WORKING THROUGH SCREENS100 ideas for envisioning 143 page .pdf / 11’’X17” Application Concepting Series No. 1powerful, engaging, and productive With over 100 Illustrations, including examples from architecture, Also available in .htmluser experiences clinical research, and financial trading. and “Idea Cards” formats at www.FlashbulbInteraction.com By Jacob Burghardtin knowledge work A publication of FLASHBULB INTERACTION, Inc.
FRONT MATTER | FRAMING THE PROBLEM WORKING THROUGH SCREENS 2 The category of human efforts sometimes called “knowledge work” is growing. Knowledge workers are valued for their specialized intellectual skills and their ability to act on and with complex information in goal oriented ways. In many contexts, the idea of knowledge work has become almost synonymous with using a computer, to both positive and negative effect. Product teams creating computing tools for specialized workers struggle to understand what is needed and to successfully satisfy a myriad of constraints. As a result of the design deﬁciencies in these interactive products, people experience many frustrations in their working lives. Noticeable deﬁciencies, along with the ones that have invisibly become the status quo, can lower the quality and quantity of workers’ desired outputs. With so many people in front of so many screens — attempting to practice their chosen professions — these deﬁciencies have real costs.
FRONT MATTER | FRAMING THE PROBLEM WORKING THROUGH SCREENS 3 Needed Mismatched Hard Overly ﬂexible Typical Awkwardly dynamic Inconsistent Distracting Boring Circuitous Replaceable + + + ++ + + + + + + +
FRONT MATTER | FRAMING THE PROBLEM WORKING THROUGH SCREENS 4 Collectively, we have an infrastructural sense of what these technologies can + be that tends to limit our ability to imagine better offerings. Targeted improvements in the design of these tools can have large impacts on workers’ experiences. Visionary design can advance entire ﬁelds and industries. At a basic level, applications can “ﬁt” the working cultures that they are designed for, rather than forcing unwanted changes in established activities. They can augment rather than redeﬁne. When workers alter their culture to adopt a new computing tool, it can be solely because that tool provides new meaning and value in their practices. Going further, elegantly designed applications can become a joy to use, providing an empowering, connective sense of direct action and a pleasing sensory environment for people to think “within.” Product teams can make signiﬁcant progress toward these aims by changing how they get started on designing their products — by beginning with an emphasis on getting to the right design strategy and design concepts long before getting to the right design details. It is time to start holistically envisioning exemplary new tools for thought that target valuable intersections of work activity and technological possibility.
FRONT MATTER | FRAMING THE PROBLEM WORKING THROUGH SCREENS 5 Wanted Meaningful Engaging Clearly targeted Extraordinary Eye opening Dependable activity infrastructure Domain grounded Mastery building Irreplaceable Beautiful + ++ + + ++ + + +++ +
FRONT MATTER | PROPOSED HIGH LEVEL APPROACH WORKING THROUGH SCREENS 6 Suggestions for product teams: Extensive concepting, Deliberately spend more time envisioning, at a high level, what your interactive application could be and how it could become valued infrastructure in work activities. based on intensive Do not assume that a compelling knowledge work tool will arise solely questioning, from the iterative aggregation of many discrete decisions during the long haul of a product development process. driving visionary, Create a divergent ecosystem of concepts for your product’s big picture collaboratively and primary experiences. deﬁned strategies Examine the potential value of reusing expected design conventions — for exemplary tools while at the same time ideating potential departures and differentiated offerings. for thought. Explore a breadth of directions and strategies before choosing a course. Plan on staying true to the big ideas imbedded in the concepts that your team selects, while knowing that those ideas will evolve along the way to becoming a reality.
FRONT MATTER | PROPOSED HIGH LEVEL APPROACH WORKING THROUGH SCREENS 7 Extensive concepting, Suggestions for product teams: Ask more envisioning questions, both within your team and within your targeted markets. based on intensive questioning, Develop empathy for knowledge workers by going into the ﬁeld to inform your notions of what your product could become. Stimulate conversations with this book and other sources relevant to driving visionary, the topic of mediating knowledge work with technology. collaboratively Find and explore situations that are analogous to the work practices deﬁned strategies that your team is targeting. for exemplary tools Keep asking questions until you uncover driving factors that resonate. for thought. Create visual models of them. Focus your team on these shared kernels of understanding and insight. Lay the groundwork for inspiration.
FRONT MATTER | PROPOSED HIGH LEVEL APPROACH WORKING THROUGH SCREENS 8 Extensive concepting, Suggestions for product teams: Use design thinking to expand upon and transform your product’s based on intensive high level mandates and strategy. questioning, Continually explore the strategic implications of your team’s most inspiring ideas about mediating knowledge work. driving visionary, Make projections and connections in the context of key trends and collaboratively today’s realities. deﬁned strategies Think end to end, as if your product was a service, either literally or in spirit. for exemplary tools Build and extend brands based on the user experiences that your for thought. team is striving to make possible — and how your product will deliver on those promises. Envision what knowledge workers want and need but do not articulate when confronted with a blank canvas or a legacy of unsatisfactory tools. Invite workers to be your collaborators, maintaining a healthy level of humility in the face of their expertise.
FRONT MATTER | PROPOSED HIGH LEVEL APPROACH WORKING THROUGH SCREENS 9 Extensive concepting, Suggestions for product teams: Dive into the speciﬁc cognitive challenges of knowledge workers’ based on intensive practices in order to uncover new sources of product meaning questioning, and value. Set higher goals for users’ experiences. driving visionary, collaboratively Envision “ﬂashbulb interactions” in targeted activities — augmenting deﬁned strategies interactions that could make complex conclusions clear or open new vistas of thought. Explore how carefully designed stimuli and behaviors within onscreen for exemplary tools tools might promote emotional responses that are conducive to attentive, focused thinking. for thought. Surpass workers’ expectations for the potential role of computing in their mental lives. Raise the bar in your targeted markets, and with it, the bar for all knowledge work tools.
FRONT MATTER | PROPOSED HIGH LEVEL APPROACH WORKING THROUGH SCREENS 10 Extensive concepting, based on intensive + questioning, driving visionary, collaboratively deﬁned strategies for exemplary tools for thought. This phrase embodies a suggested overall approach for product teams envisioning new or improved interactive applications for knowledge work. In support of this suggested approach, this book contains 100 ideas — along with many examples and questions — to help product teams generate design strategies and design concepts that could become useful, meaningful, and valuable onscreen offerings.
FRONT MATTER WORKING THROUGH SCREENSTable of Contents 11Preface 12 D. CONSIDERING WORKERS’ ATTENTIONS 55 I. WORKING WITH VOLUMES OF INFORMATION _95 Glossary 136 D1. Respected tempos of work 56 I1. Flexible informa)on organiza)on _96 Introduc)on: The case for Applicaon Envisioning 13 D2. Expected eﬀort 57 I2. Comprehensive and relevant search _97 Bibliography 139 D3. Current workload, priority of work, and 58 I3. Powerful ﬁltering and sor)ng _98 Primer on example knowledge work domains 20 opportunity costs I4. Uncertain or missing content _99 About the author + D4. Minimizing distrac)on and fostering concentra)on 59 I5. Integra)on of informa)on sources 100 FLASHBULB INTERACTION, Inc. 142 D5. Resuming work 60 I6. Explicit messaging for informa)on updates 101 D6. Aler)ng and reminding cues 61 I7. Archived informa)on 102A. EXPLORING WORK MEDIATION AND 23 D7. Eventual habit and automa)city 62 DETERMINING SCOPE A1. Inﬂuen)al physical and cultural environments 24 J. FACILITATING COMMUNICATION 103 A2. Workers’ interrela)ons and rela)onships 25 E. PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES TO OFFLOAD EFFORT 63 J1. Integral communica)on pathways 104 A3. Work prac)ces appropriate for computer media)on 26 E1. Oﬄoading long term memory eﬀort 64 J2. Representa)onal common ground 105 A4. Standardiza)on of work prac)ce through media)on 27 E2. Oﬄoading short term memory eﬀort 65 J3. Explicit work handoﬀs 106 A5. Interrela)ons of opera)on, task, and ac)vity scenarios 28 E3. Automa)on of low level opera)ons 66 J4. Authorship awareness, presence, and contact 107 A6. Open and emergent work scenarios 29 E4. Automa)on of task or ac)vity scenarios 67 facilita)on A7. Collabora)on scenarios and varia)ons 30 E5. Visibility into automa)on 68 J5. Public annota)on 108 A8. Local prac)ces and scenario varia)ons 31 E6. Internal locus of control 69 J6. Streamlined standard communica)ons 109 A9. High value ra)o for targeted work prac)ces 32 J7. Pervasive prin)ng 110 F. ENHANCING INFORMATION REPRESENTATION 70 B. DEFINING INTERACTION OBJECTS 33 F1. Coordinated representa)onal elements 71 K. PROMOTING INTEGRATION INTO WORK PRACTICE 111 B1. Named objects and informa)on structures 34 F2. Established genres of informa)on representa)on 72 K1. Applica)on localiza)on 112 B2. Flexible iden)ﬁca)on of object instances 35 F3. Novel informa)on representa)ons 73 K2. Introductory user experience 113 B3. Coupling of applica)on and real world objects 36 F4. Support for visualiza)on at diﬀerent levels 74 K3. Recognizable applicability to targeted work 114 B4. Object associa)ons and user deﬁned objects 37 F5. Compara)ve representa)ons 75 K4. Veriﬁca)on of opera)on 115 B5. Object states and ac)vity ﬂow visibility 38 F6. Instrumental results representa)ons 76 K5. Understanding and reframing alternate interpreta)ons 116 B6. Flagged variability within or between objects 39 F7. Highly func)onal tables 77 K6. Design for frequency of access and skill acquisi)on 117 B7. Object ownership and availability rules 40 F8. Representa)onal transforma)ons 78 K7. Clear and comprehensive instruc)onal assistance 118 B8. Explicit mapping of objects to work media)on 41 F9. Simultaneous or sequen)al use of representa)ons 79 K8. Seamless inter‐applica)on interac)vity 119 B9. Common management ac)ons for objects 42 F10. Symbolic visual languages 80 K9. Directed applica)on interopera)on 120 B10. Object templates 43 F11. Representa)onal codes and context 81 K10. Openness to applica)on integra)on and extension 121 K11. End user programming 122 K12. Trusted and credible processes and content 123 C. ESTABLISHING AN APPLICATION FRAMEWORK 44 G. CLARIFYING CENTRAL INTERACTIONS 82 K13. Reliable and direct ac)vity infrastructure 124 C1. Inten)onal and ar)culated conceptual models 45 G1. Narra)ve experiences 83 C2. Applica)on interac)on model 46 G2. Levels of selec)on and ac)on scope 84 C3. Levels of interac)on paZerns 47 G3. Error preven)on and handling in individual interac)ons 85 L. PURSUING AESTHETIC REFINEMENT 125 C4. Pathways for task and ac)vity based wayﬁnding 48 G4. Workspace awareness embedded in interac)ons 86 L1. High quality and appealing work products 126 C5. Permissions and views tailored to workers’ iden))es 49 G5. Impromptu tangents and juxtaposi)ons 87 L2. Contemporary applica)on aesthe)cs 127 C6. Standardized applica)on workﬂows 50 G6. Contextual push of related informa)on 88 L3. Iconic design resemblances within applica)ons 128 C7. Structural support of workspace awareness 51 G7. Transi)oning work from private to public view 89 L4. Appropriate use of imagery and direct branding 129 C8. Defaults, customiza)on, and automated tailoring 52 L5. Iconoclas)c product design 130C9. Error preven)on and handling conven)ons 53 C10. Predictable applica)on states 54 H. SUPPORTING OUTCOME EXPLORATION AND 90 COGNITIVE TRACING M. PLANNING CONNECTION WITH USE 131 H1. Ac)ve versioning 91 M1. Itera)ve conversa)ons with knowledge workers 132 H2. Extensive and reconstruc)ve undo 92 M2. System champions 133 H3. Automated historical records and versions 93 M3. Applica)on user communi)es 134 H4. Working annota)ons 94 M4. Unan)cipated uses of technology 135
FRONT MATTER WORKING THROUGH SCREENSPreface 12When I started the wri)ng that eventually resulted in this book, opportuni)es to truly tailor technologies to important ac)vi)es. )on nearly always passes too quickly. DedicationI was driven by a convic)on that some cri)cal conversa)ons Highly trained individuals, working in their chosen professions, seemed to be missing from the development of new technolo‐ commonly spend unnecessary eﬀort ac)ng “on” and “around” Listening to other prac))oners in the ﬁeld, I know that I am not This book is for my grandfather, William Wolfram, who believed gies for knowledge workers. poorly conceived tools, rather than “through” them. The toll on alone in making these observa)ons and facing these challenges. that the nature of work was changing into something very performance and work outcomes resul)ng from these extra ef‐ And yet, when it comes to accessible, prac))oner oriented ref‐ diﬀerent than what he had experienced at sea, in the ﬁelds, I kept returning to the same four observa)ons about how many forts can be dras)c to individual workers, but since it is diﬃcult erences on these topics, there seems to be large areas of empty and on assembly lines — and strongly encouraged me to real world product teams operate: to collec)vely recognize and quan)fy, the aggregate of these space wai)ng to be ﬁlled. explore what it might mean. losses remains largely undetected within organiza)ons, profes‐ 1. Many product teams overlook common needs that sions, industries, and economies. This book is a foray into part of that empty space. The 100 ideas knowledge workers have of their onscreen tools while at contained within can act as shared probes for product teams the same )me developing unneeded func)onality. These I believe that current deﬁciencies in technologies for knowledge to use in forma)ve discussions that set the overall direc)on Acknowledgements teams start with a seemingly blank slate, even when work are strongly )ed to our oken low expecta)ons of what it and priori)es of new or itera)vely improved applica)ons for many valuable product requirements could be explored can mean to support complicated ac)vi)es with compu)ng. Our thinking work. As a collec)on, these ideas present a suppor)ng Since this book feels more like a synthesis with a par)cular based on exis)ng, proven understandings of how com‐ shared ideas of what cons)tutes innova)on in this space have, framework for teams striving to see past unsa)sfactory, “busi‐ perspec)ve than a completely original work, I would like to pu)ng tools can valuably support knowledge work. in many cases, become )ghtly constrained by our infrastruc‐ ness as usual” technologies in order to create compelling and empha)cally thank the authors of all the publica)ons that are tural sense of what these technologies can and should be. Too meaningful tools for knowledge workers at the forefronts of included in the bibliography. I would par)cularly like to thank 2. Many product teams’ everyday yet pivotal deﬁni)on oken, we are not seeing the proverbial forest due to our shared their ﬁelds. William Lidwell, Katrina Holden, and Jill Butler — the authors of and design conversa)ons do not suﬃciently consider focus on a small grove of trees. In our cultural accommoda)on Universal Principles of Design: 100 Ways to Enhance Usability, knowledge workers’ thought processes or how a tech‐ to what compu)ng has come to “mean” in our working lives, it I look forward to hearing about how these ideas hold up in Inﬂuence Percepon, Increase Appeal, Make BeDer Design nology might inﬂuence them. While individuals in these seems that we may have lost some of our capacity for visionary the context of your own product development challenges. My Decisions, and Teach through Design — which was a key teams may occasionally use terminology borrowed from thinking. sincere hope is that this book provides some measure of inspira‐ inspira)on for the format of this work. cogni)ve psychology, the actual details of how a tool )on that leads you to envision tools that promote more pow‐ could meaningfully impact “thinking work” may not To regain this vision, product teams can spend more )me con‐ erful, engaging, and produc)ve user experiences. Knowledge The following reviewers have provided invaluable comments on receive more than a surface examina)on. sidering what it might actually take to support and build upon workers — those who will opportunis)cally make use of the various draks of this publica)on: Liberty Harrington, Kris)na 3. Many product teams struggle to understand the knowledge workers’ skills and abili)es. Gelng inside of these fruits of your eﬀorts, if you are fortunate — deserve no less. Voros, Amii LaPointe, Myer Harrell, Aaron Louie, Brian Kuan knowledge work that they are striving to support. Even essen)al problems can require teams to adopt goals that are Wood, Jessica Burghardt, MaZ Carthum, MaZ Turpin, Miles when some of a team’s members have a strong empathy more like those of the pioneers of interac)ve compu)ng, who Jacob Burghardt Hunter, Julianne Bryant, Eric Klein, Chris Ziobro, Jon Fukuda, for targeted work prac)ces, teams as a whole can have were driven by the poten)al for augmen)ng human capabili)es 1 Nov 2008, SeaZle, WA and Judy Ramey. mixed levels of success meaningfully transla)ng their with new technologies. When teams extend these pioneering E ‐ info@FlashbulbInterac)on.com cumula)ve understanding into overall models of how ideas by applying them at the intersec)on of speciﬁc ac)vi)es P ‐ 206.280.3135 I would also like to thank understanding friends who spend their tool could valuably mediate certain ac)vi)es. These and working cultures, they can discover a similar spirit of con‐ long, internally mo)vated, solitary hours working on personal shared models, when executed well, can guide the deﬁni‐ sidered inquiry and explora)on. pursuits. You made this project seem not only possible, but like )on and development of a product’s many par)culars. a good idea. Without them, resul)ng applica)ons can become direct Higher order goals — aimed at crea)ng tools for thought to reﬂec)ons of a team’s lack of guiding focus. be used in targeted work prac)ces, coopera)ve contexts, and technological environments — can lead product teams to ask 4. Many product teams begin construc)on of ﬁnal very diﬀerent ques)ons than those that they currently explore products with very limited no)ons of what their ﬁnished Publication Information during early product development. Through the cri)cal lens product will be. Whether uninten)onally or inten)onally, of these elevated goals, the four observa)ons listed above can based on prevailing ideologies, they do not develop a truly take on the appearance of lost opportuni)es for innova‐ Working through Screens is the inaugural publica)on of robust design strategy for their applica)on, let alone con‐ )on and product success. FLASHBULB INTERACTION, Inc. sider divergent high level approaches in order to create a compelling applica)on concept. Instead, they seem to I have personally experienced these lost opportuni)es in my This book is available for free in .html and .pdf at assume that useful, usable, and desirable products arise own career researching and designing knowledge work tools www.FlashbulbInterac)on.com, where you can also ﬁnd an solely from the itera)ve sum of many small deﬁni)on, for domains such as life science, ﬁnancial trading, and graphic abbreviated “Idea Cards” version designed for use in design, and implementa)on decisions. design, among others. Even with the best inten)ons, in 20/20 product idea)on exercises. hindsight, I did not always have )me to think through and apply These observa)ons would not carry much weight if it was some important ideas — ideas that could have improved prod‐ All original contents of this publica)on are subject to the not for the current state of compu)ng tools that are available ucts’ design strategies and, in the end, enhanced workers’ user crea)ve commons license (AZribu)on‐NonCommercial‐ to knowledge workers in many voca)ons. Put simply, these experiences. There are simply so many useful ideas for these ShareAlike hZp://crea)vecommons.org/licenses/by‐nc‐sa/3.0/) products oken contain vast room for improvement, especially complex, mul)faceted problems, and under the demands of real unless otherwise noted. Please aZribute the work to in highly specialized forms of work, where there are concrete world product development, )me for ques)oning and explora‐ “Jacob Burghardt / FLASHBULB INTERACTION Consultancy.”
