Rettig.interface designislanguagedesign

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Rettig.interface designislanguagedesign

  1. 1. 14 February 2006New York chapterof theInteraction Design AssociationMarc RettigInteraction designis language design.
  2. 2. Marc RettigFit Associates, LLCwww.marcrettig.comwww.fitassociates.commarc@fitassociates.comHello.These slides were presented at the Februarymeeting of the New York City chapter of theInteraction Design Association (www.ixda.org).You’re free to circulate them and to use the ideas inyour own work, so long as you credit the author.These slides are more or less exactly the ones Ishowed, except they have these little notes on theside. I make slides to support the presentation, thenthey don’t make any sense for people who didn’tattend the talk. So I’ll try to “talk to you” byscribbling notes right over the slides….
  3. 3. Hey!?Since this is the “Interaction Designers’Association,” and not, say, a workshop on“How to Make a Killer Web Site,” Ithought I could get away with being non-prescriptive. Basically this talk is mesaying, “I came across some interestingideas, I thought they seemed important.I’m sharing what’s on my mind in caseyou want to think about it too.”
  4. 4. Might be important. Thisstuff is only gettingharder, and we justkeep winging it. Weneed theoreticalfoundations for ourmethods.When we’re honest with one another, we admit thatwe make design decisions from the gut, from theseat of our pants, way more often than we wouldlike. The work of interaction design lacks goodtheoretical foundations. No blame – it’s early, we’rejust getting started.But “winging it” is going to be less and less tenableas a way to work. Because of technical and socialtrends, the distance between control and response iswidening (inputs are becoming separated fromoutputs. The context of use is becoming lesspredictable for a lot of design challenges. Ourdesigns go out into an ecosystem of other devices,people, and protocols – they don’t stand alone theway we sometimes like to think.Wouldn’t it be nice if there were some foundationsfor our work that could guide decisions aboutchoices of symbols, prioritization of features,relative prominence of one thing over another?Wouldn’t it be nice if we had an underlying theoryto help us make sure our designs were going to fitpeople’s expectations for controls, feedback, pace,error-handling, and so on and on?I do not claim to offer such a foundation in this talk.This is much more humble. I’m just saying I lookedthrough this door, and it looked kind offoundational on the other side. I sniffed it, and itsmelled like it had rubbed up against somethingfundamental. Pick your metaphor.
  5. 5. Topic Page1. Descriptive linguistics 0.101 62. Design languages 153. Interaction languages 314. Speech acts and 49discourse modelsLet’s open the box and see what’s inside.By god, it’s an outline of this talk!
  6. 6. Descriptive Linguistics 0.101The first thing in this box of clues is a designer’sintroduction to a few concepts in linguistics. Theterminology I use sits about halfway between the waylinguists talk about language and the way I imagine wemight teach interface design if we were treating―interface linguistics‖ as one of the fundamental waysof understanding our work.So to warn you, if you say ―deep structure and surfacestructure‖ to a linguist, it will make his or her eyebrowsgo up and they’ll have a lot to say. If you say ―elements,constructs and compositions‖ to a linguist, it willprobably sound intriguing but unfamiliar. I don’t knowwhether I’ve helped or hampered your preparations forlinguist’s cocktail parties.
  7. 7. Layers of languageSurface Structure What we actually do when weuse language: text, voiceutterances, gestures, symbols,…Syntax and lexicon In our minds, in our culture,in the worldDeep Structure in your mind, in my mind.Same for you as for me?Who knows?Here is one way to look at howlanguage works. This framing gotits start with Noam Chomsky andhis Transformational Grammar.Though he and nearly everybodyelse have since moved on, I wantto set this up for its value inexplaining why I think the samething is going on with languagesfor interaction between peopleand systems.
  8. 8. key concept: surface structureSurface structure: language as spoken, written, orsigned; the result of a language in use — what peoplesee, hear, or do when they use a language to expressa particular meaning.I want cake.
