Interaction design == web design

16 Apr 2004 - 2:39pm
10 years ago
16 replies
505 reads
Michael Bartlett
2004

Hello everyone,

Just wanted to introduce myself as this is my first posting to the list (I
have been subscribed for a few weeks now). We have been evolving our own
form of scenario- and persona-orientated design for the last year which has
been a big step-change in the way we build our software products. It's been
a fascinating process as we are strong practioners of eXtreme Programming
and our developers are very intelligent (and opinionated) C++ coders. It was
very much a case of "in-mates vs. wardens" prior and even during the
adoption of this process. And, most importantly with regard to this post: We
build thick-client Windows software that is effectively glue-ware between
multiple applications in order to stream-line existing work processes.

Something I'm battling with at the moment is confidence in spending money on
usability testing/HCI courses because I get the feeling that the industry is
very web-focused and we build thick-client Windows applications.

Two experiences on this just to validate my position before I ask my
questions:

1. Usability Testing
I decided to conduct a round of usability testing through a 3rd party in
London on an early'ish Beta of our product. It was the first time we've
embarked on such a journey and it was indeed an interesting process.

The few companies I researched (there don't appear to be that many in
London) all had very web-orientated portfolios and seemed very geared up
towards brand, information architecture and harping on about the back button
and other such web-centric considerations.

The testing ended up being very successful from my point of view, just
purely by watching the picture-in-picture footage afterwards. I found the
report, the recommendations and in fact the instructor to be below my
expectations. Some of the reasons for this is that our application
integrates with 1) Microsoft Word, 2) Outlook/Notes/Groupwise and 3)
Enterprise Document Management Systems 4) PDF creation. So it was a lot for
the 3rd party that we used to get their head around, as opposed to
navigating a web site in a single browser interface. So, in retrospect, I
would have preferred to conduct this myself rather than forking out the
money for the 3rd party, but I feel that I would probably lead the user and
make other such mistakes that a professional instructor wouldn't.

Also our software is collaborative in nature and a lot of what I've seen on
usability testing is a single user with an instructor whereas we have
complex tasks that often involve mutiple authors editing documents over a
extended period which is quite difficult to emulate in a typical 45-minute
study. It's also very challenging to recruit users for this as our clients
(expensive lawyers!) aren't really able to provide us with their users as
they are fee-earners and off-the-street recruits generally aren't familiar
with the working environment in a legal firm and the additional 3rd party
software that is involved in our scenarios and tasks.

So I felt I did get some value (perhaps fascination at watching users'
frustration with certain concepts we take for granted), but I'm sure it can
be done in a better way.

2. Courses
I'm interested in attending HFI's new Europe-based course
(http://www.humanfactors.com/training/useroriented.asp), but looking at the
schedule there appears to be a lot of very web-centered modules in there -
such as module 2 which quotes "site design strategy" and "working with brand
objectives" and module 8 - information architecture. So I'm wary of sending
3-4 of my staff on such a course at the risk of their switching off because
its all "web web web".

I understand that usability is usability and that many of the same
principles apply, but I feel that a lot of the web "stuff" (for lack of a
better word - jet lag) is towards presentation of information (site-flow and
so on). Even the "application" aspect of the web seems to be a lot simpler
than some of the challenges we face. I don't mean any disrespect at all by
this statement (that's the last thing I'd do in my first post!), it's merely
an observation from my experiences as I was involved in interactive web
application development for 4 years before I joined my current company.

So my questions... well I'm just really open to commentary and suggestions
on what I've outlined in this email. Perhaps there are more
application-orientated courses I can attend? What are you experiences in the
past with multi-user collaborative-environment usability testing? And so on.

Thanks for your time if you've got this far and I look forward to the
discussion. Please excuse the lack of any response today as I'm just about
to head off to SFO to fly back to London.

Kind regards,

Michael Bartlett

Comments

19 Apr 2004 - 4:07am
Olly Wright
2007

Well...

Much of (this) world seems to correlate interaction design in the
following ways:

interaction design=web design
interaction design=usability
interaction=information architecture

and while interaction design can have something to do with all of those
things, it's really not the only thing it does. To view it as such is
to give the field of interaction design short shrift. Bill Moggridge
recently talked about interaction design as being what happens inside
the computer -- designing the computer itself might be in the realm of
industrial or product design, but the real way the thing functions is a
matter of interaction design.