FRONT MATTER WORKING THROUGH SCREENSIntroduction: The Case for Application Envisioning 13The Experience of Modern Knowledge Work A scien(st sorts through the results of a recent clinical Direct alignment with an augmen)ng tool can cause surprising can be more eﬀec)vely accomplished outside of the study using an analysis applica)on that automa)cally joy, or at least a sort of transparent, “on to the next thing” sense conﬁnes of a computer.In a growing number of contemporary workplaces, people are generates clear and manipulable visualiza)ons of large of success. Individuals and organiza)ons can place a high value Fail to reﬂect essen(al divisions of how work is seg‐valued for their specialized intellectual skills and their ability data sets. She uses the tool to visually locate interes)ng on useful and usable products that support workers’ limita)ons mented within targeted organiza(ons, forcing unwanted to act on and with complex informa)on in goal oriented ways. trends in the clinical results, narrowing in on unusual while at the same )me enhancing their skills. Truly successful redeﬁni)on of individuals’ roles and responsibili)es and There is a general sense that many types of work are becom‐ categories of data at progressively deeper levels of interac)ve applica)ons can provide users with tailored func)on‐ crea)ng new opportuni)es for day to day errors in ing more abstract, specialized, complex, improvisa)onal, and detail. To beZer understand certain selec)ons within the ality that, among other things, facilitates and enhances certain workers’ prac)ces.cerebral. complex biological informa)on, she downloads related work prac)ces, powerfully removes unwanted eﬀort through reference content from up to date research repositories. automa)on, and generates dynamic displays that make complex Introduce new work processes that standardize ac(vi‐Peter Drucker called the people that engage in these types rela)onships clear. (es in unwelcome ways. When technologies inappropri‐ A ﬁnancial trader works through transac)on aker trans‐of work “Knowledge Workers.” Robert Reich, the former U.S. ately enforce strict workﬂow and cumbersome interac‐ ac)on, examining graphs of key variables and triggering Labor Secretary, used the term “Symbolic Analysts” to describe In short, when interac)ve applica)ons are at their thoughtully )on constraints, these tools can force knowledge workers his trading applica)on to automa)cally accept other a similar category within the workforce. More recently, Richard envisioned best, they can become seemingly indispensable to create and repeatedly enact unnecessarily eﬀortul trades with similar characteris)cs. He uses his market Florida has deﬁned the characteris)cs of “the Crea)ve Class.” in knowledge work. At their most visionary, these tools can workarounds in order to reach desired outcomes. informa)on applica)on to analyze trends so that he can All three of these terms fall within roughly the same frame, em‐ promote user experiences that provide a sense of mastery and make beZer decisions about uncertain and ques)onable Lack clear conceptual models of what they, as tools, phasizing the commonality of inven)ng, producing, interpret‐ direct engagement, the feeling of working through the screen deals. As he barrels through as much work as possible are intended to do, how they essen)ally work, and how ing, manipula)ng, transforming, applying, and communica)ng on informa)on and interac)ve objects that become the almost during his always too short trading day, he values how they can provide value. Inar)culate or counter intui)ve informa)on as principle preoccupa)ons of these workers. palpable subjects of users’ inten)ons. his tools prevent him from making crucial errors while conceptual models, which oken stem from a product permilng him to act rapidly and to great eﬀect. team’s own confusion about what they are crea)ng, can The current experience of this purportedly new work — what it lead workers to develop alternate concep)ons of ap‐feels like to prac)ce a highly trained profession or to simply earn While these short descrip)ons are probably not representa)ve Issues in Contemporary Onscreen Toolsa paycheck — has a very diﬀerent essen)al character than the plica)on processes. These alternate models may in turn of your own day to day ac)vi)es, it may be easy enough for you lead to seemingly undiagnosable errors and underu)lized type of work experiences that were available just a genera)on Unfortunately, many knowledge work products present them‐ to imagine how essen)al interac)ve applica)ons could become func)onality.or two ago. A large part of that change in character is due to the selves as nowhere near their thoughtully envisioned best. in each of these cases. Aker long periods of accommoda)on, extensive use of compu)ng tools in these work prac)ces. Workers too oken ﬁnd that many parts of their specialized Present workers with confusing data structures and accomplishing many knowledge work goals involves turning to a screen, controlling a cursor, entering data, and interac)ng with compu)ng tools are not useful or usable in the context of their representa(ons of informa(on that do not correlate to In essence, the expansion of “knowledge work” as a concept has own goals or the larger systems of cultural meaning and ac)vity the ar)facts that they are used to thinking about in their well known and meaningful representa)ons of informa)on. been closely )ed to the expansion of compu)ng. Interac)ve ap‐ that surround them. Problema)c applica)ons can con)nuously own work prac)ces. To eﬀec)vely use an applica)on built Looking toward future technologies, it is likely that most knowl‐plica)ons have become woven into the fabric of vast territories present workers with confusing and frustra)ng barriers that upon unfamiliar abstrac)ons, workers must repeatedly edge workers will perform at least some of their eﬀorts within of professional ac)vity, and workers are con)nuously adop)ng they must traverse in order to generate useful outcomes. At translate their own domain exper)se to match a system’s the bounds of a similar framework for some )me to come. new tools into previously “oﬄine” areas. Although these tools their poorly envisioned worst, compu)ng tools can — contrary deﬁni)ons. are not the only focal point for knowledge workers, they are to marke)ng claims of advanced u)lity — eﬀec)vely deskill Encourage a sense of informa(on overload by allowing becoming a point of increasing gravity as cultures of prac)ce users by preven)ng them from ac)ng in ways that even remote‐con)nue to co‐evolve with these technologies over )me. The Impacts of Application Design ly resemble their preferred prac)ces. Not exactly the brand individuals and organiza)ons to create and store large promise that anyone has in mind when they start the ball rolling volumes of valuable informa)on without providing them Consider these example experiences, which are part of the The design of these compu)ng tools has the poten)al to make suﬃcient means to organize, visualize, navigate, search on a new technology.working lives of three ﬁc)onal knowledge workers who will massive impacts on working lives. Unless knowledge workers or otherwise make use of it. appear throughout this book: are highly mo)vated early adopters that are willing and able If one was to summarize the status quo, it might sound some‐ Disrupt workers’ a/en(ons, and the essen)al cogni)ve to make use of most anything, their experiences as users of thing like this: when it comes to interac)ve applica)ons for ﬂow of intensive thinking work, with unnecessary An architect considers an alternate placement for an in‐ interac)ve applica)ons can vary dras)cally. These diﬀerences knowledge work, products that are considered essen)al are not content and distrac)ng messaging. terior wall in order to improve the view corridors within in experience can largely depend on the overall alignment of an always sa)sfactory. In fact, they may be deeply ﬂawed in ways a building that she is designing. As she interac)vely individual’s inten)ons and understandings with the speciﬁcs of Require workers to waste eﬀort entering speciﬁcs and that we commonly do not recognize given our current expec‐ visualizes a certain wall placement within a 3D model of a tool’s design. Since the majority of the compu)ng applica)ons “jumping through hoops” that neither they nor their ta)ons of these tools. With our collec)ve sights set low, we the building, she pauses to consider its implica)ons for a in use at the )me of wri)ng were not created by the workers organiza)ons perceive as necessary. overlook many faults. number of the project’s requirements. She saves diﬀer‐ that use them, this means that the product teams develop‐ ing these applica)ons contribute roughly half of this essen)al Force workers to excessively translate their goals into ent versions of her design explora)on, adding working Poorly envisioned knowledge work applica)ons can: alignment between user and compu)ng ar)fact. To restate this the constraints of onscreen interac(on, even aker notes on what she thinks of each design direc)on. Once common premise, “outside” technologists (of the stripe that extended use. All applica)ons require their users to act she has created several diﬀerent direc)ons, she then A/empt to drive types of work onto the screen that are would likely be drawn to reading this book) oken set the stage within the boundaries of their func)onal op)ons, but uses the building modeling applica)on to realis)cally not conducive to being mediated by interac)ve comput‐ for ini)al success or failure in workers’ experiences of their certain constraints on basic ac)ons may be too restric)ve render each possibility, compare them in sequence, and ing as we know it today. New applica)ons and func)onal‐ onscreen tools. and cumbersome. review a subset of design op)ons with her colleagues. i)es are not always the answer, and some work prac)ces
FRONT MATTER | INTRODUCTION WORKING THROUGH SCREENS 14 Introduce automa(on that actually makes work more Making Do with the Status Quo First Steps of Application Design Part of the reason for this jump in collec)ve mindset is an eﬀorIul, rather than less. Without appropriate visibility increase in team size. Lek to their own devices, newly added into an automated rou)ne’s processing, workers can be Since many of today’s applica)ons contain a mixture of both Taking a step back, it can be useful to examine the early, ini)at‐ team members oken gravitate toward the level of granular‐ lek with the diﬃcult challenge of trying to understand clear and direct func)onal op)ons and func)onality that is ing steps that lead to the crea)on of a knowledge work ap‐ ity that is their primary focus during the extended course of what has been automated, if and where problems have frustra)ng, obtuse, and eﬀec)vely useless, knowledge workers plica)on. Plans for a new or revised compu)ng tool can arise product development. To a specialist, this makes perfect sense. occurred, and how to ﬁx important issues. oken become skilled at iden)fying those por)ons of technolo‐ in a variety of ways, though there are some common paZerns These detailed skills are what they are typically valued and gies that demonstrate beneﬁts relevant to their challenges. to their early gesta)ons. In general, a small core of ini)ators promoted for, and their narrow expert perspec)ves are pre‐ Hide useful historical cues about how content came to Individuals tend to weed out problema)c features from their deﬁnes a product’s principle mandates before a broader cross sumably why they are brought onto projects in the ﬁrst place. be in its current state, while preven)ng workers from prac)ces, while at the same )me salvaging tried and true sec)on of team members and disciplines are brought onto a The problem with these assump)ons is that, when gelng into restoring certain informa)on to its earlier incarna)ons. methods. Over )me, the plas)city of mind and culture can dis‐ project. These early conversa)ons may take on very diﬀerent details too soon and too narrowly, specialists’ decisions may Tools without these capabili)es can increase the diﬃ‐ play a remarkable ability to overcome barriers and interweave forms depending on, for example, whether a product represents be under informed and lacking a larger vector of crea)vity and culty of recovering from errors, which can in turn reduce “sa)sﬁced” beneﬁts. Aker considerable eﬀort, established work a disrup)ve technology or a compe))ve entry into an estab‐ guiding constraints. crea)vity and scenario oriented thinking in dynamic arounds and narrow, well worn paths of interac)on can emerge. lished category of knowledge work tools. In any case, teams’ interac)ons. An uncompelling, diﬃcult tool can become another necessary invest some part of their forma)ve discussions considering their The commonly cited maxim of the inﬂuen)al designer Charles Leave workers without suﬃcient cues about the ac(vi‐ reality. The status quo con)nues, despite the ongoing promise oﬀerings’ poten)al driving forces, brand posi)oning, and under‐ Eames, “the details are not the details, the details make the (es of their colleagues. This lack of awareness can lead of augmen)ng specialized, thinking work with compu)ng. lying technological characteris)cs. These eﬀorts typically involve design,” is a useful truism in the extended development of to misunderstandings, duplicated eﬀort, and the need to modeling ideas about poten)al opportuni)es in targeted viable compu)ng applica)ons for knowledge work. Aker all, if a extensively coordinate eﬀorts outside the compu)ng tool At the level of individual knowledge workers’ experiences, market segments, which oken correspond to a par)cular speciﬁc part of a user interface is missing important op)ons for itself. These nega)ve eﬀects may be found in intrinsically aZemp)ng to adopt and use poorly conceived applica)ons can range of knowledge work special)es and organiza)on types. the work prac)ces that a tool is designed for, then its usefulness collabora)ve work as well as eﬀorts that are not typically lead to frustra)on, anxiety and fa)gue. These nega)ve mental and usability will suﬀer during real world interac)ons. Armed recognized as having coopera)ve aspects. states are not conducive to people successfully accomplishing During this early ini)a)on, product strategy eﬀorts for knowl‐ with this understanding, some technologists immediately begin their goals or being sa)sﬁed in their working lives. Put another edge work applica)ons oken do not involve “design thinking” their journey away from the vagaries of a product’s strategy Fail to support informal communica(on in the con‐ way, knowledge work applica)ons have the capacity to detract in any real sense. When faced with the complexi)es of scoping toward something more “real.” Without considering how they texts where knowledge work is accomplished, as well as from the pleasure and well being that people experience as and conceiving a viable compu)ng tool, design idea)on, at the might be s)ﬂing their own success and innova)ons, these teams provide direct means for ac)vely ini)a)ng conversa)ons part of working in their chosen professions. Knowledge workers )me of wri)ng, seems to typically take a back seat role. This begin haphazardly an)cipa)ng workers’ detailed needs and about key outputs. These omissions can make essen)al oken do not contribute their eﬀorts solely for compensa)on in is in stark contrast to many other types of products, especially possible complaints as a means of sketching a sa)sfactory communica)on acts more eﬀortul, as workers aZempt an economic sense; their ac)ons are intertwined with personal outside of compu)ng, where design thinking is increasingly concept for their product. to create common ground and )e their ideas back into purpose and iden)ty. For this reason, a major deﬁciency in a being used as a key approach in early, ini)a)ng conversa)ons. applica)on content while using separate, “outside” knowledge work applica)on can be said to have a diﬀerent One does not need to look very far to see how genera)ve The path of the straight to the details progression is predictable communica)on channels. essen)al quality than a failure in, for example, an entertainment concep)ng of poten)al user experiences has become a central and common. Product teams enac)ng this progression begin Lack needed connec(vity op(ons for individuals and technology. When a knowledge work applica)on becomes an exercise in the development of many of today’s successful implemen)ng without the vector of a larger design strategy to organiza)ons to )e the product’s data and func)onali)es obstruc)on in its users’ prac)ces, vital )me and eﬀort is wasted. brands and product strategies. Yet in the much “younger” and guide them through the many highly speciﬁc choices that will into their broader technology environments. Resul)ng Beyond the obvious business implica)ons of such obstruc)ons, rela)vely distant disciplines that develop complex onscreen inevitably follow. Their ini)al concep)on of their product is rela‐ applica)ons can become isolated “islands” that may it is diﬃcult to suﬃciently underscore the poten)al importance applica)ons, the poten)al for design’s strategic contribu)ons )vely simplis)c, but they believe that they can con)nually map require considerable extra eﬀort in order to meaningfully of these losses to individual workers, especially when develop‐ has not been adequately recognized. out the complex speciﬁcs along the way, whether in diagram‐ incorporate their capabili)es and outputs into important ing products for highly skilled individuals who are seeking to ma)c illustra)ons, textual speciﬁca)ons, or in working code. work ac)vi)es. make their chosen contribu)ons to society and the world. They move forward with the implicit assump)on that interac)ve Getting to Design Details Too Quickly applica)ons, being made of abstract computer language, are These example points, which represent just a sampling of the So how did we get here? Where did this status quo come from? somehow highly malleable, and that all encompassing “ﬁxes” many problems that can be found in poorly envisioned knowl‐ Why are these tools not beZer designed? Why do the brand At the end of a knowledge work product’s ini)a)ng conversa‐ can be made when needed.edge work applica)ons, call aZen)on to the fact that these po‐ names of so many knowledge work products conjure disdain, )ons, when it appears that a project will become a funded and ten)al issues in users’ experiences are not “sok” considera)ons. or only a vague sense of comfort aker having been exten‐ staﬀed reality, there is oken a strong desire from all involved to In reality, product teams crea)ng knowledge work applica‐All of these points have implica)ons for workers’ sa)sfac)on sively used — instead of something more extraordinary? We see “something” other than high level abstrac)on and textual )ons rarely have the luxury of extensive downstream revisions, with a compu)ng tool, their discre)onary use of it, the quan)ty can assume that no product team sets out to deliver a poorly descrip)on. The common response to this desire is where despite their deep seated assump)ons to the contrary. When and quality of their work outcomes, and their percep)ons of a conceived tool to knowledge workers. And yet, even with good founda)onal user experience problems begin to crystallize. In a they do enjoy the luxury of such changes, the cost of these product’s brand. The sum of the above points can be viewed as inten)ons, that is what many have done and con)nue to do. characteris)c straight to the details progression, teams quickly, revisions can be prohibi)vely high. For this reason, key correc‐a fundamental threat to the core goals of organiza)ons that are Ironically, even tools designed for niche, domain speciﬁc ins)nctually move from high level considera)on of product )ons, addi)ons, and improvements are all too oken put oﬀ for seeking to adopt new technologies as a means of suppor)ng markets — which can represent the most concrete opportu‐ strategy into the smallest speciﬁcs of a product’s deﬁni)on, the “next version,” or “next public release” with the assump)on their knowledge workforces. ni)es to create truly reﬁned tools for speciﬁc work prac)ces design, and implementa)on. Their approach jumps abruptly that users will be able to work their way around any issues in — are not immune to these problems. In fact, they may be from the global to the extremely granular, without the connec‐ the mean)me. Facing limited resources and complex challenges, especially suscep)ble to them. )ve )ssue of a holis)c middle ground. many teams develop distorted no)ons of what cons)tutes acceptable, or even excep)onal, quality and user experience.