  9. 9. key concept: deep structureDeep structure: what is in the mind when people uselanguage; the meaning that underlies surfacestructure.desire (self [singular], possess (self [singular],cake [edible object],time [present]))
  10. 10. One deep structure  many surface structuresdesire (self [singular], possess (self [singular],cake [edible object],time [immediately]))• /?ai uant kheikh/• I want cake• Cake is wanted by me• Cake, please• Do I see a piece of cake over there?• Ich wünsche Kuchen• Dude.• < point at cake, point at mouth, smile,wiggle eyebrows >deepstructuresurfacestructure
  11. 11. Ambiguity, oy.He passed the bar.Time flies like an arrow.I love you.A proposition: we don’t want our languages forinteraction to have the same power of expression ashuman languages. Ambiguity is just one example ofthe high cost of that power.A sentence so famous it hasits own Wikipedia entry!
  12. 12. Key concepts: Syntax and LexiconSyntax: You know, grammar. A set of rules by whichlanguage elements are assembled into validconstructs; by “valid,” I mean “sensible to peopleliterate in the language.”Lexicon: All the stuff a dictionary tries to explain, andmore. The set of symbols shared by speakers of alanguage, which map to a set of shared meanings.To communicate, you gotta have:• shared meanings• shared symbols
  13. 13. An over-simplified way to think about syntaxA language gives us:• A lexicon of atomic symbols – call them Elements.A word is an element.• Rules for assembling elements into larger Constructs,like sentences.• Rules and conventions for assembling constructs intoeven larger Compositions: essays, letters to mom,declarations of independence, fart jokes….Element: SpudsConstruct:She mashedthe spuds.Composition:Ode to a Potato-HeadI lie awakewhile he doth bake;Oh melting polystyrene visage!
  14. 14. ReviewA language defines a set of elements which tie asymbol in surface structure to a meaning in deepstructure. Elements are assembled into valid andmeaningful constructs according to the rules of agrammar. In turn, constructs may be assembledinto compositions, which make up a completewhole.And that concludes Linguistics 0.101.
  15. 15. DesignLanguagesWith that little set of terms and ideas behind us, let’slook at the idea of design languages. We’re sneakingup on our title topic one step at a time.John Rheinfrank and Shelley Evenson wrote aboutdesign languages in their chapter in the book,Bringing Design to Software. Industrial designerswork with ―form language‖ all the time, and brandingfolks develop ―brand languages.‖ Some of that workreally does live up to the name. (And the term is muchmore common now than it was when I first gave thistalk in 2006.)
  16. 16. a static design language: highway signsI first understood design languages through the example of highway signs. (First encountered throughClement Mok’s book, Designing Business.) Maybe this same example will help you. Lets talk abouthighway signs for a moment, and discover the well-formed structures used in their design.
  17. 17. A well-defined languageRichard Moeur: www.richardcmoeur.comIf you havent stopped to think about this or look at the specification, you might be surprised at how thoroughly thelanguage of highways signs is documented These are a few of the kinds of "sentences" in the language, from a sitethat documents it in detail. Each of these is a category of sign, a kind of expression in the language.
  18. 18. …with a detailed lexicon and grammarAs you can see, there is a lot of detail. Here weve clicked through to the details of the "W8" categoryof warning signs: bumps, dips, and pavement condition.
  19. 19. And here is another category, the category of Guide Signs. Behind each of these links is a detailed list likethe one we just saw. By the way, youd be amazed at how many sites there are about highway signs. Its alittle like trainspotting or something. There are fan sites. "Here are photos my brother and I took downhighway 12—we got all the state highway markers along the way." "I have all the state highway markers,with variations since 1965."
  20. 20. the language allows for variationLike "natural languages" (the term linguists and computer scientists usefor human languages, to distinguish them from "artificial languages" suchas Esperanto, and formal languages like those used for computerprogramming), the language of highway signs allows for some variationin how things are said.Heres an example: state highway markers. In the language, they must be ablack rectangle with a white field, displaying the number of the statehighway. But states often deviate from the recommended standard,usually by somehow representing their state on the sign: the shape of thestate (Arkansas, Arizona, etc.) or something symbolic (Pennsylvaniaskeystone, for example).