Interaction design is a part of product design, software design,
architecture, service design, environmental design, graphic design,
industrial design, urban design ... and web design. It touches
usability, it touches information architecture and information design.
I'm a professor at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea
(http://www.interaction-ivrea.it), and most of our projects are *not*
web-based, though that might play a part in how some aspect is
communicated or delivered -- for instance, it might be a service
touchpoint, or it might be the overarching communication of a system.
Our students come from so many broad backgrounds -- all across the
different fields of design, cognitive psychology, computer science --
to funnel it only into a website would be to narrow things down too
much. Our teaching and projects encompasses user-centered design
process and strategic design, ambient intelligence and spaces, service
design... and the potential interfaces might be physical (imagine a
room that reacts to your voice, or a human-sized, body controlled game
of Pac Man ... ) or mobile, or web-delivered. Usability (does it really
work the way we intend?) plays a part. How the thing you make runs and
flows plays a part.

It seems like you specifically are talking about human factors and HCI.
That's something that also touches interaction design but is not
specifically or necessarily interaction design. (Though maybe the folks
who are going to CHI next week in Vienna might feel differently, and
I'd love a report!) I would imagine that anyone who's done hardcore HCI
work and training is going to know how to work with a thick Windows
application. Usability testing and user-centered design, correctly
applied, is good for products, spaces, software, websites ...

On Apr 16, 2004, at 9:39 PM, Michael Bartlett wrote:

> Hello everyone,
>
> Just wanted to introduce myself as this is my first posting to the
> list (I
> have been subscribed for a few weeks now). We have been evolving our
> own
> form of scenario- and persona-orientated design for the last year
> which has
> been a big step-change in the way we build our software products. It's
> been
> a fascinating process as we are strong practioners of eXtreme
> Programming
> and our developers are very intelligent (and opinionated) C++ coders.
> It was
> very much a case of "in-mates vs. wardens" prior and even during the
> adoption of this process. And, most importantly with regard to this
> post: We
> build thick-client Windows software that is effectively glue-ware
> between
> multiple applications in order to stream-line existing work processes.
>
> Something I'm battling with at the moment is confidence in spending
> money on
> usability testing/HCI courses because I get the feeling that the
> industry is
> very web-focused and we build thick-client Windows applications.
>
> Two experiences on this just to validate my position before I ask my
> questions:
>
> 1. Usability Testing
> I decided to conduct a round of usability testing through a 3rd party
> in
> London on an early'ish Beta of our product. It was the first time we've
> embarked on such a journey and it was indeed an interesting process.
>
> The few companies I researched (there don't appear to be that many in
> London) all had very web-orientated portfolios and seemed very geared
> up
> towards brand, information architecture and harping on about the back
> button
> and other such web-centric considerations.
>
> The testing ended up being very successful from my point of view, just
> purely by watching the picture-in-picture footage afterwards. I found
> the
> report, the recommendations and in fact the instructor to be below my
> expectations. Some of the reasons for this is that our application
> integrates with 1) Microsoft Word, 2) Outlook/Notes/Groupwise and 3)
> Enterprise Document Management Systems 4) PDF creation. So it was a
> lot for
> the 3rd party that we used to get their head around, as opposed to
> navigating a web site in a single browser interface. So, in
> retrospect, I
> would have preferred to conduct this myself rather than forking out the
> money for the 3rd party, but I feel that I would probably lead the
> user and
> make other such mistakes that a professional instructor wouldn't.
>
> Also our software is collaborative in nature and a lot of what I've
> seen on
> usability testing is a single user with an instructor whereas we have
> complex tasks that often involve mutiple authors editing documents
> over a
> extended period which is quite difficult to emulate in a typical
> 45-minute
> study. It's also very challenging to recruit users for this as our
> clients
> (expensive lawyers!) aren't really able to provide us with their users
> as
> they are fee-earners and off-the-street recruits generally aren't
> familiar
> with the working environment in a legal firm and the additional 3rd
> party
> software that is involved in our scenarios and tasks.
>
> So I felt I did get some value (perhaps fascination at watching users'
> frustration with certain concepts we take for granted), but I'm sure
> it can
> be done in a better way.
>
> 2. Courses
> I'm interested in attending HFI's new Europe-based course
> (http://www.humanfactors.com/training/useroriented.asp), but looking
> at the
> schedule there appears to be a lot of very web-centered modules in
> there -
> such as module 2 which quotes "site design strategy" and "working with
> brand
> objectives" and module 8 - information architecture. So I'm wary of
> sending
> 3-4 of my staff on such a course at the risk of their switching off
> because
> its all "web web web".
>
> I understand that usability is usability and that many of the same
> principles apply, but I feel that a lot of the web "stuff" (for lack
> of a
> better word - jet lag) is towards presentation of information
> (site-flow and
> so on). Even the "application" aspect of the web seems to be a lot
> simpler
> than some of the challenges we face. I don't mean any disrespect at
> all by
> this statement (that's the last thing I'd do in my first post!), it's
> merely
> an observation from my experiences as I was involved in interactive web
> application development for 4 years before I joined my current company.
>
> So my questions... well I'm just really open to commentary and
> suggestions
> on what I've outlined in this email. Perhaps there are more
> application-orientated courses I can attend? What are you experiences
> in the
> past with multi-user collaborative-environment usability testing? And
> so on.
>
> Thanks for your time if you've got this far and I look forward to the
> discussion. Please excuse the lack of any response today as I'm just
> about
> to head off to SFO to fly back to London.
>
> Kind regards,
>
> Michael Bartlett
> _______________________________________________
> Interaction Design Discussion List
> discuss at interactiondesigners.com
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> to change your options (unsubscribe or set digest):
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> --
> Questions: lists at interactiondesigners.com
> --
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> already)
> http://interactiondesigners.com/announceList/
> --
> http://interactiondesigners.com/
>

