Windmills NES2013 Keynote
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Windmills NES2013 Keynote

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We know so much about how people think and yet we are not applying this when we make things for people (especially software). Here I explore the concept of preconceived ideas that makers have about......

We know so much about how people think and yet we are not applying this when we make things for people (especially software). Here I explore the concept of preconceived ideas that makers have about people and how that affects the way they approach the design and rationalize peoples' reaction to their products.

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  • The title is from the story of Don Quixote who is an idealist and fighter who sets out to change the world. In the first chapters he and his loyal sidekick Sancho Pancha come upon a field of windmills. There is a fog and Don Quixote is confused and the he will fight these evil giants, it is a noble thing to remove these foul souls from earth.

    In a way I have also drawn my sword against my windmills. And many will say that my fight is ideal, even naïve and certainly impractical. That I am quixotic. But I think the fight is important enough to continue tilting.

    Let me tell you why.

  • We know so much about people, their size, their strength, their cognitive abilities. A lot of this we have known for quite a while. Sure we are stills discovering how people react to new technology, but for the most part, the basic stuff, we have known for decades. 
  • And I know I don’t need to show you many examples. You know what I am talking about. Software is my industry so I am speaking from that point of view and I don’t want to overreach my conclusions or thoughts but maybe you can also find some harmony with your industry and your experiences.
  • But to me it is amazing that this still happens. To me this shouldn’t happen. We know enough about people and how they react to things and technology to not create a car dashboard that people struggle with while driving. It’s down right dangerous. The solution is SO obvious to me.

  • Pointing out the flaws of this system to its makers resulted in the product owner looking at me and saying “Well, we were assuming that the users were above medium intelligence.”

  • I want to draw an analogy between software makers and construction companies. Years ago it was normal to think that it was the responsibility of each worker to stay safe on the construction site. But not any more. We turned to the construction companies and government regulators and lobbied against this idea, by highlighting that the safety of all the workers is a systems problem, not an individuals responsibility. You only have to visit a construction site that is not in the Western world to appreciate what difference this makes.

  • So I’m calling upon us as practitioners and as academics to do the same for the software industry. To accept the quest of shifting the responsibility for being able to succeed using any kind of software from the individual software user to the makers of software.

    Of course any construction worker knows that they have to be careful and apply themselves, but it’s the companies responsibility to keep the site safe. And in the same way here, of course the individual user has to apply themselves, but the software makers need to make sure that that is enough for them so have a good shot at succeeding.

    We have started a little bit with regulating accessibility (with section 508 in the US and similar laws in the EU). But we need more.
  • I would like to think that I am not alone in my fight with the windmills. That it is not as impractical and idealistic as people have made me believe but something that we must accomplish. With you by my side I have a much better chance!

    Thank youj

Transcript

  • 1. 1 August 13, 2013 Magga Dora Ragnarsdottir Senior Experience Designer maggadora@madpow.com @maggadora NES 2013 TILTING AT WINDMILLS: GETTING MAKERS TO UNDERSTAND THE VALUE OF DESIGNING FOR PEOPLE
  • 2. Gustave Doré
  • 3. WEKNOWSOMUCHABOUTPEOPLE
  • 4. AND STILL WE SEE STUFF LIKE THIS
  • 5. • 3-5 more examples
  • 6. WHY?
  • 7. Hypothesis 1 MAKERS OF SOFTWARE DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT PEOPLE
  • 8. MAKERS OF SOFTWARE DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT PEOPLE HAVE PRECONCEIVED IDEAS ABOUT PEOPLE. Hypothesis 2
  • 9. Persona: Eugene, my user Summary: A person whose thoughts and actions are rational and reasonable. Intelligence above medium. Expected behavior: Uses my software and succeeds in every attempt.“This user interface works perfectly!”
  • 10. Persona: Homer, homo oeconomicus Summary: A person who attempts to maximize utility as a consumer and economic profit as a producer. Expected behavior: Makes all decisions rationally and without emotion. “The best possible action for me is to buy low and sell high.”
  • 11. Persona: Eugene, my user Summary: A person whose thoughts and actions are rational and reasonable. Intelligence above medium. Expected behavior: Uses my software and succeeds in every attempt.“This user interface works perfectly!”
  • 12. What does that mean? THE MAKER OF THE SOFTWARE ISN’T RESPONSIBLE
  • 13. What do we do about it? MAKE THE SOFTWARE MAKERS UNDERSTAND THEIR RESPONSIBILITY
  • 14. Gustave Doré