  21. 21. ELEMENTS of highway sign languageshape, color, symbol, text, position relative to road
  22. 22. Constructs in highway signishelement:S-curve aheadelement:Warningconstruct:Warning: S-curve ahead+ =
  23. 23. Syntax for Highway Signish• There are rules for making “sentences” in the language ofhighway signs• Shape and color are used as redundant cues (octagonsalways red, triangles always yellow)• Some use of layers (the “no” symbol)• There are rules for relative position of text & symbol• This grammar is formally codified
  24. 24. Writing and readingDeep structure Surface structureIn one mile the road splits;fork left for U.S. interstate 10,fork right for U.S. interstate 17You are driving on U.S. interstate 17;In one mile, this highway entersthe Phoenix city limitsWhen the highway department wants to say something, they translate a ―deep‖semantic structure or intent into surface structure – a construct in HighwaySignish. If you’re literate in the language, seeing a sign evokes deep structures inyou that are hopefully what the highway department intended.
  25. 25. Compositions in highway signish
  26. 26. …and my personal favorite
  27. 27. Applying this language – using it to create clear, accurate, usable constructsand compositions that millions of people will use every day while guiding tons offamily-bearing metal down the road at high speed – is serious craft.These are from the MissouriDepartment of TransportationEngineering Policy Guide, ―903.8Freeway and Expressway GuideSigns‖epg.modot.org/index.phptitle=903.8_freeway_and_expressway_guide_signsAnother source for the curious isthe U.S. Department ofTransportation Federal HighwayAdministrationFreeway Management andOperations Handbookops.fhwa.dot.gov/freewaymgmt/publications/frwy_mgmt_handbook/
  28. 28. Eye candy: ask google images about ―highway interchange‖(and imagine you were hired as an ―interface designer‖ in this field; could be kinda fun!)
  29. 29. highway signs: compositions• There are rules and conventions for creating goodcompositions; for example, the spacing and positioning ofsigns relative to the road• Many layers of concern are woven into a single composition:guidance, warning, regulatory advisories, etc.• There is a grammar for compositions as well as constructs, butit is looser, allows more room for in-context innovation. There isart to creating a great composition (there is an annual awardfor highway interchange design).
  30. 30. Design languages are commonNantucket housesunconscious languagePhotocopiersconscious language
  31. 31. ReviewWe are surrounded by “design languages.” Most ofthem suffer from a lack of being designed-as-languages. They are full of irregularities that makethem difficult to “read,” to learn and remember.Still, they fit today’s definition of real languages. Theymap a lexicon of symbols to a set of underlyingmeanings. They use symbols in combination(constructs) to communicate complex meanings.
  32. 32. InteractionLanguagesNow we’ve learned a little about languages ingeneral, and we’ve had an introduction to designlanguages. What might we mean by ―interfacelanguages‖ or ―interaction languages?‖
  33. 33. Interaction as conversationWhen you design an interactive product, you are creatingthe setting for thousands of conversations. You are creatingthe language which will be spoken between the productand the person.
  34. 34. By this point in the presentation, you’re a freshly-minted interaction linguist. What can you say about the interplay betweendeep and surface structures here? How about the elements and constructs of the design language?
  35. 35. Some of the things my remote control lets me sayPlay Stop CH + CH - A-B Repeat 10 
  36. 36. interaction languages: good & bad newsGood news: because we design them consciously,and because we can spend time up frontunderstanding the conversations we seek to enable,interaction languages can be far less messy thannatural languages• vocabulary just the right size• less ambiguity• designed for quick path to literacy• build on people’s knowledge of other languages
  37. 37. More good news: information technology gives us allsorts of ways to build explicit representations of theunderlying semantics, and use them to drive thebehavior of the interface. Woohoo!interaction languages: good & bad news
  38. 38. “Watch the Simpsons on seven.”turn on TV tune to channel 7TVon/off statecurrent channelprevious channelcurrent inputvolume setting…Channelnumbercurrent programcall sign[network]…Programtitle…TimeSlotdatestart time…semanticslexicon and (hidden, invisible) syntaxpragmatics, discoursesurface structureWhen I get down in thislayer, I tend to think in termsof object models.