19 Apr 2004 - 6:41am
pabini
2004

Hello Michael

Michael Bartlett wrote: We build thick-client Windows software that is
effectively glue-ware between
> multiple applications in order to stream-line existing work processes.

***Sounds like interesting work.

> Something I'm battling with at the moment is confidence in spending money
on
> usability testing/HCI courses because I get the feeling that the industry
is
> very web-focused and we build thick-client Windows applications.

***The industry is quite Web focused right now, because that's where about
three-quarters or more of the work is now. (I learned this from the salary
survey I just ran.) If you do take courses, I recommend that you make sure
the teacher has a long history of working on Windows applications, so he or
she can at least answer your questions. Many excellent Web designers know
nothing about designing Windows applications. Having done both, I can say
that it's quite different from designing Web applications and often much
more complex.

Our application
> integrates with 1) Microsoft Word, 2) Outlook/Notes/Groupwise and 3)
> Enterprise Document Management Systems 4) PDF creation. So it was a lot
for
> the 3rd party that we used to get their head around.

***I'm sure there are professionals who have worked with the majority of
these applications.

> Also our software is collaborative in nature and a lot of what I've seen
on
> usability testing is a single user with an instructor whereas we have
> complex tasks that often involve mutiple authors editing documents over a
> extended period which is quite difficult to emulate in a typical 45-minute
> study.

***There are professionals who have worked on collaboration software before,
too. :-) You might try simulating interactions with other authors using a
sort of Wizard of Oz approach, where a person on the usability team
completes certain actions within the test scenario, taking the role of a
coworker.

It's also very challenging to recruit users for this as our clients
> (expensive lawyers!) aren't really able to provide us with their users as
> they are fee-earners and off-the-street recruits generally aren't familiar
> with the working environment in a legal firm and the additional 3rd party
> software that is involved in our scenarios and tasks.

***You might use law students who have worked as interns or paralegals in
law offices as your test subjects. They would be more available and more in
need of the remuneration. You should test with some real lawyers though. Fly
them into London for a night on the town as an inducement if you must. :-)

> I'm wary of sending
> 3-4 of my staff on such a course at the risk of their switching off
because
> its all "web web web".

***I'm sure there are courses with the emphasis on desktop applications that
you need. If you can't find one that satisfies your needs, you might
consider having someone do some in-house training developed just for your
team.

> I understand that usability is usability and that many of the same
> principles apply, but I feel that a lot of the web "stuff" (for lack of a
> better word - jet lag) is towards presentation of information (site-flow
and
> so on). Even the "application" aspect of the web seems to be a lot simpler
> than some of the challenges we face.

***Your perception is accurate. There is a great difference between the two,
but there are professionals who have done both. Hopefully, you'll be able to
take a course from someone with the qualifications you need.

