.

    Ergonomics considers the suitability of physically extant products to the human form in all its varieties. As a result it’s not historically been very relevant to interaction designers, who have worked in a more abstracted space than those who design chairs, computer mice, monitors and keyboards. But Rob Tannen argues that the advent of ubiquitous computing and the resulting diversity of form factors (netbooks, phones, touchscreens, kiosks, etc) require interaction designers to develop their understanding of this field.

    Overview of Anthropometric Design Types

    The three-part series of articles makes for easy reading, an interesting and engaging introduction to the field. It’s also rich with links to more rigorous and in-depth materials for those who want to explore it further. If you want to be able to talk knowledgeably about anthropometrics, satisficing and the flaws of the Proctrustus approach, you’ll find Rob’s writings more than helpful.


  2. I’ve seen the future and it’s… a bit like MacOS X

    Posted August 11, 2008 in projects, user centred design, web  |  No Comments so far

    My friend Lindsey sent me this link earlier on today. It’s a video exploring a future user experience concept, developed by Adaptive Path for Mozilla Labs.

    http://www.vimeo.com/1450211

    Jill looks at the New York Times website

    In the video Jill, the principal user, makes use of a number of futuristic interface devices to:

    • Interact with a friend while browsing
    • Extract and manipulate data sets from within websites
    • Navigate through a vast collection of bookmarks using a 3D interface
    • Migrate her browsing experience seamlessly from desktop to mobile devices
    http://www.vimeo.com/1450211

    It’s a bit like MacOS X

    I initially found myself wondering, is the future really going to look so much like Mac OS X? But looking past the visual treatment, there are some strong concepts here. I particularly like the ability to extract and manipulate data from web pages, the near-removal of the browser interface, and the utilisation of the 3D interface to convey the age of bookmarks.

    That said, not everyone agrees with me – I’ve had a few conversations today about these ideas and there isn’t really a consensus among the people I’ve been talking to.

    http://www.vimeo.com/1450211

    The Z-axis is used to convey the age of a bookmark

    Is 3D ever really going to enter the mainstream as a means of web navigation? I’ve always been quite sceptical, to be honest. It comes down to incentive – if there’s a serious benefit to be had from learning unfamiliar and complex interfaces, then people will do it. People learnt how to use Myspace, after all!

    So, what would have to happen to make us want to learn new, complicated, 3D web interfaces?

    Well, the web (along with our own slice of it; our bookmarks, our browsing histories, our social networks etc) is on its way to becoming unmanageably large. Past a certain point, there may be a real benefit in migrating to more sophisticated – but more complex – interfaces.

    The standard methods of searching and browsing may still be usable, but woefully inefficient; like running a modern computer with only a command line interface and no GUI. Achievable, but insane.

    The web is growing exponentially – its size in five or ten years’ time could present us with unique problems and challenges. Some of the ideas in this concept video shed some light on how we might solve them. But what are those problems and challenges going to be? I’m probably more interested in them than I am in the solutions.