  39. 39. I want cake.yes, you can have some nowyes, you can have some laterno, the cake is all goneno. you can’t afford cake.Bad news: interaction languages are morecomplicated than static design languages.We have to account for both sides of the conversation!interaction languages: good & bad news
  40. 40. <click>Want to hear a littleproject story?[ ] Yes [ ] No
  41. 41. Brian Herzfeldt and I did an―ingredients-to-soup‖interaction design project for amedical software productscompany named Vassol. A fullcase study of this work waspublished in the DUX 2003Proceedings, and you can findthat article on my site:www.marcrettig.com/vassol-case-study/At this point in original talk, Iused that work as an example ofthe practice of creating aninteraction language. I’ve leftthose slides out because theywon’t do you much goodwithout me explainingeverything.The nut: we inventoried themeanings to be shared betweenthe users and the underlyingsystem – both nouns and verbs.And we inventoried theessential speech acts thatneeded to happen betweendifferent roles who use the tool.And we built out the interfaceand interaction from there.
  42. 42. Linguistics 0.102:Speech acts anddiscourse modelsWe could stop there and go for beer. What we’vecovered so far is about all I can say I really have triedto apply in practice. But there’s lots more to explore,and I think there’s a lot more useful foundation thatcould be worked out, with very general usefulnessand applicability. So let’s have a look at some otherideas from linguistics….
  43. 43. another promising concept: speech actsA speech act is a construct (i.e., a single assembly ofelements) that affects some change in the world, orcommunicates something about the state of thespeaker.for example:“I now pronounce you man and wife.”“Save this file.”Their importance for interaction design: they are thebuilding blocks of interaction, because they bundlesubject and verb, or subject, verb and object. If you getthe deep and surface structures of the essential speechacts right, and you have a good framework forgenerating compositions, you’re on the path to glory.
  44. 44. John SearleFive things you can do with an utterance:• Assert: Commit the speaker (in varying degrees) tosomething being the case -- to the truth of theexpressed proposition.• Direct (request): Attempt (in varying degrees) to getthe hearer to do something. These include bothquestions (which can direct the hearer to make anassertive speech act in response) and commands(which direct the hearer to carry out some linguistic ornon-linguistic act).• Commit (promise): Commit the speaker (again invarying degrees) to some future course of action.• Declare: Bring about the correspondence betweenthe propositional content of the speech act andreality (e.g., pronouncing a couple married).• Express: Express a psychological state about a state ofaffairs (e.g., apologizing and praising).
  45. 45. ―Meet me at three.‖
  46. 46. This slide requires quite a bit of explanation,and it’s not completely baked. At the time Iwrote these slides I was playing with slot-and-filler frameworks for the linguistics ofinteraction languages.The insight here is that the speech act ―Meetme at three‖ is an instance of a particulargenre of request. The idea is that we couldsort out the speech acts for the particularinteractions we’re designing for. My gut saysthere probably isn’t a very large number ofthem for most interfaces. Maybe in thisexample if we’re trying to help two peopleget together, there is meet-request,negotiation-turn, commitment, confirmation,and denial. And by the way, those samethings are likely to show up in lots ofdifferent products and services. We should beable to get pretty far with a relatively smallnumber of speech acts!Then for each of those speech acts we couldwork out slots and possible fillers, and we’dbe on the trail of a syntax.The diagram here is a work-in-progressexample of what a set of slots and possiblefillers might look like for a ―meet me‖ speechact.<recipient> meet me <where> <when>
  47. 47. One habit I’ve formed because of this thinking,one design implication for me: I always ask,What does this product have to say to people?What is it willing to respond to?
  48. 48. Tea kettle speech acts―I have water in me, and it is <this temperature>‖If you think you’ve identified a speech act, and you know somethingabout its underlying semantics, then you can play with the vocabulary itmight use to express the range of meanings. Is the actual numerictemperature the useful thing? It’s not that clear to most people. Is 180Ftoo hot to touch? What’s a good temperature for my child’s chocolate?Maybe exterior temperature and liquid temperature are two differentthings to talk about. How does it say, ―Watch out! I’m too hot to touch!‖?Quick note about a big topic: doing this well involves an aesthetic I might call―alignment‖ – our work can produce either practical and aesthetic coherence ormismatch between the surface expression and the underlying meanings. When whatwe see, hear and feel is well aligned with the meaning, the result is beautiful.