FRONT MATTER | INTRODUCTION WORKING THROUGH SCREENS 15While specifying every detail of a complex interac)ve applica‐)on before any implementa)on takes place is also not generally COMMON APPROACH TO ITERATIVE APPLICATION DESIGNconsidered a viable approach to product development, at the )me of wri)ng, the pendulum seems to have swung too far in the direc)on of improvising design strategy. Prevailing straight to the details ideologies are largely out of step with the reality of resul)ng product outcomes. A survey of the inﬂexibili)es, over extended interac)on frameworks, and scaZered concep‐tual models of contemporary knowledge work products in many domains can suﬃciently prove this point. Adding Features Until “Magic Happens”Behind the straight to the details progression is a belief that a successful, even visionary, product will somehow emerge from the sum of countless detailed deﬁni)on, design, and implemen‐ta)on decisions (see Figure 1). In this view, applica)ons can evolve from a collec)on of somewhat modular pieces, so long as the assemblage does not somehow “break” in the context of Begin creating individual Iteratively add more discrete Until magic happens, And a cohesive, or at leastusers’ human limita)ons and cultural expecta)ons. Keep work‐ features, without spending parts, without considering somehow unifying the satisfactory, applicationing on the details and magic will happen — or so the assump‐)on goes. any time in the space overarching ideas about aggregation of separately supposedly emerges between high level product how the application could created minutiaeThe larger gestalt of an interac)ve applica)on receives liZle or strategy and detailed mediate knowledge work In reality, such productsno considera)on in this framing of product development. Teams product implementation may be deeply andwith this mindset do not typically sketch diverse concepts for how their crea)on could mediate work prac)ce in appropri‐ frustratingly ﬂawed,ate, innova)ve, and valuable ways. To overstate the case, many driving poor user experienceproduct teams believe that knowledge workers can be support‐ and lesser outcomes ined by directly giving them what they want, adding details to a targeted knowledge worktool as needed in a somewhat systema)c manner. This approach may work for a while — un)l tools collapses along fundamental, structural fault lines of conceptual clarity, informa)on display, and meaningful consistency. Even though the magic happens expectaon oken results in poorly designed compu)ng tools for knowledge work, the straight to the details progression may be successfully applied to other types of onscreen products. This might explain why many product teams crea)ng knowledge work applica)ons s)ll hold on to these shared assump)ons — there are posi)ve examples and well known brand names that can serve as their reference points. When a product’s goals are rela)vely simple or very well characterized, as in a highly established genre of applica)on, teams can have a shared grounding without ac)vely taking )me to grow that collec)ve understanding. For example, everyone in a typical product team probably understands how a collabora)ve calendar applica)on works, because they use them every day. If their understanding happens to be less than complete, team members can probably round out their views
FRONT MATTER | INTRODUCTION WORKING THROUGH SCREENS 16without too much diﬃculty or discussion. A product team may had been realized. In his essay “Augmen)ng Human Intellect: direc)on from a pool of poten)al approaches, yet the magic envisioning suggests an early, separate interval in product de‐even be able to create real innova)ons in this kind of applica‐ A Conceptual Framework,” Englebart outlined how an architect happens expectaon restrains breadth and idea)on by promot‐ velopment in which teams can inten)onally and collabora)vely )on by making incremental changes in small details based on might use a computer to review a symbolic representa)on of ing a narrow track of implemented reality. In essence, teams consider poten)al design strategies and design concepts for assump)ons about unmet needs. a building site; consider diﬀerent scenarios in excava)on and following the straight to the details progression are prac)c‐ their compu)ng tool, rather than sliding down a largely uncon‐ building design; refer to handbook and catalog resources; locate ing single vision and concept design. The essen)al, elemental sidered course (see Figure 2). windows so that light is not reﬂected into the eyes of passing “shapes” of their products are the shapes that happen to unfold Crucial Understanding Gaps drivers; examine the resul)ng structure to ensure that it does in front of them aker the sum of many small decisions. They Applicaon envisioning can allow teams to cul)vate empathy not contain func)onal oversights; and store the resul)ng work deemphasize a larger type crea)vity, which in turn reduces for targeted knowledge workers and their worlds, lay the ground Tools for specialized knowledge work typically do not ﬁt this sort for later retrieval and annota)on by stakeholders (the architec‐ possibili)es for useful and compelling innova)on. work for inspira)on, explore diverse ques)ons and ideas about of “make it up as we go” mold. One of the main reasons is that tural examples used throughout this book are an homage to what their product could be, and develop a shared, big picture product teams inevitably have a diﬃcult )me understanding the Englebart’s landmark applica)on concept). So how can product teams crea)ng interac)ve applica)ons for view — with the assump)on that many important details will work prac)ces that they are striving to mediate. They do not knowledge work embrace this larger type of crea)vity? If the need to be ﬂeshed out along the way to a completed release.tacitly know the cultures that they are aZemp)ng to support. A Pioneers of interac)ve compu)ng, such as Englebart, did not straight to the details progression, the magic happens expec‐base level of understanding about larger systems of ac)vity and have the luxury of working only at the detailed level of their taon, and single vision and concept design characterize the One (increasingly rou)ne) process sugges)on for applicaon en‐meaning is necessary in order to design a useful tool that will be emerging crea)ons. They also set the vision and goals for their mindset that eventually leads to problema)c or failed comput‐ visioning is that this early, explora)ve )me presents a signiﬁcant well suited for those systems. Teams need to understand what own and subsequent genera)ons of technological development. ing tools, what mindset can teams adopt to avoid these pitalls? opportunity for product teams to get out of their oﬃces and the architect Eliel Saarinen spoke of as the “next larger context.” Looking objec)vely at the conversa)ons taking place in product into the ﬁeld. Teams can strive for “what it’s like” understanding Sokware developers, for example, do not inherently know what teams today, it appears that many technologists are relying very of knowledge workers’ current experiences by directly observ‐it means to analyze clinical research data, let alone how that heavily on these and other proceeding founda)ons. Not on the Introducing Application Envisioning ing and engaging in their worlds. While immersed in the ac)vi‐data ﬁts into the larger ﬂows of ac)vity within a research lab. intellectual spirit of these founda)ons, but on their literal con‐ )es that they are striving to mediate with compu)ng, teams can ven)ons. As knowledge work applica)ons have become stan‐ Generally speaking, product teams can cul)vate a perspec)ve uncover unmet needs and other important insights for design When technologists ﬁnd it diﬃcult to understand the many dardized and commonplace within technologists’ worldviews, of targeted yet open explora)on, without analysis paralysis. strategy. This immersion may also lead them to start think‐speciﬁcs of foreign and elaborate work prac)ces, they may it seems that we may have all become limited by a shared, infra‐ They can spend more )me in the space between product ing about their product as a service, either literally or in spirit, unwilngly hold onto an ini)al, roughly hewn, consensus view structural sense of what these tools can and should be. People origina)on and product implementa)on. They can create an which can highlight new areas for innova)on through ongoing, about knowledge workers’ ac)vi)es and needs. This view crea)ng these products have, to some extent, stopped examin‐ environment where divergence and a mul)plicity of ideas are networked connec)on. Teams may take a sense of partnership can become their framing point of reference throughout the ing them through a cri)cal lens that could uncover important valued in their discussions. They can forgo an early emphasis with targeted workers so far as to invite them to become development of their product, despite incoming informa)on new possibili)es. As they con)nue to copy and tweak exis)ng on speciﬁcs by crea)ng abstract models that visualize their collaborators, maintaining a healthy level of humility in the that could valuably transform it. In prac)ce, the momentum of standards, we become increasingly accustomed to a certain rate understandings and outline poten)al spaces of design possibil‐ face of their exper)se.a disoriented group’s ini)al concept for their compu)ng tool of change and a certain level of generic, all purpose design. ity. They can ask more ques)ons in their targeted markets and oken places certain ideas at the primary, driving core of what sketch novel concepts for how their products could play a role in Another process sugges)on is for product teams to look outside is eventually developed and released. What the architect and While vernacular evolu)on certainly has its place, repe))on knowledge work, while documen)ng tangible evidence of their of the work that they are targe)ng in order to cast new light on psychologist Bryan Lawson calls a “primary driver” takes hold in of familiar paZerns is clearly not the en)re picture of excep‐ ideas. They can balance top down decision making with boZom their envisioning ques)ons and their emerging design concepts. their design outputs. And in these cases, as end users of such )onal design process. Knowledge work tools can be much more up input from knowledge workers in order to synthesize singular While pioneering ﬁgures of interac)ve compu)ng had to work products can aZest, magic does not oken happen. than the sum of their discrete func)onal parts. A sole focus on design strategies. These strategies can embody a strong brand from an essen)ally blank slate, today’s technologists do not detailed salvaging and assembling of the past leaves no room posi)oning and the grounding of a team’s best applica)on have to start from square one when they think about what it for other, important pursuits. If product teams do not explore concept, assembled from a core set of sketched func)onali)es might mean to augment certain thought processes and ac)vi)es Uncritical Reliance on Pioneering Ideas diﬀerent strategies for their applica)on’s overall approach to that target a carefully chosen scope of work prac)ces. with compu)ng. There is a growing body of research and media)ng work, how will they imagine new tools that truly cri)cal perspec)ve that teams can use as lenses for making If the pioneers of interac)ve compu)ng had only been thinking and valuably ﬁt into workers’ specialized thought processes This suggested approach can be summarized by the following sense of these complex, mul)faceted design problems. In order about detailed design decisions, at the expense of the bigger and cultures? phrase, which appears in the opening pages of this book: to extract poten)al strategic principles, teams can examine picture, they would have likely never envisioned many of the compu)ng tools that have been successfully adopted into conven)ons that we commonly use today. For example, Douglas Extensive concep)ng, based on intensive ques)oning, similar ac)vity contexts within other types of work prac)ce. Englebart, a pivotal ﬁgure in the pioneering era, has deﬁned Embracing a More Strategic Creativity driving visionary, collabora)vely deﬁned strategies for Advanced analogies to products in other domains can lead to much of his working life based on a series of epiphanies about examplary tools for thought. inspira)on that may fuel truly novel solu)ons that draw upon how technology could enhance human problem solving. Appropriate and exci)ng concepts for knowledge work tools are seemingly unrelated ﬁelds of endeavor.During a )me when computers were s)ll primarily used for built on holis)c vision, not just paZern matching and incremen‐ Is there a repeatable methodology or process to advance this batch process mathema)cal tasks, he envisioned remarkable tal itera)on. They require a carefully considered design strategy change in mindset and general approach? Not in any strict The idea of applicaon envisioning has strong parallels to mind‐possibili)es for the applica)on of compu)ng to knowledge to tame their poten)al complexi)es into clear, useful, and sense, because these explora)ons are very emergent and free‐ sets found in other, older design disciplines, whose prac))oners work. Of par)cular interest is Englebart’s astonishing 1962 desirable simplicity. form, despite their focused nature. However, a name for this more commonly apply design thinking in strategic ways. For ex‐descrip)on of an architect using interac)ve compu)ng as a period between project ini)a)on and project implementa)on ample, product teams crea)ng compu)ng tools for knowledge ﬂuid part of complex work prac)ces, long before such a future The very idea of design strategy implies the selec)on of one could allow teams to eﬀec)vely plan for it. The term applicaon work can learn a great deal about envisioning new technolo‐ gies from the successful prac)ces of the best industrial design
FRONT MATTER | INTRODUCTION WORKING THROUGH SCREENS 17teams. These teams also shape peoples’ daily lives through their crea)ons, albeit with a focus on the mass produced, physical APPLICATION ENVISIONING APPROACH TO DESIGNembodiment of material culture. Industrial designers typically take )me early in their projects to explore diﬀerent concepts so that they can divine the “right” overarching direc)on for their product, rather than immediately honing in on and elabora)ng a single solu)on. These designers oken conduct various forms of research, synthesizing models of their problem space before C Cmoving forward into design idea)on. Once they begin idea)ng, they typically sketch thumbnail aker thumbnail of poten)al op)ons, long before they even consider realis)c renderings or Qexac)ng speciﬁca)ons. From these early explora)ons in “design C Cresearch,” industrial design teams can uncover important con‐ Qstraints, possibili)es, and languages for their product. They can discover poten)al emo)onal connec)ons with end users and Cgain empathy for the context of a successful oﬀering and brand, Call of which puts them in strong posi)on to deﬁne singular and compelling design strategies. Spend more time in the Meaningfully question what Strategically synthesize Then move forward with yourThe Higher Goals of “Flashbulb Interactions” space between high level it could mean to mediate the ﬁttest overarching chosen design strategy andEnvisioning a diverse range of appropriate possibili)es for a product strategy and certain knowledge work vision and concept design concepts, expandingproduct is not an easy task. Even with a shared emphasis on detailed product activities with technology: for your product from upon details, iterativelya mul)plicity of ideas, prac))oners of all design disciplines implementation observing and talking with among an ecosystem implementing and gatheringsome)mes face the lure of literal, small scale itera)on of known of envisioned futures further input targeted workers,paZerns when more innova)ve responses could be appropriate, valuable, and feasible. Applicaon envisioning eﬀorts can rep‐ collaboratively modelingresent a fundamental change in how product teams deﬁne and the problem space,design interac)ve applica)ons, but this change alone may not and sketching diversebe enough to arrive at excep)onal tools for knowledge workers. design conceptsWithout higher order goals that aim to truly augment peoples’ intellectual skills and abili)es, applicaon envisioning can become just another phase in product development, without any of the intended, strategic payoﬀs. A team’s own infrastruc‐tural grounding in the conven)ons of compu)ng can easily s)ﬂe threads of divergent, meaningful concep)ng. The gravity of the known can easily preclude more crea)ve ques)ons and proposals.A new term may be useful to product teams as they aZempt to uncover new sources of value in knowledge work comput‐ing. Flashbulb interac)ons are a branch of sorts oﬀ of the term “ﬂashbulb memories,” coined in 1977 by Roger Brown and James Kulik in the psychology literature. A ﬂashbulb memory is a recollec)on that stands out as a clear and pivotal moment, a punctuated experience in the compila)on of one’s past. In a similar vein, a ﬂashbulb interac)on is one of those rare moments when an interac)ve applica)on impacts a knowledge worker in some profoundly posi)ve way, such as making a complex conclusion clear or opening up a new vista of thought.
FRONT MATTER | INTRODUCTION WORKING THROUGH SCREENS 18Product teams can explore how their compu)ng tools might experience. This change in perspec)ve can uncover surprising interac)on design, informa)on architecture, usability research, Book Approach and Exclusionspromote ﬂashbulb interac)ons by beginning their projects with ideas and design constraints that, in turn, can help teams to computer science, and other professional special)es. Many these high level ques)ons: beZer understand deep seated opportuni)es that their of the ideas are rooted in commonly cited considera)ons and Although much of the text is wriZen as if the reader is part of applica)on might address, as well as what those solu)ons guidelines, though they have been framed here speciﬁcally for product team designing a new knowledge work applica)on, the What are the big picture problems that knowledge might look like. use while envisioning compu)ng tools for knowledge work. same ideas can apply when revising or extending an exis)ng workers currently face in their work prac)ces? What Some of these commonly cited points call out speciﬁc func)on‐ tool. Similarly, the tone — but not the primary informa)on — mental work is currently diﬃcult? ali)es that are currently available in a subset of contemporary of this book oken reﬂects the interests of product teams work‐ How might our applica)on transform abstract and Summary of Case for Application Envisioning products, while others touch upon broader connec)ons to the ing in commercial contexts. Please note that this book’s ideas technological contexts that workers’ prac)ce within. This book might be just as applicable to tools created by an open source taxing mental work into dynamic, highly visual, direct, To summarize, contemporary compu)ng tools for knowledge also borrows liberally from those authors who have put forward community or developed internally within knowledge work and appealing interac)ons? work oken contain signiﬁcant design deﬁciencies — both ideas that have advanced my own work as a prac))oner provid‐ organiza)ons. How could our interac)ve applica)on help knowledge recognized and overlooked — that detract from people’s ing research, strategy, and design services. These publica)ons workers accomplish the best work of their professional working lives. Looking beyond the current state of these tools, can be found in the bibliography. Beyond commonly cited ideas 100 ideas is a very round number, and it points to the limita‐ lives? What would those outcomes look like? interac)ve compu)ng has remarkable poten)al for improving and valued references, a number of the 100 ideas can be traced )ons of this book. Just as there is no set recipe for eﬀec)ve thinking work. An early emphasis on design strategy and design back to speciﬁc stories from real world product teams. These product development, there are many other, equally valid ideas How could our applica)on support highly valued work envisioning ideas were considered assump)ons in some groups for envisioning interac)ve applica)ons for knowledge work. The concepts, not design details, can be crucial for developing truly outcomes that could not be a/ained without its func‐ of technologists and missing in others groups in a way that ideas in this book were selected due to their poten)al impacts successful compu)ng tools in this space. Product teams that )onali)es? pointed to their value. in a wide range of applicaon envisioning conversa)ons. Many embrace early envisioning as a central exercise in applica)on How could our applica)on reduce or eliminate rou(ne development, along with signiﬁcantly elevated goals for user ex‐ of the ideas represent generally important considera)ons that tedium in knowledge workers’ experiences, while al‐ periences, can generate appropriate and innova)ve possibili)es A variety of audiences may ﬁnd the 100 ideas in this book are commonly overlooked in contemporary products. That lowing them to use their exper(se in new and valuable for emerging genera)ons of knowledge work tools. By intensely useful: being said, some of the ideas will presumably be much more ways? ques)oning what it could mean to mediate speciﬁc thought important for speciﬁc product contexts than others. None of the processes and work prac)ces with an interac)ve applica)on, Product managers and other leaders within organiza‐ 100 ideas are universals or do‐or‐die edicts. Please take them or How could our applica)on foster and clarify useful these teams can develop tools that deliver more enjoyable and )ons can use these ideas to promote innova)ve design leave them, depending on the situa)on you ﬁnd yourself in and communica(on and collabora(on? relevant experiences, beZer work outcomes, improved brand strategies and to inspire their teams to set higher goals your belief in their value. loyalty, and other valuable results. for product success. How could our applica)on promote a sense of conﬁdent power and uninterrupted, focused engagement? The reader will ﬁnd few men)ons of speciﬁc technologies in this Researchers inves)ga)ng the characteris)cs, prac)ces, book, other than frequent references to certain genres of net‐ and poten)al technological desires of certain popula)ons How might the transi)on to using our applica)on be a Using This Book of knowledge workers can use these ideas to outline a worked applica)ons used in architecture, clinical research, and pleasurable experience that workers will remember for ﬁnancial trading. For example, this book does not focus on Web broader range of ques)ons for their studies. years to come, especially when they reﬂect on how they This book is a tool for product teams to use as they envision technologies, even though the 100 envisioning ideas could be used to accomplish the same goals? new or itera)vely improved knowledge work applica)ons. It Deﬁners of interac)ve applica)ons can use these ideas extensively applied to Web based tools. There are also limited presents 100 ideas that can remind teams of common factors as probes to generate models and s)mulate strategic references within the 100 ideas to speciﬁc methodologies, other These ques)ons are a direct aZack on low expecta)ons of for the design of extraordinary compu)ng tools, helping them thinking in workshops and other requirements than some general approaches to modeling work prac)ce (the technologies for knowledge work. They contain an op)mism to generate a greater diversity of sketched models, frameworks, elabora)on eﬀorts. hierarchy of opera)ons, tasks, and larger ac)vi)es is coarsely that is similar to pioneering ques)ons that lead to the cre‐ and concepts. Each concisely presented envisioning idea is a adapted from Alexei N. Leon)ev’s Ac)vity Theory) and interac‐a)on of interac)ve compu)ng, but they can be applied to the Designers of interac)ve applica)ons can use these ideas )ons (Ben Shneiderman’s “Object‐Ac)on Interface Model,” speciﬁc considera)on for early, forma)ve conversa)ons about to iden)fy important user experience factors for diﬀer‐grounded par)culars of speciﬁc challenges that product teams what an applica)on might become. These random access without its emphasis on direct manipula)on). This exclusion of face today. Most importantly, when technologists have asked ent ac)vity contexts, to sketch a broader range of design extensive technology and methodology references was inten‐ topics are inten)onally enmeshed and overlapping, not mutu‐ concepts, and to make more informed decisions about these ques)ons, they may ﬁnd it diﬃcult to fall back on literal, ally exclusive. The categoriza)on of the 100 ideas sketches an )onal. Ideally, product teams using very diﬀerent technological small scale itera)on of known design paZerns, knowing full well design strategy in this space. founda)ons and methodological approaches will ﬁnd this book overall framework and is intended to improve their collec)ve that more innova)ve responses could be appropriate, valuable, accessibility as an envisioning reference. The resul)ng collec)on Stakeholders and inﬂuencers in applicaon envision‐ to be useful. In the end, all viable methodologies have some and feasible. is a prac))oner oriented synthesis that can expand the range of ing can use these ideas to drive product teams toward a place for determining an applica)on’s essen)al form and direc‐ ques)ons that product teams explore as they generate poten‐ broader conversa)on about what it might mean to )on, regardless of what that par)cular process box happens to Product teams are not likely to know if and when they have )al design strategies and design concepts — inherently raising valuably augment speciﬁc types of knowledge work. be called. Please insert this book’s applicaon envisioning ideas generated design strategies and conceptual sketches that could their shared expecta)ons for their products’ posi)ve impacts on there.result in products that meet these aspira)ons, but that sort of Students may ﬁnd this survey of factors informa)ve, knowledge work.absolute decision making is not the point of conduc)ng these gaining a sense for the poten)al breadth of consider‐ Although this book contains ideas for the development of new inquiries. Instead, teams can pose these and other ques)ons a)ons that can inﬂuence the design of these technologies, it is anything but some aZempt at distant futur‐ The 100 ideas themselves can be traced to a range of sources about ﬂashbulb interac)ons in order to take their eyes oﬀ of compu)ng tools. ism. Instead, the focus here is primarily on personal comput‐ and perspec)ves in product strategy, human factors, human the conven)onal state of knowledge work compu)ng and begin computer interac)on, systems analysis, industrial design, ing applica)ons that could conceivably be in front of the eyes considering poten)al narra)ves for excep)onally posi)ve user of knowledge workers at the )me of wri)ng, given the state
