[ExI] The Field of HCI

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Sat Feb 2 13:16:05 UTC 2013

On Sat, Feb 2, 2013 at 12:26 PM, Anders Sandberg  wrote:
> Finally, something I think was totally lacking when I studied HCI and I hope
> has become relevant now: motivation. Looking at the user interfaces of Bryce
> or World of Warcraft shows something that would have failed all the criteria
> discussed: too messy and idiosyncratic. Yet people learn them, and become
> very good at using them. Why? Because they are delightful to use, or the
> program itself allows you to do something highly motivating. The work on
> gamification (and MacGonigals work on ARGs) suggests to me that if you make
> the interfaces motivate users in the right way the strangest interface will
> be learnable. So maybe the core issue is not to fix the epistemic/perceptual
> aspects but the emotional and motivational: if your software has the right
> built in motivators (and demotivators) it will drive the right kind of
> learning and use. But whether there is a good theory for this yet, I do not
> know. Maybe the game design literature is worth a glance.

I find it interesting that Norman doesn't much like the latest fad for
'gestural' interfaces. I also find the idea of waving my hands about
instead of pressing a button to be a step backwards. Just because the
new touch sensitive screens allow you to do new things doesn't mean
that you should do them. The poor sales of Windows 8 and Surface
tablets may indicate that the public doesn't really like it much

Norman has an essay up here -

'Gestural Interfaces: A Step Backwards In Usability' Sept 2010'


There are several important fundamental principles of interaction
design that are completely independent of technology:
·       Visibility (also called perceived affordances or signifiers)
·       Feedback
·       Consistency (also known as standards)
·       Non-destructive operations (hence the importance of undo)
·       Discoverability: All operations can be discovered by
systematic exploration of menus
·       Scalability. The operation should work on all screen sizes,
small and large.
·       Reliability. Operations should work. Period. And events should
not happen randomly.

All these are rapidly disappearing from the toolkit of designers,
aided, we must emphasize, by the weird design guidelines issued by
Apple, Google, and Microsoft.


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