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Interaction Design Guest Lecture - UVA CS 3240
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Interaction Design Guest Lecture - UVA CS 3240

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Guest lecture for CS 3240 - Advanced Software Engineering at University of Virginia, by Colin Butler

Guest lecture for CS 3240 - Advanced Software Engineering at University of Virginia, by Colin Butler

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  • I chose to title this Interaction Design because while it isn’t the broadest of the disciplines discussed here, it is broad enough without becoming vague or partially irrelevant. IxD is the closest match I can think of to the set of concerns most relevant to software engineering and development.
  • Ergo…
  • Technically, the Venn diagram should be a 3D tetrahedron. Technically, it should also have about seven or more disciplines and be some kind of crazy 3D shape I don’t know the word for. But if it was a tetrahedron…User-centric design: allUsability design: IA, CP, GDUser experience design: allUser interface design: CP, GD, IDInteraction design: allHuman factors engineering: CP, ID, IAErgonomics: CP, IDTake questions.
  • Also: game systems. Before this generation, what was the UX of any system?Wii is fastest-selling system in history
  • N-Gage: side-talkin’ was part of the user experience, and that user experience was to feel like an idiot every time you tried to use your phone.
  • * Kindle is probably about to get beat up and have its lunch money stolen, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t have a very good user experience. User satisfaction has been good, and it wrote the book on modern e-readers with the concept of an available-anywhere bookstore, long battery life, and eye-friendly screen.
  • Allow me to digress.Emotional affect, by way of Don Norman: Consider a plank resting on two cinder blocks. Walk down it.Now raise it 200 ft. off the ground. It’s a different game, but shouldn’t be.Happy people think breadth-first, depressed/frustrated people think depth-first.Breadth-first tends to solve problems more easily.Happy person -> fewer problems -> more gooder
  • Misapplying a design pattern will often do far more harm than good.
  • Google Wave scrollbars are awful.So how do we feel about it? Ready to talk about making it happen? Any questions?
  • Not really “doing usability” but “implementing a user-centered design process”
  • If you’re Netflix, for example, it’s better not to have your developers refer to a “MailableInventoryItem” when they could just call it a “DVD”
  • With the definition of “mental model”, the goal becomes somewhat self-evident.Mental model: how your user perceives the system to work.
  • Office 2007 ribbon was usability tested using Powerpoint. When a user stated he “really liked that the mouse wheel changed tabs in the ribbon,” the designers ended up adding that functionality.
  • Usability professionals are still a good idea, but reading Rocket Surgery Made Easy will help more than it hurts for most.
  • Educate everyone on the teamConsider UX early and often (always)Information/Architecture - Each affects the other (not a fan of this bit-- fix?)Information: the contentArchitecture: the system displaying the contentFresh perspectives whenever possibleInterviews and user researchMarket surveys-- what is everyone else doing?Usability tests (fast and cheap)Hallway interviews and testsStay up to date with the current state of the art through research, conferences, etc.Know your user and let them design for youAlways ALWAYS involve users or representatives of the users if possibleUse the terminology they would use, even in developmentGet as much user input as possible
  • Also, http://www.colingrantbutler.com
  • http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.09/ppt2.htmlhttp://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0001yB


  • 1. Interaction Design
    Colin Butler
    BS Computer Science, NCSU
    MS Human-Computer Interaction, NCSU
    March 15 2010
  • 2. Many, many names
    User-centered design
    Usability design
    User experience design
    User interface design
    Interaction design
    Human factors engineering
    And more…
  • 3. Userbilitexperinterfactornomic Design
    Colin Butler
    BS Computer Science, NCSU
    MS Human-Computer Interaction, NCSU
    March 15 2010
  • 4. Making users happy
    Colin Butler
    BS Computer Science, NCSU
    MS Human-Computer Interaction, NCSU
    March 15 2010
  • 5. Incorporating the user into the design process is a good idea.
  • 6. A good idea is one that makes money.
  • 7. The money your business makes probably comes from the user.
  • 8. Incorporating the user into the design process is a good idea.
  • 9. Back to the names
    User-centered design
    Usability design
    User experience design
    User interface design
    Interaction design
    Human factors engineering
  • 10. What’s the upshot of it all?
    Well, it depends.
    Different people do different things for different projects.
  • 11. Why bother?
    What’s the dollar value of usability?
    It’s a [productivity/admin/reference/functional] tool, not a video game.
    The user can live with having a few extra clicks in there once in a while.
    What, do we get paid for each happy user?
  • 12. In an existing market
    Differentiate your product and gain the upper hand
  • 13. In a new market
    Do it right: land on your feet, make money
  • 14. Mint.com
    Personal finances online
  • 15. In a new market
    Do it wrong: crash, burn.
  • 16. User experience success stories
    Apple (OS X, iMac, MacBook, iPod, iPhone)
    Windows 7
    Flip Video
  • 17. Here’s where it gets interesting…
    “Attractive things work better.”
    Emotional Design, Donald Norman
  • 18. But how do you do it?
  • 19. There are 10 types of people in the world…
    Tradition vs. innovation
    Design patterns vs. novel interaction
    Old vs. new
  • 20. Stealing others’ work
  • 21. Design patterns
    No need to reinvent the wheel
    Scroll bar
    Preview pane
    And so on…
  • 22. Design patterns
    The work’s already been done
    Users are probably already familiar
    They’re patterns because they work
    Use these whenever possible.
    Caveat: Not everything has been solved, and you should NEVER use a design pattern to solve the WRONG problem.
  • 23. Novel interactions
    I’d list some, but they haven’t been invented yet.
  • 24. Novel interactions
    Tailored to a specific problem
    Can be fresh, exciting to a user
    Users still have to learn how to use it.
    Caveat: NEVER innovate for the sake of innovation.
  • 25. Doing usability in ∞easy steps
  • 26. Doin’ some usability, step one: Review
    Domain research and requirements gathering
    When in doubt, ask the users: interviews and surveys
    Pro tip: Develop your lexicon and live (i.e. develop) by it. Trust me, this will be useful later.
  • 27. Ergonomication, step two: Design
    a.k.a. “The fun part”
    The tools of the trade: mockups, prototypes, personas, and use cases
    The goal: create a mental model in your user that matches the operational model of your system as closely as possible.
    Buy a very large whiteboard.
  • 28. Human factoring, step three: Testing
    Test early, test often.
    Test during design: paper prototypes, interactive mockups
    Test during development: if it doesn’t crash the computer, explode your server, and erase your Tivo’ed episodes of Jersey Shore, you can put it through a usability test.
  • 29. Usabilitating, step three point five: Usability testing
    Very complicated, difficult, and highly involved process :
    Watch a user use stuff.
  • 30. Usabilitating, step three point five: Usability testing
    Ask the user to think out loud
    Stay removed unless help is absolutely needed
    Record as much as you can
    Cheap and easy usability testing:
    Rocket Surgery Made Easy by Steve Krug
  • 31. Best practices (or at least some Good Ones)
    Educate everyone on the team
    Consider UX early and often (always)
    Incorporate fresh perspectives whenever possible
    Know your user and let them design for you
  • 32. Questions?
    Thank you!
    Picture credits
    Flickr: clodius_maximus, Jeezny, KaworuKoneru, Move The Clouds, silgeo, Steve Wampler, Yannig Van de Wouwer
    Twitter: cbutlerUX
  • 33. Sidebar: PowerPoint is evil
    “PowerPoint is evil.” – Edward Tufte
    Bulleted hierarchy can alter information relationships.
    PowerPoint templates create gaudy, chaotic visuals.
    Low-density slides lead to information spanning time, whereas people consume information better visually.