Pabini
________________________________________

Pabini Gabriel-Petit
Principal & User Experience Architect
Spirit Softworks
www.spiritsoftworks.com

19 Apr 2004 - 8:02am
id at ourbrisba...
2004

Quoting molly wright steenson <molly at girlwonder.com>:
> It seems like you specifically are talking about human factors and HCI.
> That's something that also touches interaction design but is not
> specifically or necessarily interaction design. (Though maybe the folks
> who are going to CHI next week in Vienna might feel differently, and
> I'd love a report!)

This fascinates me. If Human Factors isn't interaction design, then what
exactly *is* interaction design?

I've mentioned all this before on this list, but for those of you that aren't
aware, Human Factors is the study (both qualitative and quantitative) of humans
interacting with systems (where a system may be a piece of technology, other
humans, an environment, or a combination of these), and the application of this
knowledge to the subsequent design or re-design of said systems to ensure that
they are safe, effective, efficient and satisfying to use. It draws upon the
disciplines of computer science, engineering, anthropology, cognitive
psychology, applied physiology, sociology, anthropometry, statistics, industrial
design, and environmental medicine.

Chapanis (1985) defined Human Factors as follows:
"Human factors discovers and applies information about human behavior,
abilities, limitations, and other characteristics to the design of tools,
machines, systems, tasks, jobs, and environments for productive, safe,
comfortable, and effective human use."

Granted, traditionally Human Factors has been used to design critical systems
such as those found in aviation, medicine, energy, mining, transport systems,
etc; but more recently (the last 20 years or so) the discipline has been
employed to design consumer systems such as OXO's "Sure Grips" range of kitchen
appliances, Nokia's "Human Technology" software and hardware, Apple Computer's
Software and Hardware, Palm's PDA, Johnson & Johnson's "Reach" toothbrushes, and
many more.

I've been under the impression that Interaction Design (like so many of the
other fields that seem to have popped up in the last 10 years) was either a
simplified subset of, or just another (more apt) name for the discipline of
Human Factors. Any light you can shed on what Interaction Design covers that
departs from Human Factors, and how it does so would be much appreciated.

Best regards,

Ash Donaldson
"It depends."
User Experience Designer

19 Apr 2004 - 8:06am
Olly Wright
2007

as i said (and i'm just about to head out of town for a few days, so
i'm sorry for the silence that will follow):

HCI and interaction design may touch but is not specifically or
necessarily interaction design.

why? because not everything is design. i don't think that all HCI
people want to be considered designers, nor should they be. interaction
design is the design of interactions of things that involve chips (as
gillian crampton-smith, director of interaction-ivrea, recently said to
a group of us at the school).

On Apr 19, 2004, at 3:02 PM, id at ourbrisbane.com wrote:

> Quoting molly wright steenson <molly at girlwonder.com>:
>> It seems like you specifically are talking about human factors and
>> HCI.
>> That's something that also touches interaction design but is not
>> specifically or necessarily interaction design. (Though maybe the
>> folks
>> who are going to CHI next week in Vienna might feel differently, and
>> I'd love a report!)
>
> This fascinates me. If Human Factors isn't interaction design, then
> what
> exactly *is* interaction design?
>
> I've mentioned all this before on this list, but for those of you that
> aren't
> aware, Human Factors is the study (both qualitative and quantitative)
> of humans
> interacting with systems (where a system may be a piece of technology,
> other
> humans, an environment, or a combination of these), and the
> application of this
> knowledge to the subsequent design or re-design of said systems to
> ensure that
> they are safe, effective, efficient and satisfying to use. It draws
> upon the
> disciplines of computer science, engineering, anthropology, cognitive
> psychology, applied physiology, sociology, anthropometry, statistics,
> industrial
> design, and environmental medicine.
>
> Chapanis (1985) defined Human Factors as follows:
> "Human factors discovers and applies information about human behavior,
> abilities, limitations, and other characteristics to the design of
> tools,
> machines, systems, tasks, jobs, and environments for productive, safe,
> comfortable, and effective human use."
>
> Granted, traditionally Human Factors has been used to design critical
> systems
> such as those found in aviation, medicine, energy, mining, transport
> systems,
> etc; but more recently (the last 20 years or so) the discipline has
> been
> employed to design consumer systems such as OXO's "Sure Grips" range
> of kitchen
> appliances, Nokia's "Human Technology" software and hardware, Apple
> Computer's
> Software and Hardware, Palm's PDA, Johnson & Johnson's "Reach"
> toothbrushes, and
> many more.
>
> I've been under the impression that Interaction Design (like so many
> of the
> other fields that seem to have popped up in the last 10 years) was
> either a
> simplified subset of, or just another (more apt) name for the
> discipline of
> Human Factors. Any light you can shed on what Interaction Design
> covers that
> departs from Human Factors, and how it does so would be much
> appreciated.
>
> Best regards,
>
> Ash Donaldson
> "It depends."
> User Experience Designer
>