FRONT MATTER | INTRODUCTION WORKING THROUGH SCREENS 19of contemporary technologies. The domain speciﬁc examples Category D, “Considering workers’ aZen)ons,” contains seven )on that are generated by, and referenced throughout, knowl‐ communi)es, and considering the poten)al for unan)cipated used throughout will reinforce this focus. Although some of the ideas that can help product teams envision func)onality edge work ac)vi)es. The ideas in this category highlight the uses of technological op)ons, long before their implementa)on func)onali)es described in these examples are presumably not concepts that eﬀec)vely account for the strengths, limita)ons, poten)al importance of ﬂexible organizing methods; searching, has begun.available in real world tools (no speciﬁc products were referred expecta)ons, and customs associated with workers’ aZen)ons. ﬁltering, and sor)ng applica)on content; handling uncertain to during the wri)ng or illustra)on of this book), they are in‐ Teams can refer to this sec)on when envisioning how their ap‐ data sets; integra)ng informa)on sources; providing messag‐tended to represent realis)c possibili)es for interac)ve comput‐ plica)ons might support users’ desires to remain produc)vely ing around content updates; and archiving unused yet valued ing in the present tense. focused on their chosen voca)ons. The ideas in this category informa)on. highlight the poten)al importance of tempos of work, expected eﬀort, opportunity costs, distrac)on, engagement, resuming Category J, “Facilita)ng communica)on,” contains seven ideas Thirteen Categories of Envisioning Ideas work, alerts func)onality, the development of habit and auto‐ that can help product teams envision appropriate support for ma)city, and other aZen)onal considera)ons. both implicit and ac)ve communica)on in knowledge work The 100 envisioning ideas are broken into thirteen diﬀerent prac)ces. The ideas in this category highlight the poten)al categories that form chapters of sorts. While these chapters are Category E, “Providing opportuni)es to oﬄoad eﬀort,” contains importance of integrated communica)on ac)ons, representa‐suited to random access skimming, some readers may ben‐ six ideas that can help product teams to envision func)onality )onal common ground, work handoﬀs, authorship informa)on, eﬁt from having ﬁrst familiarized themselves with key ideas in concepts that could reduce unwanted knowledge work eﬀort features to facilitate contact between workers, public annota‐categories A, B, and C, such as “Interrela)ons of opera)on, task, while at the same )me keeping workers in the seat of control. )on of interac)on objects and func)onal areas, standardized and ac)vity scenarios” or “Inten)onal and ar)culated concep‐ The ideas in this category highlight the poten)al importance of genres of communica)ons, and prin)ng op)ons that can ﬁt tual models,” if they are unfamiliar with these no)ons. oﬄoading memory burdens; automa)ng appropriate opera‐ workers’ communica)on needs. )ons, tasks, and ac)vi)es; allowing workers to maintain an The following brief descrip)ons of the thirteen idea categories internal locus of control; and providing meaningful visibility into Category K, “Promo)ng integra)on into work prac)ce,” con‐conclude this introductory sec)on: the internal workings of automa)on. tains 13 ideas that can help product teams envision applica)on concepts that, beyond branded marke)ng claims, are intended Category A, “Exploring work media)on and determining scope,” Category F, “Enhancing informa)on representa)on,” contains to unfold as relevant and approachable tools for targeted tasks contains nine ideas that can help product teams pursue useful eleven ideas that can help product teams envision how systems and larger ac)vi)es. Teams can also use these ideas to envision understandings of knowledge work prac)ce. These understand‐ of tailored and interac)ve informa)on representa)ons could extensibility that could allow targeted individuals and organi‐ings can inform insightul models and design concep)ng, which provide value in targeted knowledge work prac)ces. The ideas za)ons to bind new tools to their exis)ng compu)ng systems can in turn illuminate where an applica)on could provide appro‐ in this category highlight the poten)al importance of represen‐ and customs. The ideas in this category highlight the poten)al priate and desirable value in workers’ experiences. The ideas in ta)onal coordina)on, genre, novelty, rela)onships, transforma‐ importance of applica)on localiza)on, introductory experiences, this category describe the poten)al importance of inves)ga)ng )on, and interpreta)on aids, as well as some speciﬁc categories early aZribu)ons of usefulness, diﬀering design approaches workers’ physical and socio‐cultural environments; determin‐ of informa)on display. based on frequency of access, carefully considered user ing tasks and larger ac)vi)es that are conducive to media)on assistance, applica)on interoperability and integra)on, end with compu)ng tools; and suppor)ng specialized needs related Category G, “Clarifying central interac)ons,” contains seven user programming, credibility of content and processes, and to emergent work, collabora)ve work, and individual, localized ideas that can help product teams successfully envision key “at hand” applica)on reliability.prac)ces. interac)on scenarios while ﬂeshing out sketches of their central func)onality concepts. The ideas in this category highlight the Category L, “Aiming for aesthe)c user experiences,” contains Category B, “Deﬁning interac)on objects,” contains ten ideas poten)al importance of interac)ve narra)ve, clarity around ﬁve ideas that can help product teams envision a more enjoy‐that can help product teams envision clear, understandable levels of selec)on, speciﬁc instances of error management and able, appealing, domain appropriate, recognizable, and onscreen en))es for knowledge workers to act on and with in workspace awareness, support for impromptu tangents, pre‐ poten)ally unique direc)ons for their applica)ons’ aesthe)cs. order to accomplish their goals. The ideas in this category high‐ senta)on of relevant suppor)ng informa)on, and transi)oning The ideas in this category highlight the poten)al importance of light the poten)al importance of interac)on objects’ deﬁni)ons, work outcomes from private to public view. carefully designed knowledge work outputs, mee)ng or iden)ﬁca)on, associa)ons, states, ﬂagged variability, owner‐ exceeding contemporary aesthe)c standards, exploring small ship, rela)onships to speciﬁc interac)ons, and templates. Category H, “Suppor)ng outcome explora)on and cogni)ve but iconic design resemblances to known domain ar)facts, pur‐ tracing,” contains four ideas that can help product teams envi‐ suing clear illustra)on content and direct branding, and consid‐Category C, “Establishing an applica)on framework,” contains sion support for knowledge workers’ scenario oriented explora‐ ering iconoclas)c aesthe)cs direc)ons.ten ideas that can help product teams envision consistent, un‐ )on of poten)al outcomes, as well as historical review of appli‐derstandable applica)on concepts that envelope and organize ca)on content. The ideas in this category highlight the poten)al Category M, “Planning connec)on with use,” contains four ideas various func)onali)es for media)ng work. The ideas in this importance of versioning, undo, ac)on history for interac)on that can help product teams envision ways to an)cipate, learn category highlight the importance of applica)ons’ conceptual objects or func)onal areas, and private, working annota)ons. from, and support the real world use of their compu)ng tools. models, interac)on models, diﬀering levels of interac)on pat‐ The ideas in this category highlight the poten)al importance of terns, naviga)on pathways, iden)ty tailored views, states, Category I, “Working with volumes of informa)on,” contains having early and itera)ve conversa)ons with targeted knowl‐and other overarching, “structural” considera)ons. seven ideas that can help product teams envision func)onality edge workers, suppor)ng system champions that could advance concepts for managing and working with the masses of informa‐ product adop)on, fostering and learning from applica)on user
FRONT MATTER WORKING THROUGH SCREENSPrimer on Example Knowledge Work Domains 20This sec)on contains brief background descrip)ons of the three Architectureknowledge work domains used as examples throughout this book: architecture, clinical research, and ﬁnancial trading. These Architects and their ﬁrms, generally speaking, seek to proﬁt‐ some of a ﬁrm’s applica)ons are usually tailored speciﬁcally for The ﬁc)onal architect in this book’s examples works at a example domains show the 100 envisioning ideas “in ac)on” ably create well designed drawings for buildings that address architectural prac)ces, architects also employ standard produc‐ medium sized, culng edge studio with a robust compu)ng in speciﬁc contexts. By including three domains instead of one, complex criteria. These criteria can be set by diverse stakehold‐ )vity tools and other general purpose products as part of their infrastructure. She is s)ll in the rela)vely early phases of her ca‐each envisioning idea presents an opportunity to illustrate use‐ ers such as clients, civil engineers, government regulators, and technological repertoires. reer, though she already has her eye set on becoming a partner ful parallels and commonali)es that can be drawn across very the general public. Architects also set many criteria themselves, some day or star)ng a similar prac)ce elsewhere. At her level diﬀerent types of work prac)ce. based on their training and their personal perspec)ves on The genera)ons of architects working today have varying of seniority, she is a generalist, with responsibili)es that range what cons)tutes good design. To reach these aims, architects desires and expecta)ons for their own use of interac)ve appli‐ from client workshops to itera)vely developing design and The following background content is greatly simpliﬁed when frequently transi)on between synthe)c crea)vity and highly ca)ons. Some of the more experienced, senior architects have construc)on documents. She is part sketchbook dreamer, part compared to the complexity of real work in any one of these analy)cal problem solving. The process of arriving at agreed remained re)cent about using compu)ng in tasks that the diplomat, and part detail oriented workhorse. Her workplace three ﬁelds. The same can be said for the related examples upon building designs, and carrying them forward through majority of architects now exclusively accomplish on screen. goals include:found throughout the 100 envisioning ideas themselves. construc)on, can involve many diﬀerent types of ac)vi)es and These experienced professionals oken focus on how compu)ng Specialists in these professions will likely ﬁnd this book’s de‐ work processes. For this and other reasons, teams of architects tools can limit the expressiveness and clarity of architectural Surpass, or at least meet, client expecta)onsscrip)ons of their voca)ons to be lacking in important speciﬁcs. and consultants, rather than a single individual, are oken outputs, while at the same )me adding a high degree of learn‐ Create appealing, func)onal, high quality designsThey are. Please note that these omissions are inten)onal. responsible for the design of any given project. ing, abstractness, and complexity to their own work prac)ces. This text is a fast access reference to key ideas that can improve This re)cence is in stark contrast to new prac))oners in the Incorporate compelling ideas and ”good design” into applicaon envisioning of knowledge work tools, not a compre‐ ﬁeld, who are expected to have a standard set of skills that building drawingshensive sourcebook for any one profession. includes eﬀec)ve opera)on of many of the latest compu)ng tools. In between these two extremes are prac))oners that Collaborate eﬀec)vely to meet project budgets and are highly skilled at using “their” favored, proven products, and )melines can make these chosen tools ﬁt a wide variety of situa)ons. Contribute to award winning work that impresses partners in her ﬁrm At the )me of wri)ng, a subset of leading architecture studios has a strong interest in adop)ng new technologies to accom‐ plish their aims. Some even consider their use of advanced compu)ng applica)ons as one of their key diﬀeren)ators in the marketplace. Many of the expressive, curvilinear, and asymmet‐ rical geometries found in contemporary architecture would be eﬀec)vely impossible to resolve without the type of interac)ve explora)ons that are available within contemporary compu)ng. Addi)onally, some culng edge architects have become inter‐ ested in how certain tools can programma)cally generate novel forms and based on itera)vely deﬁned rules and constraints. Visions of interac)ve applica)ons in architectural prac)ce began A key, recent development in the industry has been the intro‐ rela)vely early in the history of compu)ng and con)nue to hold duc)on of Building Informa)on Modeling (BIM), a term that remarkable promise for future expansion (see the earlier men‐ encompasses an emerging class of compu)ng applica)ons that )on of Douglas Englebart’s landmark applica)on concept on is beginning to drive radical changes in architectural prac)ce. In page 16). These technological possibili)es have been tempered BIM, the en)re design of a building is stored as a collabora)ve by the established professional cultures in many architecture virtual model that can be modiﬁed and referenced by diﬀerent Building Informaon Modelling | Applicaon Concept ﬁrms, which have historically been rela)vely slow to adopt contributors to a project, purportedly improving communica‐ available compu)ng tools. At the )me of wri)ng, for an impor‐ )on and reducing representa)onal misunderstandings. Since tant range of reasons that are likely to persist for some )me, BIM inherently presents many of the challenges that can occur a considerable amount of architectural prac)ce is s)ll being when aZemp)ng to support collabora)ve work with interac)ve accomplished outside of compu)ng environments. applica)ons, a hypothe)cal “building modeling applica)on” appears throughout the architectural examples included in the During the intervals of a project where architecture ﬁrms do fre‐ 100 envisioning ideas. quently turn to interac)ve applica)ons, they may use a variety of products, including computer aided draking (CAD) and other tools for exploring, visualizing, simula)ng, presen)ng, revising, detailing, and communica)ng design possibili)es. While
FRONT MATTER | PRIMER ON EXAMPLE KNOWLEDGE WORK DOMAINS WORKING THROUGH SCREENS 21Clinical ResearchClinical research scien)sts, generally speaking, want to make mining, to electronic laboratory notebooks for keeping track of The ﬁc)onal scien)st in this book’s examples conducts clinical applied discoveries related to human health. These scien)sts experimental progress. To the unini)ated, stepping into a large, research, largely funded by government grants, on popula)ons adopt diverse methods and technologies to aZack their research well funded lab can feel something like stepping into some fu‐ with a deadly hereditary disease. She has had many years of problems, depending on the nature of the topic under study turis)c version of an industrial produc)on line, with many academic training and experience and is valued for her intel‐and researchers’ own areas of exper)se. Diﬀerent research sta)ons and the buzz of human and machine ac)vity. ligence, depth of knowledge, insights, and personal drive. She ques)ons and methodological approaches are oken funded and has recently become the Principle Inves)gator of her own staﬀed at diﬀerent levels, though these levels can change dras)‐ Many clinical research labs study the gene)c proper)es of research lab, with responsibility over all of its clinical programs cally when promising results appear. Ad hoc procedures can samples in order to understand the presence or absence of and personnel. Her new facility has extensive compu)ng infra‐quickly become established protocols as a clinical lab’s eﬀorts characteris)cs that may be per)nent to their research prob‐ structure, and she has been able to select LIMS and analysis progress from minimally staﬀed explora)ons to a larger, lems. Making conﬁdent conclusions in these types of studies can applica)ons that present the best available ﬁt for her planned produc)on workforce of experimenta)on. require a massive number of experiments, resul)ng in volumes research approaches. Her workplace goals include: of data that are diﬃcult to manage outside of compu)ng environments. Make discoveries that lead to improvements in human health The most frequently used applica)on in many clinical labs is the Lab Informaon Management | Applicaon Concept Design innova)ve studies and protocols Laboratory Informa)on Management System (LIMS). LIMS, at its most extensive, keeps track of all stored data about a labora‐ Mentor students and staﬀ tory, from the stock on the shelves to the results of gene)c tests. Many of these systems also provide func)onality for Ensure that lab technicians have what they need to deﬁning and monitoring laboratory workﬂow, allowing scien)sts conduct experiments to design and distribute experimental protocols for lab techni‐ Analyze experimental data as thoroughly as possible cians and automated instruments to follow. Since LIMS are oken open to integra)on with other applica)ons, they can become Publish leading ﬁndings in reputable journals a central hub for connec)ng all of a laboratory’s compu)ng Manage lab resources wisely infrastructure. Applica)ons for analyzing clinical data are an important class of technologies that may be connected to a LIMS. The analysis tools designed for the scien)ﬁc market represent some of the most advanced examples of interac)ve applica)ons currently Life scien)sts, a larger category to which clinical researchers can available to knowledge workers. These tools can take seemingly be said to belong, were rela)vely early users of compu)ng, and countless pieces of laboratory data and present them in ways they have con)nued to drive some of the most exci)ng prog‐ Lab Data Analysis | Applicaon Concept that allow scien)sts to understand trends, uncover anomalies, ress in the applica)on of interac)ve tools to knowledge work. and make decisions. Robust visualiza)on func)onality can allow Although )me spent at the laboratory bench has remained a researchers to sik through experimental results from a variety staple of many clinical research ac)vi)es, extensive onscreen of perspec)ves based on emergent wayﬁnding approaches. In work has also become part of the essen)al character of these clinical research areas where certain established analyses are scien)sts’ working lives. oken useful for understanding data, highly tailored func)ons can automate known, well characterized tests and present Clinical research labs diﬀer in their adop)on of specialized their results in clear and ac)onable informa)on displays.compu)ng tools, based in large part on their budgets and the character of their research. Labs with limited compu)ng infra‐structure oken focus on storing experimental data in a central repository and providing laboratory staﬀ with typical produc)v‐ity applica)ons, which they may then supplement with a variety open source tools. At the )me of wri)ng, clinical labs with more extensive compu)ng infrastructure have the op)on to adopt technologies for nearly every stage of experimental workﬂow, ranging from sample prepara)on robo)cs and automated instrumenta)on, to specialized analysis sokware for data
FRONT MATTER | PRIMER ON EXAMPLE KNOWLEDGE WORK DOMAINS WORKING THROUGH SCREENS 22Financial Trading The many specializa)ons of ﬁnancial trading are, generally exchanges have created opportuni)es for trading automa)on The ﬁc)onal ﬁnancial trader in this book’s examples works in speaking, about the exchange of ﬁnancial instruments to maxi‐ based on predeﬁned, quan)ta)ve rules set within and executed the ﬂagship building of a leading global ﬁnancial ﬁrm. His com‐mize returns for traders, their ﬁrms, and their clients. The teams by compu)ng tools. In situa)ons where this sort of automa)on pany is known for making signiﬁcant investments in comput‐that accomplish these goals are composed of dis)nct roles is used extensively, actual conversa)ons outside of one’s own ing infrastructure for its highly sought aker staﬀ. He has been and established hierarchical structures that help ensure strict ﬁrm may occur only in special cases, such as nego)a)ons over in ﬁnancial services for a few years, but is s)ll at a point in his accountability. One important dis)nc)on in ﬁnancial ﬁrms’ per‐ large deals, or as an inten)onal means of building speciﬁc career where he wants to stay focused on day to day trading. sonnel is the pervasive separa)on between trading and “back business rela)onships through personal connec)on. He is mo)vated by monetary rewards, but he also enjoys the oﬃce” groups. While traders make decisions about ac)ons in responsibility, risk taking, rapid decision making, and intensive, their markets, the back oﬃce completes the detailed work that Real )me market informa)on feeds, as well as a wealth of moment to moment focus of market transac)ons. He is a highly makes deals happen, such as billing, accoun)ng, and any recon‐ online research func)onality, have created the poten)al for social person, and is known by coworkers and other traders as cilia)on of speciﬁcs that might be needed. informa)on overload and excessive cogni)ve burdens in a wit and conversa)onalist. His workplace goals include: traders’ work. Successful traders, having adapted to this poten)ally overwhelming context, become skilled at knowing Work fast and smart, making decisions quickly when to invest )me to research a transac)on and when it is Exceed, or at least meet, ﬁnancial targets more beneﬁcial to simply execute a deal based on immediately Specialized Trading | Applicaon Concept available informa)on. These choices of )me and aZen)on are Maintain business rela)onships and have good made, in part, based on the input and visible ac)vi)es of other conversa)ons traders. Onscreen tools for suppor)ng collabora)on are oken supplemented with shouts to colleagues across the room or via Be honest and fair with counterpar)es while a global “squawk box” intercom system. advancing organiza)onal goals Keep current on relevant market news and trends While the use of compu)ng is universal in modern ﬁnancial organiza)ons, individual ﬁrms have varying altudes about providing new technologies to their workforces. Some ﬁrms conduct updates to their compu)ng infrastructure in long, safe cycles, while others are con)nually aZemp)ng to improve the produc)vity of their staﬀ by providing them industry leading applica)ons. The main drivers for adop)ng new technologies into trading ac‐The history of ﬁnancial trading has strong )es to advanced )vi)es have been promised increases in eﬃciency and volume, applica)ons of communica)on technologies. Traders are com‐ reduc)ons in errors, warehousing of useful data, and freeing munica)ve people, and ongoing rela)onships based on stable Specialized Market Analysis | Applicaon Concept workers from menial ac)ons so that they can spend more )me interchanges have tradi)onally been a necessity in order to conduc)ng “smarter” business. Financial ﬁrms oken develop secure favorable transac)ons in markets over )me. The desire their own specialized compu)ng tools internally, and when they for the most current market informa)on possible has driven purchase applica)ons from niche product vendors, they may successive genera)ons of traders to rapidly adopt new technol‐ substan)ally customize them during their system integra)on ogies. For example, one of the ﬁrst applica)ons of the telegraph processes. Outside of domain speciﬁc products, both traders was the transmission of market data, and in a similar vein, many and back oﬃce workers make extensive use of typical, oﬀ the ﬁnancial organiza)ons were rela)vely early adopters of shelf produc)vity applica)ons and communica)ons communica)on via computer networks. technologies.Compu)ng automa)on and interac)ve applica)ons have had profound impacts on professional prac)ce in ﬁnancial trading. Although contemporary traders may s)ll be vocal par)cipants in their markets, at the )me of wri)ng, many types of trading transac)ons are typically accomplished without any face to face or phone conversa)on. Instead of verbal interac)on, communi‐ca)on in these special)es now commonly involves the exchange of textual informa)on on computer screens. These networked
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | IDEA CATEGORY WORKING THROUGH SCREENSA. Exploring Work Mediation 23 and Determining ScopeValued computing tools can seemingly “ﬁt” Ideas about the poten)al roles that a product could play in knowledge work can arise in diﬀerent ways. Product teams working within mature genres can build and innovate into certain parts of knowledge workers’ based on exis)ng understandings. Teams seeking to create novel applica)ons, whether actions and thought processes, usefully tailored to a speciﬁc workplace or a larger market segment, can have more extensive, “from the ground up” ques)ons to consider. In either situa)on, teams can inten)onally meshing within the ﬂows of their own goals. reevaluate and ﬂesh out their ini)al ideas about their product’s contribu)ons to workers’ ac)vi)es.Designing for such a harmonious pairing Since so much of knowledge work is tacit and occurs inside workers minds, it can be requires critical exploration of potential diﬃcult for product teams to gather the informa)on that they need to create useful shared models of current work prac)ce and its challenges. Direct observa)on in work interventions into targeted activities. environments and itera)ve, par)cipatory modeling processes can help teams gain insights into what workers have diﬃculty remembering and ar)cula)ng.During application envisioning, product Diﬀerent approaches to modeling work prac)ce can frame certain problem spaces in teams can model and rationalize knowledge diﬀerent ways. Teams can use these diﬀering frames to iden)fy areas for fruitul design concep)ng, such as needed “basics” for a compu)ng tool, poten)al areas for work from a variety of perspectives in order improvement, and workers’ unmet needs. to understand how certain practices might This category contains 9 of the 100 applicaon envisioning ideas in this book:be usefully mediated by their own onscreenapplications. A1. Inﬂuen)al physical and cultural environments A2. Workers’ interrela)ons and rela)onshipsTeams can use these models to sketch A3. Work prac)ces appropriate for computer media)ondivergent functionality concepts, eventually A4. Standardiza)on of work prac)ce through media)ondrafting an appropriate and desirable scope A5. Interrela)ons of opera)on, task, and ac)vity scenariosfor their computing tool. A6. Open and emergent work scenarios A7. Collabora)on scenarios and varia)ons A8. Local prac)ces and scenario varia)ons A9. High value ra)o for targeted work prac)ces Product teams can use these ideas to explore how diﬀerent understandings of know‐ ledge work prac)ce can inform diverse applica)on concepts and reﬁned design strate‐ gies. Even when a product’s ini)al charter targets a speciﬁc domain goal or ac)vity, more expansive modeling and idea)on can highlight opportuni)es for more systemic responses and valuable innova)ons. The central no)on of this category applies to all of the applicaon envisioning ideas, though it is most closely related to the “Deﬁning interac)on objects” (B), “Establishing an applica)on framework” (C), “Promo)ng integra)on into work prac)ce” (K), and “Planning connec)on with use” (M) categories.