  49. 49. Originally speech act theory talked mostly aboutthese acts as little independent units of action.Since then it has gotten a lot more interesting,and I think a lot more useful, as people marriedspeech act theory with discourse analysis tomake models of dialog.
  50. 50. Conversation for action, Winograd and FloresWinograd, T., & Flores, F. (1986). Understandingcomputers and cognition. Norwood/NJ: AblexThe first half of this book is somewhat philosophical, and may or may not be your kettleof tea. The second half is where, if this stuff interests you, you might find some tasty cakes.
  51. 51. Conversation for action,Winograd and Flores2 Winograd and Flores "Conversation for Action" modelWinograd and Flores [1986] proposed a theoretical foundation for conversational analysis which combines a hermeneutic orientation with concepts of the philosophyof language.They motivate their emphasis on the pragmatic aspects of interpersonal communication with their basic conception of language and cognition: The meaning ofutterances is construed during the course of social communication; knowledge is not built up via transfer of information (representations of objects in a world), but it isthe result of an interpretation in context. Thus, the social dimension is seen as essential for conversational analysis. Winograd and Flores regard the theory of speechacts (put forward by Austin [1962] and Searle [1979], and Habermas theory of action [Habermas 1981]) to be initial steps towards an adequate theory of meaning, asthese theories emphasize "language as action" (in contrast to the representational function of language). They state that in human-human conversation talking andlistening are vehicles for the expression of behavioral expectations, building up a complex web of mutual commitments to determine the course of a conversation.(§9) According to Winograd and Flores it is only on this level that the structure of conversations can be formally described. In their view, other levels are - on principle -inaccessible to formalization. We do not adhere to such a strong point of view, but prefer to regard their approach as an attempt to describe the pragmatic aspectsof a conversation, while other aspects/levels should be taken into consideration as well.(§10) As a prototypical example of cooperative dialogue Winograd and Flores present a so-called "Conversation for Action". They propose a model (here referred toas the "CfA model"), which describes possible sequences of dialogue acts and their interplay in progressive dialogue states. The dialogue genre is a two-partynegotiation of one partners intended - extra-dialogic - action and the other partners evaluation of the result. The CfA model is the basis for the implementation of the"Coordinator", which is a mail system for the support of cooperative work in groups [cf. Winograd, 1988].(§11) The CfA model is represented as the traversal of a state-transition network (Figure 1) with arcs representing speech acts and nodes representing dialogue states.The dialogue is initiated by partner A with a `request, which may be followed by Bs `promise to comply; Bs proposal of a different action (`counter); Bs `reject tocomply; or As own `withdraw of his previous request, etc.Figure 1: The basic "Conversation for Action" [Winograd and Flores, 1986, p. 65](§12) In this way, each of As or Bs actions gives rise to a new state, which is defined by its history and by its action space (the set of possible follow-up actions). Thecircles printed in boldface represent terminal states with no further action space. They differ from the non-terminal states only by the path that led to them. Eventransitions with no corresponding utterance in the dialogue are allowed and can be interpreted as acts, i.e., the dialogue is continued as if the speech act had beenuttered. For example, consent can often be inferred without an explicit "I agree" or "Im contented". Winograd and Flores call such acts "implicit dialogue acts". On thelevel of representation, these are `jumps, which are entered into the dialogue history as regular (empty) transitions.(§13) If neither participant quits the dialogue prematurely, at some time the state of mutual acceptance of the requested extra-dialogic action is achieved (state<3>). This state can be followed by Bs `assert (transition <3-4>) to express that his commitment has been met, but it is also possible for B to `renege or for A to`withdraw his directive. In state <4>, only A can respond, either by an evaluation (one of the `declare acts), or by a `withdraw act.(§14) Winograd and Flores had straightforward and simply structured conversations in mind. More complex paths or cycles are possible at two positions only:exchange of `counter acts (transitions <2-6>), or As non-acceptance of Bs report of execution (transition <4-3>). Embedded clarification dialogues or meta-leveldialogues are not addressed by the CfA model.Here. Read all about it. ―Figure 1‖ is the diagram on the previous slide.