19 Apr 2004 - 8:41am
Jens Meiert
2004

'Interaction design == web design'

OT: Remembering all these 'Web designers' (not only) working with WYSIWYG
editors I'm glad there is some differentiation. The 'normal Web designer'
ain't conscious of /any/ implication of his work, be it any kind of
interaction or the simplest usability attempt, I fear.

Just my EUR 0,01.
Jens.

--
Jens Meiert
Interface Architect (IxD)

http://meiert.com/

19 Apr 2004 - 9:43am
Dave Malouf
2005

I would also add that there is also an historical difference.

HF/HCI are engineering based
IxD is design based

basically this means that ixd considers the visceral & the aesthetic
while hci is focused on the mechanical & the cognitive.

As molly said these are connected. I would add that each needs to inform
the other.

--dave
David Heller
dave at interactiondesigners.com
htt://www.interactiondesigners.com

19 Apr 2004 - 8:49am
id at ourbrisba...
2004

Welcome Michael!

If you wish to use external professionals, for your specific application you may
want to consider using Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) professionals
that specialise in Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW).

Unfortunately, all you can learn in short courses will usually be focussed
toward Neilsen's "Discount Usability Engineering" as the techniques (scenarios,
simplified thinking-aloud protocol, and heuristic evaluation as well as the more
recently popular paper prototyping and card sorting) are easy to package and
there's a strong market for them. Unfortunately, they're also very limited in
scope and not very effective if run by someone without the theory to understand
which combinations of techniques to use, the origins of the techniques, why to
use them, what would confound the results, how to cater for the uncontrolled
variables and indeed, which variables and data matter from each technique for
the context in which it is used.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't take a short course or two, but just be aware
of their limitations. They can be a great for doing small, quick and dirty
systems, or as a 'stepping stone' to investigate whether you'd like to learn
more, or even as an overview to help you choose and/or understand what
professionals in the field are doing, but I
personally would never trust the results of a practitioner who's training was
limited was limited to what they'd read in a few popular usability/information
architecture books and what they'd learned during a couple of 2 or 3 day courses
for the design of a major system.

If it's a career path you're looking to go down, I'd suggest some post-graduate
university study in Human Factors, Activity Theory (Vygotskian Psychology),
Human-Computer Interaction, Cognitive Psychology, Information Systems, or CSCW -
whichever area takes your interest (all would give you techniques to investigate
the designs of any software, whether it be thin or thick client).

I hope this helps.

Best regards,

Ash Donaldson
"It depends."
User Experience Designer

19 Apr 2004 - 8:54am
Robert Reimann
2003

Dave Heller said:

> HF/HCI are engineering based
> IxD is design based

I agree with this: HF is concerned with applying
principles of cognitive science, various social
sciences, and engineering to the improvement of
human/machine interactions.

IxD has similar aims, but a different focus, set
of methods, and perspective. I'm not sure I'd limit
the concern of IxD to the visceral and aesthetic,
however - though the anticipated emotional reactions
of users to machine behaviors must certainly be a factor
in their design.

And I definitely do agree that they inform each other.

Robert.

-----Original Message-----
From: Dave Heller [mailto:dave at interactiondesigners.com]
Sent: Monday, April 19, 2004 10:44 AM
To: molly wright steenson; id at ourbrisbane.com
Cc: discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Subject: Re: [ID Discuss] Interaction design == web design

I would also add that there is also an historical difference.

HF/HCI are engineering based
IxD is design based

basically this means that ixd considers the visceral & the aesthetic
while hci is focused on the mechanical & the cognitive.

As molly said these are connected. I would add that each needs to inform
the other.