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | A. EXPLORING WORK MEDIATION AND DETERMINING SCOPE WORKING THROUGH SCREENSA1. Inﬂuential Physical and Cultural Environments 24The environments that knowledge workers practice within How could your team’s insights into the realities and— which includes both their multidisciplinary organizations and constraints of targeted knowledge workers’ physical andthe larger cultural context of their professions — can pose key cultural environments shape your application concepts?challenges and opportunities for product teams as they attempt How might your computing tool meaningfully and valuablyto outline appropriate and compelling design strategies. “ﬁt” into these complex contexts?Examples from three knowledge work domains: More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons for knowledge work: A ﬁnancial trader depends on many elements of his oﬃce environment to accom‐ plish his work. From the “yelling distance” proximity of key colleagues, to the avail‐ What size and variety of organiza)ons might your team be targe)ng with your ability of specialized compu)ng and communica)on tools, to the in house services interac)ve applica)on? How similar are these environments to each other? that allow him to work late, he feels that his ﬁrm has done everything it can to support him as he strives to sit at his desk and focus on maximizing proﬁts for Financial How could speciﬁc cultural characteris)cs of targeted workers’ environments, such his group (see illustra(on). Trader as shared norms, values, and customs, impact the strategic direc)on of your team’s compu)ng tool? A scien)st organizes the spa)al layout and bench assignments of her clinical lab to How have these characteris)cs changed over )me, and what direc)ons are they promote frequent, unplanned communica)on and the eﬀec)ve execu)on of struc‐ trending in now? tured research work. There are few “oﬃces,” and most of the compu)ng work‐ sta)ons are placed on or near benches where technicians run experiments. What breakdowns in work prac)ce are currently caused or aggravated by environmental factors? Could these breakdowns represent poten)al An architect’s desktop computer is situated in an open ﬂoor plan room dedicated to opportuni)es for your product? a single building project. The walls of the space are covered with large printouts of current work. She typically does not have to go very far to have an informal conver‐ How does the concentra)on or distribu)on of related physical spaces currently sa)on with anyone on her project team — though she s)ll ﬁnds the group to be impact knowledge workers’ prac)ces? too hierarchical. How do physical contexts shape workers’ communica)ve, coopera)ve, and All knowledge work occurs in a physical and cultural environment, and successful collabora)ve eﬀorts?individuals can be quite adept at making use of their situa)onal contexts. While the conven)onal cubicle row remains a stereotyped landscape for knowledge work, many How are important work ar)facts “located” within physical space and cultural professions have specialized workplace schemes that have evolved throughout their zones? What understood norms surround their use in diﬀerent environmental history (C7, G4). Changing organiza)onal structures and philosophies, in conjunc)on circumstances?with the expansion of computer networks and other communica)on technologies (J), What altudes do targeted knowledge workers have regarding their own mobility? have created opportuni)es for some types of knowledge work to become geographi‐ What ac)vi)es do they expect to be able to accomplish at various loca)ons?cally distributed, “remote” or even “nomadic.” How might diﬀerent models and understandings of these environmental factors Product teams can holis)cally model targeted selngs in search of valuable insights that Fellow Traders + Shared Ways of Working allow your team to envision applica)on concepts that could essen)ally “belong” could be meaningfully reﬂected in their divergent applica)on concepts. For example, in targeted contexts?knowledge workers’ immediate cultures can exert powerful inﬂuences over the purpose Dependable Enabling Technologies Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning and character of what they consider to be standard norms and customary prac)ces. At ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design a macro level, individual workers may also learn from and contribute to communi)es of concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts? prac)ce that span mul)ple organiza)ons and geographic loca)ons (M3). When product teams do not ac)vely consider the poten)al inﬂuence of physical and cultural environment on their emerging ideas about work media)on and applica)on scope, opportuni)es to clearly situate products within their eventual contexts can be lost. Applica)ons that do not adequately reﬂect physical reali)es (K1) and cultural set‐)ngs (A2, C5, B7) can be more diﬃcult for workers to learn (D2, D3, K2, K6) and may not be seen as useful or aZrac)ve op)ons (K3).See also: A, B8, C4, F2, G7, K10, M
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | A. EXPLORING WORK MEDIATION AND DETERMINING SCOPE WORKING THROUGH SCREENSA2. Workers’ Interrelations and Relationships 25Social interactions in knowledge work activities often involve How could your team’s insights into the connectivities andmultiple categories of organizational roles and outside stake- qualities of targeted knowledge workers’ relationships shapeholders. The cultural characteristics of knowledge workers’ your application concepts? How might your computing toolsocial worlds can pose key challenges and opportunities for usefully and meaningfully reﬂect these social realities?product teams as they attempt to outline appropriate andcompelling design strategies. More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons for knowledge work: Examples from three knowledge work domains: How are workforces divided up in the organiza)ons that your team might be An architect typically works with other architects on her team, project managers targe)ng with your interac)ve applica)on? and partners within her studio, a variety of specialized external consultants, and her What roles do diﬀerent groups of knowledge workers play in the context of clients. As a broad generalist, she has diﬀerent goals, expecta)ons, and methods of working with each of these groups, and she wants to use compu)ng tools that will Architect diﬀerent ac)vi)es? not get in the way of these diﬀering approaches (see illustra(on). How do these groups of workers overlap and interrelate? How could your team characterize their goals and aZributes based on observed rela)ons in real world A ﬁnancial trader typically works with other traders, back oﬃce support, several selngs? levels of management, and many business contacts outside his ﬁrm. The technolo‐ gies and processes that his company has built up over )me express underlying, top Which social network )es and interpersonal interac)ons are the most important down — yet shared — norms and values about how these diﬀerent groups should for successful work prac)ce? formally interact. Which )es do targeted workers enjoy and value? A scien)st typically works with other researchers in her clinical lab, the lab’s tech‐ Which interac)ons are problema)c? Could these breakdowns represent nicians, representa)ves from regulatory bodies, a number of vendors, principle opportuni)es for your product? inves)gators at other labs, and members of the scien)ﬁc community at large. As the head of her lab, she wants to have some measure of control over all of its key What direc)ons are these interpersonal connec)ons trending in? What changes internal and public interac)ons. in organiza)onal rela)onships have occurred in the recent past?Knowledge work is oken performed within complex social spheres that contain a range What overriding management altudes about workers’ interrela)ons could of overlapping cultural expecta)ons (A1). As part of everyday work prac)ce, successful inﬂuence the success of your compu)ng tool?individuals can become skilled at ac)ng within, and making use of, certain interpersonal How might diﬀerent models and understandings of these social factors allow your rela)onships. team to envision applica)on concepts that could improve valued interpersonal interac)ons for all involved? Product teams can model these rela)onships in search of valuable insights that could be meaningfully reﬂected in their divergent applica)on concepts. Conven)onal profes‐ Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning sional prac)ces, along with understood workﬂow and power structures within organiza‐ ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design )ons, may dictate how diﬀerent actors work together to accomplish certain outcomes Construction Team concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?(A4, C6). Addi)onally, local ways of working may arise organically from a shared ground‐ing of implicit norms and customs, which can be reﬂected in divisions of labor (A7, A8) Consultantsand resul)ng ar)facts (B).When product teams do not ac)vely consider how the speciﬁcs of workers’ social worlds might impact their emerging ideas about work media)on and applica)on scope, opportuni)es to clearly situate a product in the context of these interpersonal networks can be lost. Applica)ons that do not allow expected social interac)ons or reﬂect ex‐pected power rela)onships (A2, C5, B7) can be more diﬃcult for workers to learn (D2, K2, K6) and may not be seen as useful or aZrac)ve op)ons (D3, K3). These products Clientmay also not adequately support important coopera)ve or collabora)ve work prac)ces (C7, G4) such as handoﬀs (G7, J3) and other forms of communica)on (J). Internal TeamSee also: A, B8, C8, M
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | A. EXPLORING WORK MEDIATION AND DETERMINING SCOPE WORKING THROUGH SCREENSA3. Work Practices Appropriate for Computer Mediation 26Interactive applications can provide knowledge workers and Where in your team’s big picture characterizations of knowledgetheir organizations more value in some activity scenarios workers’ activities do you see potential value and possibility forthan in others. To drive an appropriate and compelling useful and meaningful mediation by a computing tool? From aapplication scope, product teams can balance the desire to vantage point that emphasizes targeted workers’ mental efforts,usefully facilitate targeted workers’ goals and practices with where is there less potential value and possibility?contemporary limitations of the computing medium. More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons Examples from three knowledge work domains: for knowledge work: A scien)st tests a variety of novel techniques to ensure that her laboratory is taking What por)ons of their work prac)ces do targeted individuals and organiza)ons not advantage of the latest clinical research methods. While she uses certain func)on‐ want to move onscreen? What por)ons would they like to have supported by an ali)es in her lab’s onscreen applica)ons to perform these tests, she does not expect Clinical interac)ve applica)on? Why? these compu)ng tools to support such open explora)ons to the same degree that Scientist How might contemporary compu)ng be too closed, individualis)c, and constraining they support high volume, standardized experiments (see illustra(on). for the knowledge work that your team is targe)ng? A ﬁnancial trader spends most of his day using interac)ve applica)ons to accom‐ Which work prac)ces do not inherently lend themselves to being mediated by a plish predictable tasks. Since he knows that these tools can make important transac‐ near term compu)ng tool? )ons somewhat impersonal, he oken spends part of his day strengthening business rela)onships through informal phone and face to face chats. Which work prac)ces could be ripe for onscreen support, facilita)on, and enhancement? An architect begins her projects with free form sketching of poten)al shapes and ideas. She will not use her building modeling applica)on, which emphasizes What larger trends and advanced analogies in technology adop)on could valuably exac)ng details, to perform this very ﬂuid early work. inform your team’s decision making about which ac)vi)es to target? Are there any opportuni)es for your applica)on concepts to support small por)ons For a variety of reasons, not all knowledge work prac)ces are well suited to being medi‐ of otherwise “oﬀ screen” work, rather than larger expanses of work prac)ce?ated by an interac)ve applica)on. Workers may value their current, oﬄine methods of accomplishing certain tasks or larger ac)vi)es (A5) to an extent that they do and not How might your team model and use these understandings to envision func)onality want to change their proven customs. Even when people are open to certain changes, concepts, poten)al applica)on scopes, and larger strategic direc)ons for your the limita)ons of contemporary compu)ng may prove too constraining for some types product?of thinking work (D1). For example, conven)onal compu)ng tools inherently stan‐dardize ac)vi)es in ways that can restrict explora)on (A4), and they typically support Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning collabora)on by oﬀering highly individualis)c ac)ons within coopera)ve environments ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design (C7, G4). concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?With knowledge workers’ preferences and the limita)ons of current technologies in mind, product teams can carefully target ac)vi)es where their applica)on could desir‐ably and feasibly provide value. Since workers may brieﬂy use compu)ng tools even in “inten)onally oﬄine” ac)vi)es, teams can also respectully envision more ﬂee)ng touchpoints (G5). These brief points of connec)on can some)mes serve as valuable opportuni)es to support smaller goals with tailored func)onality, such as the ability to inform a decision by searching for related informa)on (B8, I5).When product teams do not ac)vely consider whether targeted work prac)ces are appropriate and conducive for onscreen interac)on, resul)ng applica)ons may contain extensive func)onali)es that are not par)cularly appreciated by knowledge workers. These products may be diﬃcult to learn and “clumsy” in ac)on (D2, K2, K6, K13). When organiza)ons make such tools a standard part of their processes, workers may resent these technologies and limit their own use of them (D3, K12).See also: A, C6, D4, E5, M1, M4
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | A. EXPLORING WORK MEDIATION AND DETERMINING SCOPE WORKING THROUGH SCREENSA4. Standardization of Work Practice through Mediation 27When interactive applications introduce new possibilities in Where in your team’s big picture characterizations of knowledgesupport of knowledge work practices, they often also introduce workers’ activities could inherent standardization be valuable innew levels of standardization. Product team can envision a supporting computing tool? Where might targeted individualsappropriate levels of freedom and constraint in their application and organizations view standardization as restrictive andconcepts, which can range from a slight narrowing of available problematic?choices to the restrictive organization of entire activities. More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons Examples from three knowledge work domains: for knowledge work: A ﬁnancial trader used to communicate about certain topics through a variety of Which standardiza)ons of work prac)ce do targeted individuals and organiza)ons diﬀerent channels, but now he frequently uses his new trading applica)on instead currently value? Why? of reaching for other op)ons. It has func)onality that allows him to quickly send targeted messages to relevant par)es, and he likes the idea of his group standard‐ Financial Where have they inten)onally avoided standardiza)on? Where do they disagree izing their approach to communica)on (see illustra(on). Trader on the topic? What value does standardiza)on provide in current prac)ces? An architect used to have diﬀerent approaches to adding construc)on notes to diﬀerent types and scales of drawings. When her studio made the switch to using a Who deﬁned current standardiza)ons? How were they introduced? building modeling applica)on, which has very diﬀerent implica)ons and opportuni‐ Which areas of work prac)ce are trending toward more standardiza)on? )es for these notes, she worked to inform and educate external colleagues about a Which are trending toward less? new set of nota)on standards. How are agreed upon work prac)ces formalized into structured work processes A scien)st sets up procedures for her lab technicians to follow. While these proce‐ within targeted organiza)ons? What might your team learn from these transi)ons? dures have always been consistent, the introduc)on of her lab’s new informa)on management applica)on has facilitated new levels of useful standardiza)on that Where could conﬂic)ng standardiza)on requests make it diﬃcult to deﬁne useful had previously been too diﬃcult to achieve. onscreen support? At what point are requests too diverse for a single compu)ng tool to be eﬀec)ve for a majority of users?Interac)ve applica)ons inherently contain some standardizing constraints. For example, data aZributes may have a predeﬁned list of valid op)ons, and naviga)on pathways What advanced analogies about standardiza)ons in other ﬁelds could valuably between func)onal areas may be strung together in meaningfully predetermined ways inform your team’s strategic idea)on?(C4). Some designs for compu)ng tools are more direc)ve than others, and channeling How might your sketched func)onality concepts maintain or expand upon exis)ng, constraints can have diﬀerent levels of mutability, ranging from somewhat ﬂexible to useful standardiza)ons?highly ﬁxed (K6). What opera)ons, tasks, or even en)re ac)vi)es that your team is considering Product teams can sketch standardizing constraints that are useful and well suited for your product’s scope will likely require further standardiza)on in order to be to targeted tasks and larger ac)vi)es. Depending on standardiza)on goals, a rou)ne supported eﬀec)vely?knowledge work procedure could be supported with a set of random access tools in an Which parts of your sketched applica)on concepts could imply further open applica)on workspace (A6, G2), an en)rely ﬁxed interac)ve workﬂow (C6, D4), standardiza)on by design? Could these constraints be a hindrance or will they or even an automated procedure (E3, E4). When incoming requests for standardiza)on meaningfully direct interac)on and work outcomes?are inconsistent (A2, A7, A8), teams can map consistencies and variabili)es in order to envision default approaches, along with methods of customizing those defaults to meet Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning local prac)ces and individual needs (C8, D1). However, some)mes eﬀec)ve standards ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design simply cannot be deﬁned. concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?When product teams do not ac)vely consider how implicit or explicit standardiza‐)on might impact their emerging ideas about work media)on and applica)on scope, opportuni)es to provide valuable inﬂexibili)es can be lost. When applica)ons contain inappropriate standardiza)on, they can create frustra)ng and unpersuasive limita)ons on ac)on, poten)ally leading to diﬃcul)es in adop)on (K) and excessively eﬀortul workarounds (D2, D3).See also: A, B5, E, F, G1, J6, L2, M1, M4
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | A. EXPLORING WORK MEDIATION AND DETERMINING SCOPE WORKING THROUGH SCREENSA5. Interrelations of Operation, Task, and Activity Scenarios 28Knowledge workers’ granular actions can be categorized as From a vantage point that emphasizes knowledge workers’operations, which overlap and interrelate into larger tasks, mental efforts, how might your team break down your bigwhich themselves overlap and interrelate into the larger unit picture characterizations of targeted workers’ practices into aof activities. Explicit models of these multi-tiered relationships useful and meaningful hierarchy of activity, task, and low levelcan help product teams envision interactive applications that operation elements?are much more than haphazard collections of unconnected,discrete functions. More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons for knowledge work:Examples from three knowledge work domains: Which opera)ons are so discrete that they probably do not need to be included in An architect performs many small opera)ons in her building modeling applica)on, your envisioning process? How much detail is too much detail when thinking about progressively comple)ng separate tasks that incrementally advance the project. Architect a founda)onal model that your team can use to sketch poten)al design strategies and applica)on concepts? These individual advancements, in conjunc)on with her colleagues’ contribu)ons to the same model, result in a series of itera)ons, which eventually result in a What user goals and other aZributes might your team capture for each opera)on, complete and approved design (see illustra(on). task, and larger ac)vity in your emerging ra)onaliza)ons of knowledge work? A ﬁnancial trader performs a number of steps while comple)ng every trade. These How should the discrete, individual elements within your team’s models of current individual trades contribute to his larger goal of advancing the proﬁtability of his and desired work prac)ces overlap, nest, and interrelate? ﬁrm by maximizing the value of his own transac)ons. Could individual opera)ons map to more than one task, or are they strictly A scien)st analyzes the clinical data generated by her lab technicians aker each hierarchical? round of their experiments. These individual analyses accumulate into a study’s ﬁndings, which then lead to further studies, in a chain of research that contributes Could individual tasks map to several diﬀerent ac)vi)es? to the accumulated knowledge of her clinical ﬁeld. Could individual ac)vi)es map to other, larger ac)vi)es?In the process of ra)onalizing knowledge work for system design, product teams How might the mapping of an individual work element to mul)ple situa)ons change inevitably break down larger work prac)ces into smaller pieces. They may characterize how it is prac)ced under diﬀerent circumstances? Where could varia)ons based on segments of work by inputs and outputs, the actors involved (A2), related goals, and these mappings be dras)c enough to call them out as diﬀerent prac)ces? many other factors (J3). While this deconstruc)ve approach can be a key method for How might diﬀerent scenario ﬂows through your team’s ra)onalized maps of work developing meaningful understandings of workers’ behaviors, it runs the risk of sever‐ prac)ce drive diﬀerent requirements for func)onality concepts?ing inherent linkages that can be essen)al for eﬀec)ve envisioning of useful and usable compu)ng tools (C4, G1). Which threads and mappings in your models could be essen)al for envisioning your applica)on’s conceptual model, interac)on model, and pathways for goal directed Product teams can connect characterized units into networks and )ered hierarchies wayﬁnding?that reﬂect workers’ current and desired prac)ces. They can recognize that when they envision a speciﬁc ac)vity as part of their applica)on’s scope (A3, A9), they are going Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning to have to support at least some of its related tasks and opera)ons. Teams can discover ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design that these linkages between units may not be exclusive, so that, for example, the same concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?task can be )ed to two diﬀerent ac)vi)es, with slight varia)ons based on diﬀerences in context (A7, A8). They may also see that the interrela)ons inherent in work prac)ces could suggest, for example, a basis for automated func)onality (E3, E4) or connec)vity with other technologies (B8, K8, K9, K10).When product teams do not ac)vely consider how the interrelated nature of workers’ prac)ces might impact their emerging ideas about work media)on and applica)on scope, opportuni)es to envision clearly deﬁned, easily navigable, and func)onally appropriate products can be lost (C1, C2). Considering these interrela)ons can be par)cularly important when teams are crea)ng novel tools that do not have core, established conven)ons to fall back on (F2, L2).See also: A, B4, B5, C6, F1, G5, K, M1, M4
