Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Is there a generation gap for user experience?

Younger people may need different UI's ...

"I saw this post by Robert Scoble that got me thinking about user experience and the different expectations that seem to come with different generations. In this case it was Joost. Robert hated the fact that Joost took up the whole screen and made it difficult to find the off button; all things that usability gurus would deplore. But Patrick, Robert's 13 year old son, loved it and thought it was cool and interesting.

Just take a look at sites like Zelda's Minish Cap or Harry Potter. Mostly built in Flash, these sites that the next generation flocks to seem to follow none of the usability guidelines that have helped steer the web and applications. There is a big difference between a website designed to market and a spreadsheet application, but for a younger generation, the web is fun. It's about exploring hidden parts of a website or thinking about things in new ways.

As Rich Internet Applications move into the realm of marketing, and the blurring between "productivity application" and "rich media" application becomes more fuzzy, we're going to need to rethink what usability really means. Increasingly, as today's web-enabled generation grows up, the old definitions aren't going to hold. With RIAs, we have a chance to let our creative side rethink the usability of our applications. Being able to differentiate the experience, as Joost does, will attract a valuable segment of the population. Applications based on the browser don't give us that ability, and while that may be fine for this generation, the tech savvy youngsters are going to seek out more advanced user interfaces and create new definitions of usability."    (Continued via ZDNet.com)    [Usability Resources]

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