--dave
David Heller
dave at interactiondesigners.com htt://www.interactiondesigners.com

19 Apr 2004 - 9:08am
whitneyq
2010

At 08:39 PM 4/16/2004 +0100, Michael Bartlett wrote:
>I decided to conduct a round of usability testing through a 3rd party in
>London on an early'ish Beta of our product. It was the first time we've
>embarked on such a journey and it was indeed an interesting process.
>
>The few companies I researched (there don't appear to be that many in
>London) all had very web-orientated portfolios and seemed very geared up
>towards brand, information architecture and harping on about the back button
>and other such web-centric considerations.

You might want to take a look at the UK UPA's web site -
http://www.ukupa.org.uk/ and the link there to Questions to Ask Your
Usability Supplier. They are a pretty good start at being an informed
consumer.

As others have noted, there are lots of usability companies focusing on the
web in large part because this is where the money is right now. But there
are other companies - many of which have been in business for 10+ years
that work with traditional applications and desktop products. And there are
consultants and companies who have worked in the collaborative workspace
field.

UsabilityNet's consultant list shows over 30 companies in the London area:
http://www.usabilitynet.org/management/u_consultants.htm#UK

1. Ask for portfolio that matches the kind of application you will be
testing, or ask for proof that they understand the domain.

2. As with any third-party resource, usability testing is not a "black
box." You will get your best results when you work closely with them. Make
sure you have worked with them on the issues to be focused on, the test
plan, recruiting criteria and so on. You have described a complex
environment and it will take some cleverness to set up a simulation of that
environment.

3. You said you got a lot from watching the video: Did you not observe the
test itself? Why not?

4. Consider other forms of usability testing. With a task that takes place
over a period of time, involving many people, a lab test might not be the
most effective method. Look for a company that has the breadth and
creativity to come up with the right way to get the answers you need.

Whitney

Whitney Quesenbery
Whitney Interactive Design, LLC
w. www.WQusability.com
e. whitneyq at wqusability.com
p. 908-638-5467

UPA - www.usabilityprofessionals.org
STC Usability SIG: www.stcsig.org/usability

19 Apr 2004 - 9:53am
Dan Saffer
2003

On Apr 19, 2004, at 9:49 AM, id at ourbrisbane.com wrote:

> If it's a career path you're looking to go down, I'd suggest some
> post-graduate
> university study in Human Factors, Activity Theory (Vygotskian
> Psychology),
> Human-Computer Interaction, Cognitive Psychology, Information Systems,
> or CSCW -
>

What about programs devoted to interaction design? ;)

Dan Saffer
M.Des. Candidate, Interaction Design
Carnegie Mellon University
http://www.odannyboy.com

19 Apr 2004 - 10:04am
id at ourbrisba...
2004

Quoting Dave Heller <dave at interactiondesigners.com>:
> I would also add that there is also an historical difference.
>
> HF/HCI are engineering based
> IxD is design based
>
> basically this means that ixd considers the visceral & the aesthetic
> while hci is focused on the mechanical & the cognitive.
>
> As molly said these are connected. I would add that each needs to inform
> the other.

I agree. I think I see where you are coming from here, and yes, HCI is almost
entirely cognitive (memory, recogition, processing, etc) and mechanical (size of
target, tracking, keystroke level GOMS, etc), but everyone keeps equating Human
Factors to HCI. These are two completely different fields. HCI is a very
narrow specialisation. It concerns only interaction with computers and treats
humans in isolation, often over-simplifying by equating them to a computer
themselves (where the brain = CPU and memory, eyes and ears = input, and hands
and mouth = output), with no regard for all the other factors/variables that
influence/affect a person as they interact with a system.

There certainly is an element of engineering to HF, but I would argue that there
is a much stronger background in psychology. HF came about as a necessity
during WW2 as pilot's cognitive abilities were being overtaken by the complexity
of the machinery they operated, leading to many needless incidents and
accidents. Psychologists were called upon to investigate and help re-design
these systems.

Modern HF looks at the design of any system from a holistic perspective -
analysing and accounting for factors such as: physical (bio-mechanics and
anthropometrics); environmental (lighting, noise, vibration); social (team
dynamics, cooperative workflows, organisational (managerial/peer) influences);
affective (visceral reactions, emotive impact); and cognitive (memory,
processing capacity, behavioural patterns).

So, again I ask how exactly is IxD different to HF? I understand that you are
saying the approach is different - it comes from a design angle - but what
exactly does that mean? What kinds of things would be investigated, using what
kind of techniques? How would they be different to HF and are the end goals the
same or different?

Thanks for your patience.