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | A. EXPLORING WORK MEDIATION AND DETERMINING SCOPE WORKING THROUGH SCREENSA6. Open and Emergent Work Scenarios 29Some knowledge work tasks and larger activities involve What areas of your team’s emerging models of work practicesolving complex, undeﬁned problems where workers’ goals are accomplished through open and emergent pathways ofand methods evolve within unfolding pathways of effort. knowledge work rather than strict, process oriented action?These emergent scenarios can be supported by interactive From a vantage point that emphasizes targeted workers’ mentalapplications that present useful ﬂexibilities, which product efforts, how much functional ﬂexibility could be required toteams can envision as largely unsequenced but interrelated valuably support these cases?patterns of mediated work. More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons Examples from three knowledge work domains: for knowledge work: A scien)st’s use of her analysis applica)on is highly con)ngent on what trends she What tasks or larger ac)vi)es, within the scope of work that your team is discovers in her lab’s clinical results. Within the tool’s data visualiza)on func)onal‐ Clinical inves)ga)ng, take shape through the improvisa)onal structure of workers’ i)es, her goals can change dras)cally based on the paZerns that appear aker each Scientist prac)ces? visual transforma)on that she explores (see illustra(on). What do targeted workers accomplish in these open and emergent scenarios An architect is working in her building modeling applica)on on a ﬂoor plan for a and varia)ons? hospital’s cri)cal care ward. She tries out a number of diﬀerent rough layouts that What are the ini)a)ng goals in each of these cases? How can those goals evolve could meet the project’s requirements, evolving her own criteria for a successful through diﬀerent series of ac)ons? solu)on as she explores diﬀerent ideas. Is the knowledge work domain that your team is targe)ng trending toward more A ﬁnancial trader’s work is primarily composed of frequent, brief, discrete, and improvisa)on or toward further specializa)on of deﬁned processes and roles? habitual ac)ons. However, some parts of his work are oken not so rou)ne, such as conversa)ons about problema)c trades or large poten)al deals, both of which can How do targeted individuals and their organiza)ons view the importance of open follow irregular processes and require unpredictable amounts of )me. and emergent prac)ces? Do they wish they were more standardized? Do they value their openness?Some types of knowledge work are prac)ced without step by step procedures or even What situa)ons in these improvisa)onal scenarios trigger workers to make high level road maps. Workers may begin these prac)ces with clear goals in mind, but decisions about subsequent approaches and ac)ons?their inten)ons can evolve as outcomes unfold through a progression of ac)ons. To suc‐cessfully accomplish these scenarios, individuals can become highly skilled at recogniz‐ What are the most important points of ﬂexibility for your team to consider when ing paZerns, situa)onally turning to supplemental resources and tools (G5, K8, K9), aZemp)ng to support these work prac)ces?making meaning, tes)ng hypotheses (F8, F9, I2, I3), revising their expecta)ons and understandings, and deﬁning success (L1). What other paZerns and regulari)es can your team ﬁnd in these “clouds” of poten)al scenarios? How might you use these insights to ideate useful and The varia)ons that stem from open and emergent ways of working can be diﬃcult meaningful func)onality concepts?for product teams to appropriately capture in their shared, ra)onalized models (A7, How could support for these prac)ces impact the overall scope and frameworks A8). In some cases, a single model of these work prac)ces can cover a cri)cal mass of of your applica)on concepts?important varia)ons. In many other cases, teams may beneﬁt from crea)ng models that represent a “cloud” of poten)al scenarios — an interrelated network of largely How far might your team push certain ﬂexibili)es for open and emergent prac)ces unsequenced paZerns of ac)on. before the interac)on clarity of your sketched compu)ng tools begins to break down?When product teams do not ac)vely consider how open and emergent scenarios might Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning impact their developing ideas about work media)on and applica)on scope, resul)ng ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design products may lack necessary ﬂexibili)es (A9). In the name of standardiza)on (A4), prod‐ concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?uct teams may crystallize processes based on inadequate understandings of complex reali)es (B8, C8), resul)ng in applica)ons that can be diﬃcult for workers to adopt and use (D2, D3, G1, K). At their worst, these hindrances to open and emergent work can be evidenced in the overall framework of a compu)ng tool (C1, C2), which can be an excessively diﬃcult issue to correct in implemented products.See also: A, B4, G6, H, I5, K3, K6, K11, M1, M4
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | A. EXPLORING WORK MEDIATION AND DETERMINING SCOPE WORKING THROUGH SCREENSA7. Collaboration Scenarios and Variations 30Even apparently individualistic knowledge work practices can What areas in your team’s emerging models of knowledge I’ve set up a meeƟng tohave key collaborative, or at least cooperative, scenarios and review the current work practice can involve collaborative, or at least cooperative,variations. By actively envisioning how these cases might be version of this building action? How might attempting to mediate these complexsupported by an interactive application, product teams can model... practices impact the functional forms and overarchingavoid common and disruptive pitfalls in their approaches strategic directions of your application concepts?to mediating work. More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons Examples from three knowledge work domains: for knowledge work: An architect frequently reviews her project work with one or more colleagues in What tasks or larger ac)vi)es, within the scope of work prac)ce that your team her ﬁrm, either formally or informally. While this used to typically occur face to face, is inves)ga)ng, are inherently collabora)ve? wri)ng on paper printouts, her company’s new building modeling applica)on now Architect What parts of knowledge work that could otherwise be considered individualis)c allows her to meet online with team members from diﬀerent global oﬃces in have collabora)ve or coopera)ve varia)ons? a shared, highly visual workspace (see illustra(on). What do targeted workers accomplish in these scenarios and varia)ons? A ﬁnancial trader some)mes shares the details of important pending deals with other traders in his group. Their ﬁrm’s trading applica)on allows him to save drak What are their goals in each of these cases? proposals of large, complex deals to a shared loca)on where his colleagues can And it looks like the What breakdowns in work prac)ce are currently caused or aggravated by access and work on them. people from our team coopera)ve and collabora)ve interac)ons? Could these problems represent A scien)st sets up her clinical research lab’s informa)on management applica)on that I invited have poten)al opportuni)es for your team’s product? in a way that allows certain lab technicians to “own” certain tasks. She makes an joined the online Is the knowledge work domain that you are targe)ng trending toward more excep)on for quality checking procedures, which will require the input of two workspace, and they collabora)on or toward further specializa)on of deﬁned processes and roles? separate lab techs. are looking at the building’s details... How do targeted individuals and their organiza)ons view the importance of Collabora)on in knowledge work can range from asking quick ques)ons to spending collabora)ve prac)ces? Do they wish they were more individualis)c? More long hours ac)vely working with colleagues, either in person or at a distance (A1). collabora)ve?People may recognize some tasks or larger ac)vi)es as explicitly collabora)ve, whether that collabora)on takes place in real )me or asynchronously (F1, J2). Even in areas of What speciﬁc aspects and eﬀects of collabora)on do workers perceive as valuable? work prac)ce where individuals do not feel that they are directly collabora)ng, they are Which are inherently important for successful outcomes? oken coopera)vely comple)ng their own parts of a larger process while sharing certain What other paZerns and regulari)es might your team ﬁnd in shared, convivial elements of their organiza)onal contexts (C5, G7, J3, J4). prac)ces? How might you use these insights to ideate useful and meaningful func)onality concepts?Varia)ons that stem from collabora)ve ways of working can be diﬃcult for product teams to meaningfully ra)onalize (A4, A6, A7, A8). In some cases, a single model of How could support for these prac)ces impact the overall scope and frameworks how a product could mediate knowledge work can cover a cri)cal mass of important of your applica)on concepts?variants. In many other cases, teams may beneﬁt from crea)ng mul)ple models of How far might your team push certain ﬂexibili)es for collabora)ve scenarios and the same area of work prac)ce in order to usefully and appropriately describe speciﬁc varia)ons before the interac)on clarity of your sketched compu)ng tools begins instances of collabora)ve, or at least coopera)ve, ac)on. to break down?When product teams do not ac)vely consider how the collabora)ve aspects of knowl‐ Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning edge work might impact their emerging ideas about work media)on and applica)on ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design scope, resul)ng products may not be adopted by individuals and organiza)ons that concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?place a high value on shared, convivial work (K). Applica)ons’ frameworks (C1, C2) may Distant Collaboratorsmistakenly emphasize individualis)c direc)ves over coopera)ve interac)ons, inhibi)ng both the distribu)on of eﬀort and meaningful visibility into others’ ac)ons (C7, G4). Such frameworks can also contribute to the likelihood of human error (C9, G3) and drive workers to perform excessively eﬀortul work arounds (D2, D3, D4). It’s not as good as meeƟng face to face in front of some bigSee also: A, B5, B6, B7, B8, H2, H3, J1, J5, M1 printouts or the same screen, but I look forward to gathering these experienced architects’ feedback on our current choices...
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | A. EXPLORING WORK MEDIATION AND DETERMINING SCOPE WORKING THROUGH SCREENSA8. Local Practices and Scenario Variations 31Knowledge workers may continually reﬁne their approaches How might your team’s emerging models of knowledge workto certain tasks and larger activities in order to meet their practice call out key local variabilities between and withinlocal needs, performing adaptive variations based on targeted organizations? Where in your mapped understandingsrecognized contingencies. Product teams can envision how could different scenarios for accomplishing the same goal bediverse yet essential variations in workers’ practices might important? How might those differences impact the overarchingbe supported by thoughtful ﬂexibilities in their application functional forms and strategic directions of your applicationconcepts. concepts?Examples from three knowledge work domains: More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons for knowledge work: A ﬁnancial trader has worked at three diﬀerent ﬁrms in the last ﬁve years, using the same trading applica)on in each organiza)on. Although each ﬁrm had slightly dif‐ Financial What tasks or larger ac)vi)es, within the scope of work prac)ce that your team is ferent ways of accomplishing the same goals, the trading tool consistently displayed inves)ga)ng, are performed diﬀerently in diﬀerent locales and situa)ons? the right kinds of ﬂexibility to be eﬀec)ve in each environment (see illustra(on). Trader What variabili)es stem mainly from local diﬀerences in prac)ces, as seen when A scien)st’s use of her analysis applica)ons depends on the purpose and methods looking across targeted organiza)ons? of the par)cular clinical studies that her lab is currently conduc)ng. However, look‐ How do common diﬀerences in workers’ personal behaviors and preferences ing across the diﬀerent types of studies that her lab has recently pursued, she thinks create categorical varia)ons in work prac)ce? What circumstan)al cases can drive that she typically performs diﬀerent “ﬂavors” of the same essen)al analyses. important diﬀerences in workers’ approaches to accomplishing a goal? What can An architect meets with her team at the end of every project to discuss poten)al cause these divergent branches from a “normal” prac)ce? process improvements. Looking back across two years, she sees that her studio’s How do targeted individuals and organiza)ons view the importance of their own detailed approaches to working have evolved more than she had realized. ways of accomplishing work? Are they aware of other ways of doing things?Examining knowledge work across a number of organiza)ons, there can be can be Are the variabili)es that your team has iden)ﬁed trending toward more major varia)ons in how diﬀerent individuals and groups accomplish the same types of consolida)on or further division? work prac)ce (A1). Even organiza)ons opera)ng in highly similar ﬁelds can have very diﬀerent goals, established processes, observed methods, and barriers to success. Which varia)ons could be thought of as cri)cal or frequent enough to model as Within a given workplace, people may have developed several diﬀerent ways to separate but related work prac)ces? Which local prac)ces are uncommon? accomplish certain goals based on recognizable cases. Which are frequent or seen as cri)cal by targeted workers? Which varia)ons do people value just as much as the “normal” ﬂows of their own Branches that stem from local and variable approaches to work can be diﬃcult for work prac)ces? Nearly as much as?product teams to meaningfully dis)ll into shared, ra)onalized models (A4, A7). In some cases, a single model of how a product could mediate knowledge work can cover a cri)‐ What prac)ces might individuals and organiza)ons be open to changing in order cal mass of important varia)ons. In many other cases, teams may beneﬁt from crea)ng to make use of a valuable new product? What oﬀerings could provide that level mul)ple models in order to usefully and appropriately describe important categories of value?and families of related scenarios. What other paZerns and priori)es could your team iden)fy in these varia)ons on workers’ prac)ces? How might you use these insights to ideate useful and When product teams do not ac)vely consider how local prac)ces and scenario varia‐ meaningful func)onality concepts?)ons might impact their emerging ideas about work media)on and applica)on scope, resul)ng products may lack needed ﬂexibili)es for some locales. When presented with Are local prac)ces and scenarios varia)ons so heterogeneous and diverse as applica)ons that do not adequately reﬂect their current prac)ces (K3), knowledge to make a single applica)on solu)on diﬃcult to envision?workers may not want to change their well known ways of working in order to make use of new tools (D2, D3, K). Even when a product’s implied changes are desirable, How could support for these prac)ces impact the overall scope and framework some established, “home grown” approaches may be exceedingly diﬃcult to update. of your team’s applica)on concepts? How far might your team push ﬂexibility for local prac)ces before the interac)on Conversely, too much emphasis on suppor)ng diversity in work prac)ces may lead to clarity of your sketched compu)ng tools begins to break down?unnecessary ﬂexibility that can reduce learnability (K2, K6) and interac)on clarity (G1) for more cri)cal, common, and frequent scenarios (A9). Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design See also: A, B, C8, E, F1, F2, I1, M concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | A. EXPLORING WORK MEDIATION AND DETERMINING SCOPE WORKING THROUGH SCREENSA9. High Value Ratio for Targeted Work Practices 32Not all of a product team’s sketched functionality concepts have Which areas of knowledge work practice might your teamthe same potential to provide compelling utility in knowledge want to target with your product? From a vantage point thatwork. To promote usefulness and cohesive design strategies emphasizes workers’ mental efforts, which selective assemblyin their application concepts, teams can parsimoniously from among your sketched functionality concepts could providetarget certain work practices by including related, high value compelling value in targeted work, while at the same timefunctionalities and downplaying or eliminating unrelated, coalescing into a sensible application concept that embodieslower priority options. a well resolved design strategy?Examples from three knowledge work domains: More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons for knowledge work: A scien)st had previously analyzed her lab’s clinical data by using small por)ons of several diﬀerent applica)ons. Her new analysis applica)on contains all of those Clinical Which speciﬁc opera)ons, tasks, and larger ac)vi)es will your team target with useful func)onali)es in a single product, while “culng the fat” of op)ons that Scientist your compu)ng tool? researchers like her never use (see illustra(on). Which elements in your mapped understandings of work prac)ce will you A ﬁnancial trader wants developers of a new trading applica)on to focus on the inten)onally exclude from your applica)on concepts? core tasks that he repeats throughout his work day. While there are a lot of other Which of your sketched func)onality concepts emerge as the essen)al, valuable, features he would “like” to have, he does not want any of them added to the new and desirable “core” that could support these targeted prac)ces? What design tool if their inclusion would take away from exci)ng and appropriate support for strategies could that aggrega)on imply? the core of his trading work. Which of your team’s func)onality concepts could be priori)zed as secondary? An architect uses diﬀerent func)onality in her building modeling applica)on at As ter)ary? As poten)ally unnecessary? diﬀerent intervals of a building project’s life span. While she feels that she has used a majority of the tool’s available op)ons at one point or another, during Which of your envisioned direc)ons for your compu)ng tool map to one or more any one interval of a project she uses only a concentrated subset of its features. established product genres in your targeted markets?Every interac)ve applica)on has a limited scope and is intended for use in a certain If your envisioned product is not representa)ve of a known genre, will workers range of circumstances (A). Similarly, each applica)on concept that a product team en‐ perceive its key oﬀerings as interrelated and cohesive given the context of their visions reﬂects a set of design priori)es that can be compared with and situated within ~10% ~5% own prac)ces?larger spaces of possibility. Inevitably, func)onality concepts that support a subset of What analogies might your team draw from established product genres in other, tasks and larger ac)vi)es become more substan)ally developed, while other concepts seemingly unrelated markets?wither or disappear (A3, A5). ~90% What are the overarching stories of your team’s emerging applica)on concepts? ~15% ~20% What could these narra)ves mean for your product’s evolving brand and To arrive at an appropriate func)onal scope and reﬁned design strategy, product teams must have a clear understanding of the goals, pain points, unmet needs, and measures posi)oning in the market?of success that are prevalent in their targeted markets. In knowledge work domains What func)onali)es do compe)ng products provide that workers may expect from with extensive, highly enmeshed, and frequently prac)ced groupings of tasks, appro‐ your team’s interac)ve applica)on?priate applica)on concepts may become rela)vely large and complex (C4). Conversely, ~5% ~10%appropriate concepts for narrowly targeted, infrequent roles in work prac)ce can oken What larger product marke)ng, technology, and design trends could inﬂuence your beneﬁt from a reduc)ve simplicity (E3, E4) that promotes direc)ve learnability and team’s ideas about applica)on scope?interac)on eﬃciency (A4, K2, K6). Where could reduc)ons in func)onal scope drive desirable simplicity in your When product teams do not ac)vely consider how a compu)ng tool’s poten)al op)ons applica)on concepts?could provide diﬀeren)al value in mediated work prac)ce, resul)ng products may suf‐ How might ideas about product scope inform your team’s envisioning of an fer from an overabundance of features, a condi)on that Donald Norman has termed appropriate applica)on framework, learnability requirements, and other key “featuri)s.” This overabundance may be caused by teams directly transla)ng workers’ design considera)ons?requests into func)onal requirements. A lack of clear priori)es can also lead teams to under develop cri)cal func)onality, poten)ally resul)ng in products that are seen as Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning unaZrac)ve (K3) and diﬃcult for workers to adopt and use (D2, D3, G1, K). ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?See also: B1, C1, C2, K10, L, M1, M4
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | IDEA CATEGORY WORKING THROUGH SCREENSB. Deﬁning Interaction Objects 33Valued computing tools can present clearly Within a product team’s emerging concepts for media)ng knowledge work, there are both ac)ons and implied or explicit recipients of those ac)ons. In some cases, the re‐articulated and understandable collections of cipient of an ac)on may be an onscreen tool that workers can act either on or through. onscreen objects that knowledge workers When product teams do not thoughtully frame and ﬂesh out these primary onscreen objects, resul)ng applica)ons may present workers with inconsistent, unfamiliar, and can act upon, with, and through. confusing data structures that feel as if they must be learned “from the ground up.” Legible interac)on objects can leverage workers’ exis)ng exper)se by directly referenc‐Designing such clarity requires deliberate ing speciﬁc ar)facts that are currently found in their work prac)ces. By drawing mean‐mapping and careful simpliﬁcation. ingful connec)ons to known constructs and material culture, applica)ons can trigger useful expecta)ons in workers that may help them to understand what can be done to and with corresponding onscreen items. During application envisioning, productteams can sketch and explore the interaction There are a number of speciﬁc issues that may arise when work prac)ce transi)ons from dealing with material ar)facts to dealing with intangible interac)on objects. Many objects that users might encounter in different of these issues can be the result of reducing or elimina)ng important cues that workers normally read from ar)facts’ physical placements and visible forms. To ac)vely ad‐scenarios of mediated work. dress these poten)al problems, product teams can design key cues back into onscreen objects based on careful considera)on of usage scenarios. By taking time to generate diverse ideas This category contains 10 of the 100 applicaon envisioning ideas in this book:about users’ potential experiences ofonscreen entities, teams can codify essential B1. Named objects and informa)on structurescharacteristics, behaviors, and relationships. B2. Flexible iden)ﬁca)on of object instances B3. Coupling of applica)on and real world objects B4. Object associa)ons and user deﬁned objects B5. Object states and ac)vity ﬂow visibility B6. Flagged variability within or between objects B7. Object ownership and availability rules B8. Explicit mapping of objects to work media)on B9. Common management ac)ons for objects B10. Object templates Product teams can use these ideas to explore knowledge worker’s poten)al experi‐ ences of the interac)on objects in their applica)on concepts. Given the inherent abstrac)on of compu)ng environments and the limited space of workers’ screens, early idea)on on this topic can promote the development of conceptually clear, consistent, and ac)onable focal points within compu)ng tools. The central no)on of this category is most closely related to the “Exploring work media‐ )on and determining scope” (A), “Establishing an applica)on framework” (C), “Enhanc‐ ing informa)on representa)on” (F), and “Working with volumes of informa)on” (I) categories.