  52. 52. Conversation for action, Winograd and FloresInteresting thing 1People are at least subconsciously aware of this “script.” It’snot “against the rules” to answer a request with a rejection or acounter. There are acceptable ways to do either.Why is it so rare for our systems to answer with a counter?“I can’t give you that, but I could give you B instead.” Instead,they tend to say ―I can’t help you,‖ which is rude if they reallycould offer B, or serve up B anyhow as though it was what youasked for, which amounts to a broken promise.
  53. 53. Interesting thing 2You can use this diagram (and ones like it) to identify pointsof potential breakdown. “Communication disorders”Unanswered request. unfulfilled promise. etc.Conversation for action, Winograd and FloresMy friend Tom Morgan once did this exercise for the service transactions at a gas company. He found aplace where, at the end of a phone conversation with a service representative, customers believed theyhad just heard a promise but the system had no memory of having made that promise.
  54. 54. Interface built on a dialog modelA Conversational Model of Multimodal InteractionAdelheit Stein, Ulrich Thielhttp://ame2.asu.edu/faculty/dab/classes/interactiveTechFall04/papers/stein93conversational.pdf
  55. 55. Sitter and Stein, Conversational Roles (COR) Model
  56. 56. Dialog models can get a lot morehairy than the Conversation forAction model. People have beenout there cooking up notationsfor them. I’m not sure… …this isworth digging in to andunderstanding if we’re seekingfoundations for interactiondesign. But it might possibly be arabbit hole.
  57. 57. So?• The notion of a schema for certain types ofdialog, such as a “request for information dialog”,seems very powerful.• What if our devices, or… dare I say it… even ouroperating systems, knew the dialog schema,could detect breakdowns such as unfulfilledpromises or requests going without response?• Dude.
  58. 58. Time to wrap upMy main points• At the very least, it can be useful for interaction designers tolook at design challenges as an exercise in language design,and to look at their designs in use as dialogs in that language.• I suspect that a little hard work might tease out methods wewould all find useful. To me the dialog models are promising.• We must tie our “surface structures” to the underlyingmeanings/deep structures in the software. But a directmapping is shallow, confusing, sucky. Working in this waycould lead to interesting collaborations with developers.• Basically, I think there’s a pony in there. No one has dug it outjust yet.• And hey, this isn’t only for software, and it isn’t only aboutverbal and visual language. It’s for physical forms, motion,gesture,… anything that expresses meaning.
  59. 59. Thank you.Well, that’s done.Hey thanks. It’s nice to beable to talk about this stuff.
  60. 60. But there’smore!Ridiculous.Since I’m putting this up on theweb (finally), I thought I wouldtack some scraps, parts, andsuch onto the end. It’s going toget less coherent from here onout. You’re mostly on yourown.
  61. 61. Creoles everywhereWe are increasingly mixing elements of interaction designlanguage with human language. For example:• Underlining just about any word to show it is a control forfollowing a “link” (an entry in the lexicon of languages forinteraction which is making its way into the dictionaries ofspoken language)• Making photographs and images controls for following links.• But there are many kinds of links, for which we are missingshared meanings and conventional design languagevocabulary. For example, this page treats links to categoriesexactly like links to detail pages. Different meaning, samelinguistic element.Is that good or bad?
  62. 62. playing with analysis – an example
  63. 63. elements• squares• mines• flags• numbers• timer• remaining mine counter• game control
  64. 64. deep structure
  65. 65. constructs• the playing grid• the status bar• the menus• the behavior of a square inresponse to mouse clicks!! Hey… It seems useful to think of apackage of behaviors as alinguistic construct—a fragmentof a conversation. A series ofanimations is a “sentence.” Ananimated state change is a“sentence.” The ripple of statechanges across theMinesweeper board is practicallya whole paragraph.