Best regards,

Ash Donaldson
"It depends."
User Experience Designer

19 Apr 2004 - 12:12pm
Robert Reimann
2003

Ash asks,

> So, again I ask how exactly is IxD different to HF? I understand that you
are saying the > approach is different - it comes from a design angle - but
what exactly does that mean? > What kinds of things would be investigated,
using what kind of techniques? How would
> they be different to HF and are the end goals the same or different?

The difference between design methods and HF methods is
that design methods are typically generative and constructive,
whereas HF methods are typically analytical and reductive. Both
have their place in the design process. HF methods are terrific
for taking an artifact/system and rigorously analyzing its strengths
and weaknesses based on theories deduced from empirical observation.

Design methods do not require an existing artifact/system to analyze
(not at first, anyway), and make use of visualization, narrative, and
empathic techniques to generate and execute models of experience
(concepts) based on previously identified principles and patterns
that may have been arrived at by inspiration/analogy, trial and
error, or iteration (and usually some combination of all three).

Design works best as a top-down activity, with successive phases
of conceptualization, analysis and refinement. Designers tend to
be strong in concept-generation, and weaker in analysis. HF folks
tend to be the opposite. Thus the two methods and foci complement
each other delightfully.

Robert.

-----Original Message-----
From: id at ourbrisbane.com [mailto:id at ourbrisbane.com]
Sent: Monday, April 19, 2004 11:05 AM
To: Dave Heller
Cc: discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Subject: Re: [ID Discuss] Interaction design == web design

Quoting Dave Heller <dave at interactiondesigners.com>:
> I would also add that there is also an historical difference.
>
> HF/HCI are engineering based
> IxD is design based
>
> basically this means that ixd considers the visceral & the aesthetic
> while hci is focused on the mechanical & the cognitive.
>
> As molly said these are connected. I would add that each needs to
> inform
> the other.

I agree. I think I see where you are coming from here, and yes, HCI is
almost entirely cognitive (memory, recogition, processing, etc) and
mechanical (size of target, tracking, keystroke level GOMS, etc), but
everyone keeps equating Human Factors to HCI. These are two completely
different fields. HCI is a very narrow specialisation. It concerns only
interaction with computers and treats humans in isolation, often
over-simplifying by equating them to a computer themselves (where the brain
= CPU and memory, eyes and ears = input, and hands and mouth = output), with
no regard for all the other factors/variables that influence/affect a person
as they interact with a system.

There certainly is an element of engineering to HF, but I would argue that
there is a much stronger background in psychology. HF came about as a
necessity during WW2 as pilot's cognitive abilities were being overtaken by
the complexity of the machinery they operated, leading to many needless
incidents and accidents. Psychologists were called upon to investigate and
help re-design these systems.

Modern HF looks at the design of any system from a holistic perspective -
analysing and accounting for factors such as: physical (bio-mechanics and
anthropometrics); environmental (lighting, noise, vibration); social (team
dynamics, cooperative workflows, organisational (managerial/peer)
influences); affective (visceral reactions, emotive impact); and cognitive
(memory, processing capacity, behavioural patterns).

So, again I ask how exactly is IxD different to HF? I understand that you
are saying the approach is different - it comes from a design angle - but
what exactly does that mean? What kinds of things would be investigated,
using what kind of techniques? How would they be different to HF and are
the end goals the same or different?

Thanks for your patience.

Best regards,

Ash Donaldson
"It depends."
User Experience Designer

19 Apr 2004 - 12:19pm
Gerard Torenvliet
2004

I'd like to echo all of Ash's excellent points.

Interaction design seems to reflect a progression or maturation of HF
knowledge that is very specifically related to interactive product design,
and to making those products functional, usable, and appealing.

This progression is related to a market that is growing more sophisticated.
In the past, human factors was only applied where it could be afforded - in
places like aircraft, process control, etc. Accordingly, it took on some
emphases (engineering rigour, for instance) and muted some others
(aesthetics & appeal). People made an investment in HF because lives,
safety, or money were at stake. The buyer of large systems wanted risk
reduction, and realized that making their systems more compatible with
established human factors principles could achieve this. But, they didn't
really care if the designs were appealing or compelling. They had to be safe
and low risk. Period.

As our standard of living rises, people are increasingly willing to pay
extra money for products that are designed well, and that are appealing. I
used to be satisfied with an ugly stereo that produced beautiful sound. Now,
I want a stereo that produces beautiful sound and that looks good in my
living room. I am the buyer and the user - this is a key market difference.