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | B. DEFINING INTERACTION OBJECTS WORKING THROUGH SCREENSB1. Named Objects and Information Structures 34Knowledge work applications can support speciﬁc work What artifacts do targeted knowledge workers currently focus Seƫng up a newpractices with named interaction objects that are equivalents clinical study in my on in the work practices that your team is striving to mediate,of familiar workplace artifacts. In addition to incorporating lab’s informaƟon and how might these objects be embodied in your applicationexisting domain ideas and entities, product teams may need to management applica- concepts? What new interaction objects are implied in yourintroduce new objects into workers’ vocabularies and practices Ɵon means creaƟng sketches of functional possibilities?in order to meaningfully enable certain functionality concepts. a set of expected and familiar items for my More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons Examples from three knowledge work domains: plans... for knowledge work: A scien)st sets up a new clinical research study in her lab’s informa)on manage‐ What inventory of ar)facts from targeted individuals’ environments might your ment applica)on. She creates a study ﬁle, a revised lab automa)on procedure, team consider as poten)al elements and references for your compu)ng tool? and onscreen instan)a)ons for several clinical samples and test tubes that are Clinical Who uses each type of ar)fact, and how do they use them? How does usage vary physically present in her lab (see illustra(on). Scientist across targeted organiza)ons? A ﬁnancial trader’s work primarily focuses on individual trades, though his trad‐ What characteris)cs do workers value in the objects that they currently use? ing applica)on subdivides each deal into several diﬀerent subcomponents that are What emo)onal connec)ons do they inspire? meaningful for certain tasks. Are these ar)facts primarily physical, primarily digital, or a combina)on of the two? An architect uses various modeling tools, standard 3D shapes, templated compo‐ How permanent or malleable are they? nents, and many other onscreen elements to design buildings with her building modeling applica)on. How have these ar)facts evolved into their current state within par)cular organiza)ons or larger professions? What can be learned from recent evolu)onary When knowledge workers act “through the screen” of an interac)ve applica)on, they These are the things that steps in these historical trajectories?are typically ac)ng on speciﬁc, named objects that are framed by and made visible we talk about in our lab, What nomenclature do targeted workers from diﬀerent organiza)ons and market through the product’s display. These named, visible “pieces” of an applica)on can be that “live” in our lab’s segments currently use in reference to speciﬁc ar)facts?central to its underlying conceptual models (C1) and can ac)vate workers’ deep seated shared database...understandings and skills. Which exis)ng objects might beneﬁt from meaningful subdivision or elabora)on within the selng of your team’s applica)on concepts?Product teams can adapt many interac)on objects from exis)ng tools, resources, work products (L1), and other ar)facts that have historical trajectories of use within a knowl‐ How could useful representa)onal characteris)cs of certain ar)facts be preserved edge work domain (A). In order for these conven)onal objects to make sense in a com‐ or even enhanced?pu)ng context, they may require substan)al transforma)on and thoughtul reframing OBJECTS CREATED FOR A SMALL CLINICAL STUDY Which exis)ng ar)facts could be diﬃcult to eﬀec)vely translate into a cohesive (K5). For example, a single ar)fact may need to broken into mul)ple interac)on objects and well resolved onscreen object? How might these challenges impact your team’s in order to support certain ac)ons (B4, G2). To maintain recognizability, adapted objects sketched func)onality concepts?that undergo considerable redesign can reference conven)onal visual forms (F2) and Study Fileuseful iconic resemblances (L3). What conven)onal interac)on objects, found in many compu)ng tools, are implied in your ideas about media)ng work? Exis)ng domain objects may not adequately support some of a product team’s con‐ How might your team invoke workers’ valuable concep)ons of known ar)facts as cepts for media)ng work. Teams must commonly envision new interac)on objects to represent useful system concepts that have no previous corollary in oﬄine work, such AutomaƟon Procedure part of new interac)ons and representa)onal forms?as customiza)on selngs (C8) or object templates (B10). Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design When product teams do not ac)vely consider the menageries of interac)ve objects concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?that form the primary “materials” of their sketched applica)on concepts, opportuni)es Clinical Samplesto drive learnability and interac)on clarity can be lost (C9, G3). Workers may be forced to make sense of unfamiliar, strangely named structures that are essen)ally external manifesta)ons of a product team’s own misunderstandings. Central domain ar)facts may be overlooked or underemphasized (A9), which may cause workers to see resul)ng applica)ons as irrelevant (K3) and excessively eﬀortul to learn (D2, D3). Test TubesSee also: B, C, F, H, I, J, K1
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | B. DEFINING INTERACTION OBJECTS WORKING THROUGH SCREENSB2. Flexible Identiﬁcation of Object Instances 35In order to effectively support knowledge work practice, What ﬂexible, complimentary methods might your teamcertain types of interaction objects typically need to have envision to allow targeted knowledge workers to identify andmultiple instances. Especially for those object types that are easily recognize certain instances of interaction objects withinhigher volume and a main focus of ongoing effort, product your application concepts? How might different identiﬁcationteams can envision ﬂexible, complimentary options that could options drive different approaches to information structuringallow workers to apply meaningful identiﬁcation schemes. and seeking behaviors?Examples from three knowledge work domains: More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons for knowledge work: A ﬁnancial trader oken needs to ﬁnd previously completed transac)ons in his trad‐ ing applica)on. He can iden)fy individual trades by their unique trade numbers or How do targeted individuals currently iden)fy speciﬁc instances of their workplace a combina)on factors such as the security traded, the quan)ty traded, and which Financial ar)facts — especially those items that are involved in the tasks and larger ac)vi)es trader in his group completed the deal (see illustra(on). that your team is striving to mediate? Trader An architect names and saves a selected structural element as a reusable template Are exis)ng methods based on free form names? Do they contain categorical within her building modeling applica)on. She applies a variety of searchable iden)ﬁca)on aZributes? aZributes to the new template, including the building element’s func)on and What important varia)ons in iden)ﬁca)on approaches can your team ﬁnd within material composi)on. and across targeted organiza)ons? A scien)st iden)ﬁes a new clinical sample in her laboratory informa)on manage‐ How might your team translate exis)ng iden)ﬁca)on methods into your applica)on ment applica)on using a code for the )ssue’s donor and the experimental treatment concepts? How could exis)ng methods be extended? that it will undergo. What object iden)ﬁca)on informa)on will sa)sfy the majority of cases? How much The iden)ﬁca)on of an individual ar)fact can trigger a knowledge worker’s memories iden)ﬁca)on might be too much?and understandings of its place and meaning in their work (A, D3). The naming or cat‐egoriza)on of an ar)fact can also act as a bridge to exis)ng, related informa)on (B3). What customiza)ons might your team envision to support uncommon object iden)ﬁca)on needs within targeted organiza)ons? Will this func)onality provide Product teams may ﬁnd that iden)ﬁca)on requirements can vary dras)cally for diﬀer‐ enough value to oﬀset its added complexity?ent types of interac)on objects in their applica)on concepts. Granular objects, such How will workers enter object iden)ﬁca)on data in your sketched func)onality as a single point in a drawing, oken require no iden)ﬁca)on other than their loca)on concepts? What innova)ve methods might your team envision to valuably decrease in space. Low volume objects based on domain ar)facts may need only a simple, yet these eﬀorts?highly ﬂexible, “name” ﬁeld (A9) in order to be eﬀec)vely integrated into workers’ prac)ce. High volume, persistent objects (I) that are a primary focus in work ac)vi)es As volumes of data build up over )me, what secondary informa)on could also serve (F2) can require a number of complementary iden)ﬁca)on aZributes (K). In situa)ons as iden)ﬁca)on for diﬀerent types of interac)on objects? What implicit aZributes where teams ﬁnd it diﬃcult to envision standardiza)on of these aZributes, knowledge could become elements of larger iden)ﬁca)on schemes?workers may value customizable iden)ﬁca)on func)onality (C8) that allows them to How might your team’s ideas about such schemes relate to your other design develop informa)on management strategies (I1) to meet their local needs (A7, A8, K1). responses for suppor)ng work in the context of volumes of informa)on?When product teams do not ac)vely consider how individuals and organiza)ons could Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning meaningfully iden)fy various interac)on objects, opportuni)es to facilitate important ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design clarity within diverse work prac)ces can be lost. Inadequate object ID informa)on can concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?hinder many aspects of knowledge work, such as retrieval of applica)on content (I2, I3) or the orchestra)on of collabora)ve ac)on (A7, C7, G4). When faced with limited ob‐ject iden)ﬁca)on func)onality, workers may deﬁne cumbersome and elaborate naming conven)ons in an eﬀort to address a range of iden)ﬁca)on needs (D2, D3, E1, E2). Conversely, excess iden)ﬁca)on ﬁelds and op)ons may create situa)ons where workers feel that they need to enter more data than is prac)cally valuable.See also: B, C5, F1, F11, G2, H4, I, J5, J6
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | B. DEFINING INTERACTION OBJECTS WORKING THROUGH SCREENSB3. Coupling of Application and Real World Objects 36Some knowledge work applications contain interaction What interaction objects in your team’s application concepts Our lab’s informaƟonobjects that are extensions of, rather than replacements for, management soŌ- could beneﬁt from a preserved connection to related off screenofﬂine artifacts. In these cases, product teams can envision ware is set up to artifacts? What functionality concepts might your team envisioninteractions that tightly couple onscreen and off screen “know,” in a limited to allow targeted knowledge workers to usefully recognize andequivalents in order to promote a more efﬁcient, direct, way, where things meaningfully act through these connections?and uniﬁed experience. are in the lab... More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons Examples from three knowledge work domains: for knowledge work: A scien)st places a test tube containing a clinical sample into a rack next her com‐ What real world objects in the work prac)ces that your team is striving to mediate puter worksta)on. Her lab’s informa)on management applica)on reads a signal are not likely not be replaced by an onscreen equivalent? emiZed from a small tag on the test tube, then displays stored informa)on about Clinical What scenarios could poten)ally lead to new physical objects being created based the tube’s contents on her screen (see illustra(on). Scientist on the contents of your product? An architect scans a cardboard model of a building form into her building modeling What types of targeted organiza)ons might be more likely to “hold onto” the applica)on. She gives the compu)ng ﬁle the same name as the one she has wriZen physical incarna)ons of their otherwise onscreen work? Why? in black marker on the cardboard version. What targeted tasks or larger ac)vi)es might beneﬁt from the tandem use of both A ﬁnancial trader scans a barcode on a paper trade cancella)on form that was faxed So, for example, right now physical and digital instan)a)ons of an ar)fact? to him. His trading applica)on pulls up the associated trade and prompts him to the applicaƟon has no ini)ate the cancella)on process. data displayed... What coordina)ons between interac)on objects and their oﬀ screen equivalents, such as matching iden)ﬁca)on informa)on, could provide clarifying u)lity and The adop)on of compu)ng into knowledge work prac)ces typically does not mean that I’m going to put a test reduce workers’ eﬀorts?workers will suddenly switch to only manipula)ng symbols on screens. In many types of tube into the reader rack, What larger technology and market trends could inﬂuence your team’s ideas about knowledge work, tangible, real world objects can remain an important part of individual and it will pull up related inten)onally coupling physical and digital objects? What might be feasible if the or collabora)ve behaviors (A). data from the system... value proposi)on was compelling enough?The coupling of oﬄine objects to their digital equivalent, or other associated content What valued characteris)cs of real world objects could be diﬃcult to include in within a compu)ng tool (G6), can be considered a special type of coordina)on between corresponding onscreen objects, and vice versa?representa)ons of workplace informa)on (F1). The experience of carefully designed, )ghtly coupled coordina)ons can extend both into and out of a computer’s display. How might these deﬁciencies drive workers to turn to the “other” version of an Physical objects can become interac)ve entry points into an applica)on’s content. From object? How could these transi)ons be crystallized into goal directed interac)on the other side of the rela)onship, onscreen interac)ons can map back toward physical pathways within your applica)on concepts?objects, poten)ally crea)ng new forms of pervasive awareness and telepresence. What novel interac)on methods might your team envision to )ghtly couple certain real world objects with associated content in your compu)ng tool? How could Product teams can envision compelling, goal oriented experiences of connec)ve these methods directly bridge well characterized seams in speciﬁc work prac)ces?threads between the screen and material objects. At a minimum, common iden)fying informa)on (B2) between tangible ar)facts and their applica)on equivalents can act Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning as a coordina)ng link (G5). Some knowledge work domains present opportuni)es for TEST TUBE READER RACK ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design teams to envision more extensive coordina)on of the physical and the intangible, based concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?on, for example, well characterized transi)on points in work sequences (D5, G1, J3). When product teams do not ac)vely consider where bridges between physical and And now the reader hasdigital objects could be compelling, feasible, and valuable in their applica)on concepts, found the test tube andopportuni)es to provide a powerful sense of direct ac)on and engagement can be lost brought the sample up(K13). Workers may experience online and oﬄine instances of an object as disjointed onto the screen...and separate, which can make such applica)ons more eﬀortul to use when compared with poten)al scenarios of interac)ve connec)on (D2, D3, K2, K6). It shows related sample data because I’m in theSee also: B, E, F1, F9, G, H4, I5, J2, J5, J7, L3, M1 samples view of the tool...
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | B. DEFINING INTERACTION OBJECTS WORKING THROUGH SCREENSB4. Object Associations and User Deﬁned Objects 37Interaction objects can carry default and worker deﬁned What connections and interrelations could be present in the I’ve modeled a windowlinkages to other objects within a computing application. assembly for our latest inventories of interaction objects that your team has identiﬁed?Product teams can envision how clear and actionable pres- building design out of How might your sketched functionality concepts allow targetedentations of these object associations could allow workers a few diﬀerent parts... knowledge workers to deﬁne, recognize, make senses of,to ofﬂoad effort while acting in informed and conﬁdent ways. navigate, use, or even defend against these associations?Examples from three knowledge work domains: More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons for knowledge work: An architect groups together a series of elements in her building modeling applica‐ )on and iden)ﬁes it as a new type of window assembly. The newly grouped object What linkages between ar)facts do targeted individuals currently manage in the maintains easily recognizable linkages to several important func)onal proper)es as tasks and larger ac)vi)es that your team is striving to mediate? well as her early notes on its proposed construc)on (see illustra(on). Architect How do people think about these rela)onships? What nomenclature do they A scien)st deletes a set of clinical samples from the scope of a speciﬁc report in her currently use to describe diﬀerent associa)ons and connec)ons between ar)facts? analysis applica)on. The report dynamically updates with a nota)on that certain What default linkages and hierarchies of interac)on objects are implied within data has been removed from its contents and that the excluded data is s)ll your team’s applica)on concepts? persistently available in the database. What implicit associa)ons between objects might be created through the A ﬁnancial trader uses his trading applica)on to group together diﬀering quan))es So I’m grouping it together aZribu)on of similar traits across mul)ple object instances? of several diﬀerent securi)es into a large deal proposal. He then divides the con‐ into a single object in the tents of the proposal into three diﬀerent categories based on the es)mated values building modeling tool, In what scenario contexts might it be valuable to allow workers to group selected of each line item. which will preserve the interac)on objects together into larger structures? details of the individualKnowledge workers create, manage, and make use of rela)onships in informa)on. What goal directed pathways of ac)on could be made available based on the pieces that it’s made fromCompu)ng applica)ons can excel at storing, presen)ng, and ac)ng through complex presence or absence of certain object associa)ons? and all the related info...associa)ons that their users would otherwise ﬁnd diﬃcult or nearly impossible to How might certain user selec)ons and ac)ons trace through the linkages that your manage (E). team has envisioned?As part of envisioning interac)on objects (B1) and their poten)al roles in work prac)ces What conven)ons might you apply throughout your product to promote consistent (A, B8, B9), product teams can map out inherent hierarchies and linkages that need to and understandable behaviors in object rela)onships? ASSOCIATIONS WITHIN SELECTIONbe made clear to users of their compu)ng tools. Teams can also envision circumstances How might clear conceptual models for diﬀerent types of object linkages be where it could be valuable to allow workers to deﬁne their own associa)ons, either communicated within your func)onality concepts?implicitly, through the aZribu)on of similar traits across mul)ple objects, or explicitly, by associa)ng selected elements to form larger structures. How could legible design communica)on prevent unexpected eﬀects via unseen Object grouped by user connec)ons?Associa)ons between objects can allow workers to usefully propagate a single interac‐)on across a number of related elements. Clearly communicated conceptual models How might your team’s ideas about object associa)ons inspire you to ideate (C1) and visual representa)ons for levels of selec)on (F, G2) can be essen)al for sup‐ valuable new interac)ons and representa)onal forms?por)ng diﬀerent scopes of ac)on. These factors can also be crucial in the context of Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning collabora)ve, shared data environments (C7, G4). Component objects ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?When product teams do not ac)vely consider the poten)al role of object associa)ons within their applica)on concepts, resul)ng products can contain serious ﬂaws. Workers may commit cri)cal errors when ac)ons cascade unexpectedly through linkages that ProperƟes of objectsare diﬃcult to trace and predict (C9, G3). When expected linkages are not present and cannot be created (G5, M4), workers may have to eﬀortully make individual modiﬁca‐)ons to objects in series, rather than ac)ng on larger groupings (D2, D3). Absent cues about rela)onships between objects may also necessitate )me consuming, trial and error explora)on. AnnotaƟonsSee also: B, C5, C8, F, G6, I, K3, K11
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | B. DEFINING INTERACTION OBJECTS WORKING THROUGH SCREENSB5. Object States and Activity Flow Visibility 38Understanding the current state of interaction objects can be What useful or necessary states can your team envision for keycrucial for the effective planning and execution of knowledge interaction objects in your application concepts? How mightwork. Especially for those object types that are higher volume these object states play meaningful and directive roles in yourand a main focus of workers’ ongoing efforts, product teams functional responses for targeted knowledge work practices?can envision appropriate states that could communicate potentmeaning and directive pathways of action. More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons for knowledge work:Examples from three knowledge work domains: How do targeted individuals currently categorize the states of diﬀerent ar)facts in A ﬁnancial trader reviews the status of a number of nego)a)on messages in his the tasks and larger ac)vi)es that your team is striving to mediate? trading applica)on to determine whether he needs to put any more eﬀort into How do the physical placements and observed “ownership” of certain ar)facts them. Scanning the list, he decides to move forward with booking other trades Financial currently imply state informa)on? (see illustra(on). Trader What do par)cular states “say” about the work that has been accomplished on or An architect waits for her building modeling applica)on to render one segment of around an ar)fact? The work that needs to be done? The people involved? a complex design. Since all of the elements involved in that rendering are shown as locked for edi)ng un)l the process is complete, she temporarily navigates to What diﬀerences can your team ﬁnd in how targeted organiza)ons categorize these another area in the model to make edits. states? What diﬀerences may be diﬃcult to reconcile? A scien)st turns to her lab’s informa)on management applica)on to review how Will the states that workers currently talk about and use translate well into an many samples in a clinical study have not yet been processed. This informa)on interac)ve applica)on? Why or why not? allows her to es)mate a )meframe for the study’s comple)on and to plan her lab What novel states might targeted individuals and organiza)ons value? How technicians’ work schedules. might the introduc)on of a new compu)ng tool present opportuni)es to usefully standardize certain categoriza)ons in work process?Object states can be displayed implicitly, based on various object aZributes, or ex‐plicitly, through preordained state indicators. Recognizable and meaningful states can What new states will your team need to introduce in order to clarify and support become an eﬀec)ve basis for organizing (I1) and loca)ng useful categories of applica‐ your func)onality concepts? What design communica)on could eﬀec)vely explain )on content (I2, I3). They can also determine which objects and associated avenues of these new condi)ons?interac)on (C4) are visible to par)cular users at a given )me (C5). These gleanings can How might new states oﬄoad the need to be vigilant for certain changes in allow knowledge workers to priori)ze their eﬀorts and plan appropriate courses of ac‐ interac)on objects, poten)ally tying into aler)ng func)onali)es?)on (D3, D5) in coopera)ve scenarios (A7, C7, G4) and standardized processes (C6, J3). Has your team envisioned any single track processes that must be completed Product teams can clearly deﬁne appropriate object states based on their ideas about without interrup)on in order to be eﬀec)ve? How might these “untouchable” how diﬀerent interac)on objects might ﬁt into mediated work. They can envision how intervals inﬂuence objects’ states?these states could be communicated though domain language (F10) and other methods that invoke workers’ deep seated understandings of place and priority (C1). Teams can How might error preven)on and handling scenarios require addi)onal object states? also explore ﬂexibili)es that might allow organiza)ons to deﬁne their own object states Could these error states impact larger, applica)on states?to meet local needs (C8, K11). Which pathways of ac)on might be enabled or disabled when an interac)on object is in various states?When product teams do not ac)vely consider the poten)al role of meaningful object states in their applica)on concepts, opportuni)es to clarify knowledge workers’ current Where might certain object state categoriza)ons prove to be too conﬁning for open progress and op)ons can be lost. When explicit state informa)on is unclear or ex‐ or variable work prac)ces?cluded, workers may need to eﬀortully dive into the aZributes of interac)on objects in What interac)ons and visual representa)ons could allow users to usefully order to derive their status (D2). These deﬁciencies may also lead to errors in )ming understand states across collec)ons of similar objects?(C9, G3) and less op)mal work outcomes (L1). Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning Conversely, object states that push too much standardiza)on can lead to confusing ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design and dissa)sfactory limita)ons on work processes (A9). These design issues can force concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?individuals and organiza)ons to adopt unwanted changes in their cultures in order to match a system’s seemingly arbitrary rules (A4). See also: A, B, C10, E3, F, J1, H, I7, M1, M4
