Designing Smart and Clever Applications

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Talk given at Voices That Matter: Web Design in 2009. Although the examples are from web, it is equally (if not more) applicable to desktop, device, and mobile applications as well.

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Designing Smart and Clever Applications

  1. Average 1999 PC CPU Speed: 200mhz RAM: 32mb (max 256mb) Storage: 3.5gb
  2. Average 2009 PC CPU Speed: 2.3ghz RAM: 1gb (max 4gb) Storage: 160gb
  3. Average 2009 Server CPU Speed: 2ghz RAM: 8gb (max 128gb) Storage: 73gb (max 1tb)
  4. Our response: K size of websites triple! Layout now 1024 x 768! Ajax! Flash! Flex!
  5. Dan Saffer Kicker Studio Designing Smart and Clever Applications
  6. Smart (adj.): 1. Prevent users from making mistakes. 2. Prevent users from working harder than they need to. 3. Do things that are easy for computers but hard for humans.
  7. 1. Prevent mistakes
  8. Poka-Yoke Ensure that proper conditions exist before a process begins, preventing problems before they happen.
  9. Error messages The system should never present an error message to a user unless the user has done everything right but the system itself cannot respond correctly.
  10. Give users info or tools to fix problems
  11. 2. Prevent users from working harder than they need to Take over some (if not all) of the complexity of the task.
  12. Tesler’s Law of the Conservation of Complexity 1. In every process, there is some inherent complexity. 2. There is a point beyond which you cannot simplify a process any further. 3. At that point, you can only move the complexity from place to place.
  13. Find the complexity the system should handle 1. Figure out what the core complexity is. 2. Figure out what parts of that complexity users might want control over, and when. 3. Put in those controls (out of the way if possible).
  14. 3. Do what humans have trouble doing but computers can do easily: 1. Rapidly performing computation. 2. Doing several tasks simultaneously. 3. Infallibly remembering things. 4. Detecting complicated patterns.
  15. Several tasks simultaneously
  16. Clever (adj.): 1. Predict the needs of users and then fulfill those needs in unexpected, but pleasant ways. 2. Create the “Long Wow.” 3. Release delight via adaptation.
  17. 1. Predicting and fulfilling needs 1. User research 2. Product testing 3. Data 4. Be a really good designer (heuristic evaluation)
  18. User research
  19. Product/prototype testing
  20. Data
  21. Fixing pain points 1. Too many clicks/actions/steps. 2. Huh? Why am I doing this? 3. What just happened? 4. Did anything just happen? 5. I can’t find what I’m looking for. 6. I don’t know where I am. 7. You just did what to my data? 8. If I click this, what happens? 9. I didn’t see that button. 10. What do I do now?
  22. 2. The Long Wow A means to achieving long-term customer loyalty through systematically impressing your customers again and again. Brandon Schauer
  23. 3. Release delight via adaptation
  24. The Glass Wall (BBC)
  25. The rules of adaptation 1. Appropriate for context. 2. Nothing dumb (meaning un-Smart). 3. Value subtlety. 4. Evolve over long periods of time. 5. Use what the user is already doing. 6. Use what the userS are already doing. 7. Look for places to use system memory. 8. Do more than is required.
  26. What changes? XML, Copy, Graphics RSS, SOAP CSS, AJAX, Controls APIs, Functionality, Middleware Servers, Databases
  27. Use existing user behavior Settings suck. Forms suck. Beware The Last Mile of Data!
  28. Smart (adj.): 1. Prevent users from making mistakes. 2. Prevent users from working harder than they need to. 3. Do things that are easy for computers but hard for humans.
  29. Clever (adj.): 1. Predict the needs of users and then fulfill those needs in unexpected, but pleasant ways. 2. Create the “Long Wow.” 3. Release delight via adaptation.
  30. Thanks. dan@kickerstudio.com @odannyboy

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