Fitt's Law and such [was: Mac OS X...]

30 Jan 2004 - 5:17pm
10 years ago
1 reply
625 reads
Todd Warfel
2003

Nick, excellent summary and question.

On Jan 30, 2004, at 4:46 PM, Nick Ragouzis wrote:

> "Where are my applications, my documents, my trash?"

That is the primary question, which relates to a set (series) of goals
(e.g. Make a new document, Open an existing document, Remove an
existing document (application)).

> People want to put *their* things where they want them. It's not
> uncommon in my experience to see users have many more applications
> ready to go then they actually use [...]

Many more applications is very, very common. Looking at my Dock right
now, for instance, I have 27 applications in it (including the Finder),
18 of which are running, 5 more than normal. Typically, I have around
12 applications running at once (Finder, Mail, Safari, iChat, iTunes,
iCal, Illustrator, Word, Dreamweaver, Quark/InDesign, Suitcase,
Preview, iWork). That's a little more than normal from what we've
observed. "Normal" is closer to 3-8 running. And we've observed
everything from 15 applications in the Dock to 50. It's all over the
map, but power users do tend to have more (go figure).

Now, why is that important?

Back to the "where's my stuff" statement - I have more than twice the
applications in my Dock than I typically run at once. Or, I have
roughly 15+ more than I typically use, which isn't abnormal. The Dock
has 11 (including Finder) installed by default. And then you add your
applications...

Well, it's typically more convenient to access applications and folders
from the Dock than going out to the Finder>Macintosh HD>Applications,
or Finder>Macintosh HD>Users>{username}, or similar. Especially, if
you're already in an application.

However, we've also seen the anomaly, of people putting 20 documents on
their desktop instead of putting them in the user's Documents folder.
This tends to be a carry-over from the Classic OS days when we didn't
have a Documents folder. And you should see people try to find a
document they need when this happens - it's nearly hysterical. Nope,
not that one. Nope, not that one. It's around here somewhere. But then
again, their office tends to look the same, but that's another
conversation all together ;).

> Sure, many users can (eventually) understand why their trash flops
> around like it does [...]

> [...] pursue compromise ( a) just away from the corner; or b) just at
> the end of a horizontally moving target [...] then shouldn't it be so
> that users -can- gain these other benefits? That would exclude any
> solution that inhibits such a pursuit. **

That's part of it. There's also the ability for mental mapping. Our
brain has an amazing ability to remap to make new relationships that
initially don't make sense to us. You'll find this in usability testing
when a user might get through a task the first time w/significant or
limited problems, but quickly make it through the task subsequent times
w/o problems.

However, as HCI and Usability practitioners, our goal is to keep this
type of compensation to a minimum.

By the way, gestural-based actions could be a solution. It would be one
step ahead of the CMD+Delete key.

Cheers!

Todd R. Warfel
User Experience Architect
MessageFirst | making products easier to use
--------------------------------------
Contact Info
voice: (607) 339-9640
email: twarfel at messagefirst.com
web: www.messagefirst.com
aim: twarfel at mac.com
--------------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.
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Comments

30 Jan 2004 - 5:37pm
Nick Ragouzis
2004

Good points, Todd. Your mention of our ability to learn prompts me to mention one futher stab in the heart of the dock-locked trash:
GOMS.

This is modelable under ACT, where a quick review of the hierarchy would tell us that the animation of the dock requires at least
one additional subgoal. This would incur *at least* 500ms additional cost for each execution.

Now the ability to learn lets us collapse the more complicated process in both cases (near-edge of screen; end of dock) ... but any
related new productions will do nothing to overcome the unavoidable need for an *extra subgoal* in the case of the dock.

Best,
--Nick

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Todd R.Warfel
Sent: Friday, January 30, 2004 02:18 PM
To: Interaction Designers
Subject: [ID Discuss] Fitt's Law and such [was: Mac OS X...]

Nick, excellent summary and question.

On Jan 30, 2004, at 4:46 PM, Nick Ragouzis wrote:

"Where are my applications, my documents, my trash?"

That is the primary question, which relates to a set (series) of goals (e.g. Make a new document, Open an existing document, Remove
an existing document (application)).

People want to put *their* things where they want them. It's not uncommon in my experience to see users have many more applications
ready to go then they actually use [...]

Many more applications is very, very common. Looking at my Dock right now, for instance, I have 27 applications in it (including the
Finder), 18 of which are running, 5 more than normal. Typically, I have around 12 applications running at once (Finder, Mail,
Safari, iChat, iTunes, iCal, Illustrator, Word, Dreamweaver, Quark/InDesign, Suitcase, Preview, iWork). That's a little more than
normal from what we've observed. "Normal" is closer to 3-8 running. And we've observed everything from 15 applications in the Dock
to 50. It's all over the map, but power users do tend to have more (go figure).

Now, why is that important?

Back to the "where's my stuff" statement - I have more than twice the applications in my Dock than I typically run at once. Or, I
have roughly
15+ more than I typically use, which isn't abnormal. The Dock has 11
(including Finder) installed by default. And then you add your applications...

Well, it's typically more convenient to access applications and folders from the Dock than going out to the Finder>Macintosh
HD>Applications, or
Finder>Macintosh HD>Users>{username}, or similar. Especially, if you're
already in an application.

However, we've also seen the anomaly, of people putting 20 documents on their desktop instead of putting them in the user's
Documents folder. This tends to be a carry-over from the Classic OS days when we didn't have a Documents folder. And you should see
people try to find a document they need when this happens - it's nearly hysterical. Nope, not that one. Nope, not that one. It's
around here somewhere. But then again, their office tends to look the same, but that's another conversation all together ;).

Sure, many users can (eventually) understand why their trash flops around like it does [...]

[...] pursue compromise ( a) just away from the corner; or b) just at the end of a horizontally moving target [...] then shouldn't
it be so that users -can- gain these other benefits? That would exclude any solution that inhibits such a pursuit. **

That's part of it. There's also the ability for mental mapping. Our brain has an amazing ability to remap to make new relationships
that initially don't make sense to us. You'll find this in usability testing when a user might get through a task the first time
w/significant or limited problems, but quickly make it through the task subsequent times w/o problems.

However, as HCI and Usability practitioners, our goal is to keep this type of compensation to a minimum.

By the way, gestural-based actions could be a solution. It would be one step ahead of the CMD+Delete key.

Cheers!

Todd R. Warfel
User Experience Architect
MessageFirst | making products easier to use
--------------------------------------
Contact Info
voice: (607) 339-9640
email: twarfel at messagefirst.com
web: www.messagefirst.com
aim: twarfel at mac.com
--------------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

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