Saturday, December 09, 2006

Three Challenges for Design

Don Norman discusses where we are going with increasing complexity ...

"The invisible, ubiquitous computer has arrived, ensnaring almost any conceivable activity within its grasp. This raises wonderful opportunities and challenges to the field of human-computer interaction, for if the computer is everywhere, then everything is within our domain of study.

It is time to consider where the next application areas might be. As I look to the future, I see numerous domains of concern, but with three large, overriding issues:

The ever-increasing complexity of everyday things
The ever-increasing burden of security, authentication, and identification
The ever-increasing use of automation
Obviously, this list of three hardly covers everything. After all, if the field covers almost everything, the list itself should be of almost everything, from voting machines to educational systems, finance to entertainment, health to child care. But these three are broad enough to keep us busy for many a year.

The ever-increasing complexity of everyday things

As our demands for services, functions, and features grow, so too does the complexity of our devices increase beyond reasonable comprehension. Cameras and cellphones, audio and television equipment, kitchen appliances and automobile dashboards. Some home toilets now require electricity, display panels, and instruction manuals. This complexity often leads to frustration, and sometimes poses serious safety hazards. In particular, automobile dashboards require multiple button pushes and glances at visual menus, dangerous while driving. Mobile phone usage is a known danger, with at least one study showing it is more dangerous to drive while talking on a mobile phone -- even hands-free phones -- than to drive while legally drunk (Strayer, Drews, & Crouch, 2006)."    (Continued via jnd.org)    [Usability Resources]

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