  66. 66. the power of language• the same underlying structures can generate manysurface structures• that is, you could build many games from the identicalunderlying abstractions. Simply swap lexicons, and youcan “converse” about something new.minesweeper bunny hunt
  67. 67. Minesweeper Minesweeper 3D Bunny HuntPropertiesSize Size of window Size of 3D landscape Size of windowSquares Tiles in the window Faint grid on landscape Faint grid in the “grass”Sought-afterobjectLittle mine pictures Buzz of sound from your mine-detectorCute little bunny picturesHiddensquareA clickable 3d tile A rectangle of realistic landscape A cute little plot of grassBehaviorsMark asquarePut a “flag” or question markon a squarePull a stake from your belt withyellow or red ribbon. Stick it inthe ground.Put a cute little carrot or a cute littlestuffed bunny in a square.Click onunmarkedsought-afterobjectMine “explodes” – turnsbright red.Loud explosion effect, body partsfly all over.A cute little bunny hops away, everso cutelyWin game Timer stops, smiley face getsshadesYou reach the far side of the field,your drill instructor shouts praisesin your faceAll the cute little bunnies come out toeat the cute little carrots. Bells jinglefaintly.
  68. 68. For a while I was gathering photographs of as many ATM interfaces as I could, takingpictures of each step of the same transaction. It seems like a good idea to gather abunch of data like this, because it’s a way to look at many different surface structures(generated from different ―lexicons‖ and ―syntaxes‖) for essentially the sameunderlying semantics and social context. This effort stopped when I left CMU.
  69. 69. Dad’s phone Son’s phoneYes, this is what my phonelooked like in 2003.
  70. 70. what people see and do in real life: adult heat water for own tea at homeWorking toward alignment: annotating task stepsrequiredinformationrequiredknowledge orskillspeople,relationshipscharacteristicsof successbarriers tosuccessterminologycognitive taskongoingconcernsRetrievefromstorage ordisplayFill withwaterPlace onstoveTurn onheatWait untilboilingPour:•pot•Cup•Keep hotfor later, or•Allow tocool
  71. 71. zooming in on one task, just for examplerequired information Awareness that water is heating. Awareness that water has reached desiredtemperature. Question: typical kettles issue alert only for boiling temperature.This is different than say, the temperature for a young child’s cocoa. Do peoplerequire information about current water temperature? If so, in what units (sincemany people don’t know their desired tea temperature in degrees)?required knowledge or skills Appropriate temperature for making teapeople, relationships Others in the room and the house. Note the conflict of interest betweensufficient notification and reluctance to disturb others.characteristics of success Wait time < max threshold (TBD). No one is injured. Tea kettle and stove areundamaged. Tea-maker is aware that water is hot enough for tea. Others inhouse are not annoyed, perhaps even pleased.barriers to success No water in kettle. Water is boiling, but tea-maker is unaware. In worse case thisalso leads to a flame under a kettle with no liquid. Stove heat set too low,extending time or making desired temperature impossible. If people (especiallychildren) are unaware that the kettle is getting hot, they could burn themselves.Impatience could cause someone to stop the process before the desiredtemperature is reached.terminologycognitive task Monitoring. Peripheral awareness. Time estimation. For cooking tasks, possiblecoordination with other processes.ongoing concerns Safety. No damage to appliances, utensils, or surfaces. Adequately fast heatingtime.Wait until water is boiling
  72. 72. what people see and do in real life: heat water for teatechnology, materials, information, capabilitiesWorking toward alignment: align product qualities with stepsRetrievefromstorage ordisplayFill withwaterPlace onstoveTurn onheatWait untilboilingPour:•pot•cupKeep hotfor laterORAllow tocoolFits std stove,cupboard.Range of sizes?Handle.Good sizeopening, ontop, room to fitunder spigotwhile holdinghandle.Weight? Grip?Fits std burner.Room for otherpots on stove.Can seeflame, burner.Heatprooffinish.Confirmation?Minimize burns.Indication heatingis in progress.Temperatureindication? Goodconductivity.Pleasant alert.Adjustable volumeon alert.Pour withoutspilling.Balances wellin hand. Gripwith wethands.Weight? Grip?Minimizeburns.Retains heat.Minimize burns.Indication thatit is hot? Hardto tip over.Does not spilleasily.
  73. 73. what people see and do in real life:heat water for tea -- wait until boilingform, appearance,controls, behaviortechnology, materials,information, capabilitiesNow we can design the language of the product, aligning its deep qualitiesand capabilities with symbols that communicate those meanings wellMinimize burns. Indicationheating is in progress.Temperature indication?Good conductivity. Pleasantalert. Adjustable volume onalert. Also consider ―heat isturned on‖ indication.

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