I welcome Interaction Design because of its focus on the appeal of products
and experiences; this is a needed focus. I think Interaction Design could
become a whole lot more powerful if its practitioners would learn from the
long history of Human Factors, and collaborate in this field.

At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter who Interaction Designers
want to name as their forebears. If interaction designers choose to pass by
a mature, practical, and well-developed field like HF, they are just doomed
to make the same mistakes and learn the same lessons that the HF community
already has. That's not very economical!

Best regards,
-Gerard
(a bred in the bone Human Factors engineer, working in the domain of
aviation)

P.S. Robert - I'd love to become a beta tester for Bose products. :-)

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19 Apr 2004 - 2:03pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Apr 19, 2004, at 10:12 AM, Reimann, Robert wrote:

> Design works best as a top-down activity, with successive phases
> of conceptualization, analysis and refinement. Designers tend to
> be strong in concept-generation, and weaker in analysis. HF folks
> tend to be the opposite. Thus the two methods and foci complement
> each other delightfully.

They should compliment each other, but given most political and
corporate processes, and the bad vibe already in the field between the
two types of approaches, tend not to in my experience. An unfortunate
circumstance, but one that needs to be addressed. Or at least
acknowledged.

Andrei Herasimchuk
andrei at adobe.com

work: http://www.adobe.com
personal: http://www.designbyfire.com

20 Apr 2004 - 12:25am
id at ourbrisba...
2004

Quoting "Reimann, Robert" <Robert_Reimann at bose.com>:
> The difference between design methods and HF methods is
> that design methods are typically generative and constructive,
> whereas HF methods are typically analytical and reductive. Both
> have their place in the design process. HF methods are terrific
> for taking an artifact/system and rigorously analyzing its strengths
> and weaknesses based on theories deduced from empirical observation.
>
> Design methods do not require an existing artifact/system to analyze
> (not at first, anyway), and make use of visualization, narrative, and
> empathic techniques to generate and execute models of experience
> (concepts) based on previously identified principles and patterns
> that may have been arrived at by inspiration/analogy, trial and
> error, or iteration (and usually some combination of all three).
>
> Design works best as a top-down activity, with successive phases
> of conceptualization, analysis and refinement. Designers tend to
> be strong in concept-generation, and weaker in analysis. HF folks
> tend to be the opposite. Thus the two methods and foci complement
> each other delightfully.

Excellent! Thank you Robert. I now understand where you're coming from,
although would not pidgeon-hole HF into being strictly analytical and reductive
(even though that's where its origins lay). It is a dsicipline that has been
evolving both in the academic and practical/commercial areas since its
inception, and as such, has taken great strides in generating concepts without
existing artefacts. However, as both yourself and Gerard mentioned, IxD seems
to be a fantastic approach with a different emphasis.

Just to give you a quick insight as to why I'm so interested in this:
My background is steeped in a number of seemingly disparate, yet overlapping
areas, starting with being a Commercial Pilot and Flight Instructor, through
being a Graphic Designer, Interface Designer, Interactive Multimedia Designer
and (eventually) Art Director (who dabbled in cognitive science along the way as
a hobby), to my current career in Human Factors (oh, and don't forget to throw
in just about every odd job between contracts so I could pay for my never ending
study regime).

Since venturing down this path, I have been most interested in affect in design
and have followed the works of Norman, Revelle & Ortony, Picard, Sloman and
others with great interest. If there are any other sources you can point me to,
I would appreciate it greatly.

Best regards,

Ash Donaldson
"It depends."
User Experience Designer

21 Apr 2004 - 8:06pm
Christian Simon
2003

> on 4/19/04 12:00, robert wrote:
> Design methods do not require an existing artifact/system to analyze
> (not at first, anyway), and make use of visualization, narrative, and
> empathic techniques to generate and execute models of experience
> (concepts) based on previously identified principles and patterns
> that may have been arrived at by inspiration/analogy, trial and
> error, or iteration (and usually some combination of all three).
Absolutely. I thought to add 2c to the discussion and show support this
summation of design methods. I'm interested to hear from the HF
practitioners and what you think of the counter description of HF to design.

Xtian

_________________________________________________________________
Christian Simon | www.christiansimon.com | San Francisco Bay Area

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