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | B. DEFINING INTERACTION OBJECTS WORKING THROUGH SCREENSB6. Flagged Variability within or between Objects 39There are often aspects of interaction objects, outside of any Beyond deﬁned states, what speciﬁc pieces of informationexplicit states, that are important to call to knowledge workers’ about interaction objects might be especially interesting orattentions in certain contexts. Product teams can envision how useful to targeted knowledge workers during the course of theiradaptive ﬂagging of central variabilities could reduce the effort practices? How might your team informatively communicateneeded to examine key characteristics of individual objects. these key variabilities through perceptually salient cues?Examples from three knowledge work domains: More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons for knowledge work: A scien)st no)ces that her lab’s informa)on management applica)on has ﬂagged a sample as having diﬀerent aZributes than other the samples that are associated What characteris)cs and signs about ar)facts do targeted individuals currently with the same clinical research par)cipant. She reviews the ﬂagged sample’s details gravitate to in the tasks and larger ac)vi)es that your team is striving to mediate? and discovers that a technician has made a data entry error that she needs to Clinical Why are these characteris)cs and signs useful in certain work prac)ces? inves)gate before proceeding (see illustra(on). Scientist What decisions and ac)ons do they inform? A ﬁnancial trader reviews a list of incoming deal proposals. He looks for items that How might these exis)ng aZributes be translated into valuable ﬂags for your team’s his trading applica)on has automa)cally ﬂagged as being immediately executable, envisioned interac)on objects? indica)ng that his ﬁrm has suﬃcient quan)ty of the holding in ques)on to meet a proposed deal’s stated needs. What meaningful new ﬂags might you envision to call out key object informa)on within the interac)ve ﬂows of your team’s sketched func)onality concepts? An architect switches to a view in her building modeling applica)on that ﬂags elements of the project’s 3D model where her team has not applied any project How could informa)ve ﬂags prevent human error in certain ac)vity contexts? requirements tags. What speciﬁc informa)on about an interac)on object, if lek unknown, might lead users to act in error?When an abundance of interac)on objects are displayed simultaneously, knowledge workers’ content rich compu)ng displays may turn into dense, perceptually “ﬂat” What might the aesthe)c presenta)on of “ﬂags” look like in certain func)onality sheets of informa)on (B1, I). While deﬁned object states (B6) can determine available concepts? How might these cues relate to any error management conven)ons your avenues of interac)on (C4) and other important factors, secondary, strictly informa)on‐ team has deﬁned?al characteriza)on of interac)on objects can help workers aZend to and make sense How could certain ﬂags convey their priority, simply based on their level of salience of important informa)on (D3, D6, F10). on the screen?Visible and meaningful ﬂags that indicate certain categorical condi)ons in an object’s How might your team’s ideas for speciﬁc ﬂags inspire you to ideate valuable new aZributes (A4) can be useful while workers organize (I1), retrieve (I2), browse (F5), and interac)ons and representa)onal forms?transform applica)on content (F8) to meet par)cular goals. The categorical basis of a What ﬂagging categories and conven)ons might your team establish and ﬂag can come from speciﬁc informa)on that workers’ have previously entered, or it can consistently apply throughout your compu)ng tool?be a derived value that is automa)cally calculated based on domain appropriate rules (C8, E3, E4). Could simplifying certain interac)on objects make more sense than ﬂagging important pieces of informa)on within them? Certain ﬂags may appear only in the context of certain interac)ons or object states (B8, B9). For example, they can be implemented as a method for preven)ng human error Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning in deﬁned processes (C9, G3), calling out values that could be important for eﬀec)ve ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design decision making. concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?When product teams do not ac)vely consider the poten)al role of ﬂagged variabili)es for key objects in their applica)on concepts, knowledge workers may need to dive into the details of complex data structures in order to inves)gate their aZributes. Due to constrained )me and aZen)on, people may not always perform these addi)onal eﬀorts (D2), poten)ally leading to crucial errors or important losses of insight that may nega‐)vely impact work outcomes (L1). In the absence of informa)ve ﬂags, ﬁltering and sor)ng on speciﬁc object aZributes (I3) may provide more ac)ve pathways to accomplish similar goals.See also: A, B, D, F, G4, G6, H3, J1, L, M1
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | B. DEFINING INTERACTION OBJECTS WORKING THROUGH SCREENSB7. Object Ownership and Availability Rules 40Similar to ofﬂine, real world artifacts in a knowledge workplace, Based on your team’s understanding of targeted cultural So next, I am going toonscreen interaction objects can beneﬁt from clear and work on that northern environments and knowledge work practices, what rules canconsistent rules governing who can perform actions on or secƟon of the building you envision for key interaction objects to ensure that they arewith them at a given time. Product teams can envision and model, where I need to “owned” and accessed by workers in appropriate andcommunicate rules that are culturally appropriate, logically make some changes... useful ways?feasible, and understandably clear. More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons Examples from three knowledge work domains: for knowledge work: An architect selects a segment of a design in her building modeling applica)on to What rules do targeted individuals implicitly or explicitly follow to promote the “check it out” so that she can make some small modiﬁca)ons, only to ﬁnd that the eﬀec)ve sharing of ar)facts within the work prac)ces that your team is striving to segment is currently checked out by a consul)ng civil engineer. The applica)on Architect mediate? provides her an op)on to work in an alternate version of the segment, which no one How much emphasis do workers place on ownership and availability rules in else will be able to access un)l she later merges it back with the main version of the their observed prac)ces? Are these rules valued and useful components of their model (see illustra(on). opera)ve cultures? A ﬁnancial trader aZempts to trade all of his ﬁrm’s holdings of a par)cular security, How, speciﬁcally, do exis)ng rules promote coordina)on and prevent conﬂicts? but his trading applica)on displays a message that prevents him from comple)ng What would happen if they were not in place? the transac)on. It seems that part of the total amount has been locked by another But it looks like one of our trader who has indicated that he wants to use it as part of a higher value deal. consultants is currently How could your team translate these exis)ng prac)ces into ownership and working there too. So that availability rules for interac)on objects in your compu)ng tool? A scien)st cannot change the name of a clinical sample in her lab’s informa)on means that I can’t make management applica)on because an automated instrument is currently processing any changes in the main What new opportuni)es for conﬂict might your product create, simply by bringing por)ons of the sample’s )ssue. model. That’s just the rules collabora)on and coopera)on into an abstract compu)ng environment? of the system, to help What larger design and technology trends could inﬂuence your team’s ideas about In order to eﬀec)vely accomplish work in their complex cultural and organiza)onal prevent conﬂicts... what appropriately applied, logically feasible, and understandably clear rules could environments (A1), knowledge workers oken become skilled at coopera)vely manag‐ look like?ing access to and use of shared informa)on, tools, and other ar)facts. In the inherent abstrac)on of shared compu)ng environments, workers may ﬁnd it diﬃcult to hold What conven)onal paZerns might your team reference in the design of object onto some of these exis)ng skills as por)ons of their material culture, and its associ‐ ownership and availability interac)ons? SEGMENT OFated prac)ces, are migrated toward individualis)c computer screens. Workers can BUILDING MODEL What overall, “global” rules might your applica)on concepts follow in order to become somewhat dependant on their applica)ons for clariﬁca)on around who currently “owns” what and how they might use it themselves (C7, G4). control the ownership and availability of objects? Which of your team’s envisioned scenarios for media)ng work could present Applica)ons can support both division of labor (J3) and collabora)ve prac)ces (A7, J4) unusual situa)ons where conﬂicts may occur and addi)onal rules could be by reinforcing understandable rules for the ownership and availability of objects (C1). valuable? How might these special solu)ons diﬀer from your “global” rules?Product teams can envision these rules based on contemporary conven)ons, which MAIN VERSION ARCHITECT’Smay vary for diﬀerent types or levels of objects in a system (C3). Availability rules can “OWNED” BY OWN SEPARATE How could users’ interac)ons within your sketched func)onality concepts help be )ed to user permissions (A2, C5), though such rules can also be found in applica)ons CONSULTANT VERSION them to situa)onally build accurate conceptual models around object ownership without any no)on of diﬀeren)al user privileges. Products that will not have features and availability in your product?for controlling object ownership can some)mes be envisioned to leverage available How might these rules relate to your team’s ideas about workspace awareness at rules from a coordinated storage technology, such as a ﬁle server or database (K10). Consulting the applica)on level or within speciﬁc func)onal areas?When product teams do not ac)vely consider how they might clarify object ownership Engineer Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning and availability rules, resul)ng applica)ons may present opportuni)es for frustrat‐ ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design ing conﬂicts and versioning problems in collabora)ve and coopera)ve scenarios (H1). concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?Without a clear, consistently applied model of when objects are accessible for intended ac)ons, workers may ﬁnd planning the ﬂow of their prac)ces to be excessively eﬀortul, inaccurate, and unpredictable (D2, D3, D4). So I can check out my own version of that segment. If there are any conﬂictsSee also: A, B, D6, E3, F10, H, I, J1, J5 when I check my version back in, the soŌware will help us sort them out later...
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | B. DEFINING INTERACTION OBJECTS WORKING THROUGH SCREENSB8. Explicit Mapping of Objects to Work Mediation 41Even though a general understanding of an interaction object How, speciﬁcally, could the interaction objects that your teamcan carry with it expectations of certain related actions in a has envisioned ﬁt into the knowledge work operations, tasks,knowledge work application, product teams can prevent and larger activities that you are striving to mediate with youroversights and drive interaction clarity by explicitly mapping application concepts? What important relationships betweenhow important objects could ﬁt into targeted operations, tasks, objects and actions might you be overlooking?and larger activities. More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons Examples from three knowledge work domains: for knowledge work: A ﬁnancial trader appreciates how his trading applica)on gives him the shortest set How are certain ar)facts currently used in diﬀerent ac)vity contexts? of available ac)on op)ons when he looks at a trading message. He feels that these Are these usages consistent across targeted organiza)ons? targeted op)ons, which are based on each message’s current state, allow him to Financial How might your team map your emerging ideas about media)ng knowledge work work faster, without second guessing what else he could be doing (see illustra(on). Trader as the ac)ons that can be performed on diﬀerent types of interac)on objects? A scien)st likes that the interface of her new analysis applica)on provides a range What poten)al ac)ons could be most important for key object types? of choices for exploring data at various levels of aggrega)on, including ac)ons that The least important? used to be “missing” or “hidden” when she made certain selec)ons within other visualiza)on tools. Where could the nature of a par)cular ac)on vary based on the type of interac)on object that it is performed on? How might your sketched func)onality concepts An architect becomes accustomed to the ac)ons that are available to her in a new reﬂect these diﬀerences? building modeling applica)on. Even though it is an open workspace tool, with many op)ons available for her to select at any given )me, it feels like the func)ons that Which objects typically serve as tools for ac)ng on other objects, rather than being she ends up seeing ﬁrst oken correspond to what she is presently currently trying the recipients of ac)ons themselves? to accomplish. How could the states of interac)on objects, or larger applica)on states, inﬂuence the ac)ons that are available at a given )me?Knowledge work applica)ons are designed to support speciﬁc interac)ons, and they oken do not have the plas)city to be applied outside of that range of intended use. How might the sum of your team’s object and ac)on mappings inform your idea)on Product teams can envision the narra)ve mapping (G1) between onscreen subjects about applica)on frameworks and interac)on pathways?and corresponding op)ons for ac)on as the intersec)on of speciﬁc types of interac)on objects (B1), their current state (B5), the current state of the applica)on (C10), and the Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning work prac)ces that an applica)on is being designed to mediate (A). ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?A separate model of what workers will want or need to do with key interac)on objects can provide product teams with a strong founda)on for envisioning an applica)on framework (C), including interac)on pathways (C4), appropriate and consistent inter‐ac)on paZerns (C3, K6), support for collabora)on (B7, C7, G4, J4), and support for explicit division of labor (J3, G5). Since a single object can be )ed to dras)cally diﬀerent tasks or larger ac)vi)es (A5), teams can use an overall map of each object’s poten)al ac)ons to envision tailored design responses that could match workers’ goals in each circumstance (A7, A8).When product teams do not ac)vely consider how important interac)on objects might map to the breadth of work that they are striving to mediate with their applica)on con‐cepts, resul)ng tools may contain oversights in deﬁni)on and design that make them diﬃcult or impossible to use in some ac)vity contexts (A6, D2, D3, D4). While these issues can oken be addressed through itera)ve correc)ons, cohesive design of ac)vity oriented wayﬁnding oken involves something more than the sum of smaller, cumula‐)ve changes.See also: B, F, G, H, J1, K, M1
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | B. DEFINING INTERACTION OBJECTS WORKING THROUGH SCREENSB9. Common Management Actions for Objects 42Some types of interaction objects in computing applications What common management actions, such as create, copy, I’ve just ﬁnished thiswill typically require a conventional set of management actions, shape that I want to edit, and delete, could the interaction objects in your team’ssuch as create, copy, edit, and delete. Product teams can map try out as a repeaƟng application concepts require or beneﬁt from? What importantavailable management actions for different types of interaction element in the exterior management actions might you be overlooking?objects, envisioning what common functionalities might look of this new building that our team is More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons like in different object contexts. currently generaƟng for knowledge work: ideas for...Examples from three knowledge work domains: How do targeted individuals currently “manage” ar)facts, in the compu)ng sense An architect is reﬁning an early design explora)on in her building modeling applica‐ of the word, while performing the work prac)ces that your team is striving to )on. She creates a building element, copies it, and pastes a duplicate element in an‐ mediate? other part of the building design. She likes how easy it is to create repe))ons within Architect Which of the interac)on objects in your sketched applica)on concepts will have the model, allowing her to quickly visualize her ideas for building form mul)ple instances, requiring some range of management ac)ons? Which will not? (see illustra(on). How might the understood “loca)on” of individual objects factor into usable object A scien)st deletes a ﬁle in her analysis applica)on where she had pursued the management interac)ons? When is it not an issue? wrong approach to a clinical research problem. By dele)ng the outputs of her faulty explora)on, she ensures that it will not be mistakenly accessed by herself or others Which object types should users not be able to delete? Why? So I select the element in her lab. in my modeling tool... Beyond the basic set of management ac)ons, what other ac)ons could become A ﬁnancial trader creates a new categorizing aZribute in his trading applica)on to standards within your compu)ng tool, such as crea)ng objects from a template or supplement the product’s defaults. From that point on, he and other traders in his reselng objects’ aZributes to their default values? group will have the op)on of tagging the new informa)onal aZribute onto their How might your func)onality concepts for managing diﬀerent types of objects pending and completed deals. retain clarifying and learnable similari)es? What important diﬀerences could be useful for managing par)cular object types?Interac)ve applica)ons typically need to provide knowledge workers with some stan‐dard ac)ons for working with mul)ple instances of onscreen objects (B1). Whether the How could object management func)onali)es provide strong feedback about interac)on object in ques)on is an overall ﬁle or a much smaller element, the clarity ac)on outcomes? What novel interac)ons and cues could reinforce the successful and directness of “management” ac)ons can be an important usability concern. comple)on of these important tasks? How might rules suppor)ng collabora)ve prac)ces inﬂuence the range and To ensure that these interac)ons are suﬃcient and coherent, product teams can map And then I repeat it... availability of object management ac)ons?the breadth of object management scenarios presented by their applica)on concepts (B8, C3, G2). Management ac)ons frequently include create, copy (E3, E4), edit, and What error preven)on and handling concepts can your team envision to prevent delete. Other ac)ons, like crea)ng from a template (B10) or reselng to defaults (C8), loss of valuable informa)on during object management ac)ons?can be usefully considered as “standard” for some types of objects (A4). In collabora)ve compu)ng environments (A7, C7, G4), the presence or absence of management ac)ons How could associa)ons between interac)on objects be impacted by certain may depend on dynamic rules that prevent nega)ve impacts on the ac)vi)es of other management interac)ons? When might workers beneﬁt from understanding workers (C5, J4). the lineages of these evolving associa)ons? What op)ons might allow targeted organiza)ons to appropriately set up diﬀerent When product teams do not ac)vely consider object management ac)ons in their ap‐ user permissions for managing diﬀerent types of interac)on objects?plica)on concepts, they can easily overlook central requirements due to their shared assump)ons about what will be deﬁned and implemented. When these oversights are Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning present, users may, for example, be forced to view out of date content that they cannot ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design And maybe that feelsdelete (D4, I). To overcome some object management deﬁciencies, knowledge workers concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts? like one too many formay need to develop and repeatedly enact excessively eﬀortul work arounds (D2, D3). what I want, so I’ve deleted one of them...Conversely, for some types of interac)on objects, providing certain management ac)ons, or even the ability to create mul)ple instances, may not provide suﬃcient value to warrant the addi)onal complexity (A9, K6).See also: A, B, C3, C4, H1, H2, I1, I2
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | B. DEFINING INTERACTION OBJECTS WORKING THROUGH SCREENSB10. Object Templates 43When knowledge workers repeatedly generate instances of Where might object templates valuably decrease the effortinteraction objects with similar attributes, they may value the needed to create common classes of complex informationability to create new objects from standard “molds.” Product structures in your team’s application concepts? Whatteams can envision functionality concepts that could allow functional options could allow targeted knowledge workersworkers to ofﬂoad tedious data entry effort by tailoring and to deﬁne, share, modify, and use these templates?making use of object templates. More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons Examples from three knowledge work domains: for knowledge work: A scien)st creates ﬁles for a series of samples in her lab’s informa)on management Where do targeted individuals currently take steps to promote valued sameness applica)on based on a template of aZributes that she will use throughout a clinical in ar)facts as part of the work prac)ces that your team is striving to mediate? study. She knows that these aZribute consistencies will remove problems down‐ Clinical How do workers categorize and name common variants of workplace ar)facts? stream, when her lab’s technicians have actually run these experiments and she wants to analyze the resul)ng collec)on of data in her analysis applica)on Scientist How do these classiﬁca)on schemes vary across targeted organiza)ons? (see illustra(on). What value do these consistencies and categories provide? An architect uses her building modeling applica)on to create a series of templated Which “primary” interac)on objects in your team’s applica)on concepts could objects that sa)sfy some diﬃcult project requirements. Crea)ng these templates in become high volume and the repeated focus of work? advance will reduce work later, when these standard objects will appear repeatedly Which object crea)on tasks could poten)ally burden workers with data entry throughout the building’s design. eﬀorts? A ﬁnancial trader expor)ng data from his trading applica)on chooses from a menu How might templates be clearly and visibly diﬀeren)ated from the type of of templates for diﬀerent export content and layout formats. The ability to set interac)on objects that they serve as a “mold” for? up standard export op)ons saves him a lot of )me, especially when compared to manually reformalng each export ﬁle. Which of an object’s informa)on aZributes should probably not be incorporated into a template’s standardizing inﬂuence?In many organiza)ons, knowledge workers’ ac)vi)es involve, or even revolve around, the crea)on and recrea)on of speciﬁc work products or their cons)tuent elements How might addi)onal data entry eﬀort, aker an object has been created from (A, B1). To support these tasks, product teams can envision template func)onality that a template, be clariﬁed or lessened?could allow workers to eliminate some of the eﬀort needed to create certain interac)on What pathways of ac)on could ﬂow out of the crea)on of an object from objects (E3, E4), while driving valuable standardiza)on that can promote higher quality a template?work outcomes (A4, C6, L1). How might users trace an individual interac)on object back to the template that SProduct teams can envision templates as interac)on objects in and of themselves, it was created from?either provided as product defaults or ﬂexibly created by workers to meet the needs What func)onality concepts can your team envision to allow workers to clearly of certain situa)ons and prac)ces (A7, A8, C8). Crea)ng an object from a template can manage their various templates as speciﬁc workplace needs evolve over )me?require subsequent eﬀort to make the resul)ng object complete or to shape it to the requirements of a worker’s current goals. Even when templates can be easily modiﬁed Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning (K11), workers may need to edit or extend the aZributes of resul)ng object instances. ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design S S S S S S concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?When product teams do not ac)vely consider the poten)al role of object templates in their applica)on concepts, workers may ﬁnd the process of crea)ng essen)al interac‐ S S S S S S)on objects in resul)ng products to be excessively eﬀortul (D2, D3). Addi)onally, key S S S S S Sopportuni)es to provide beneﬁcial types of standardiza)on, which computers can excel at promo)ng, may also be lost (C9, G3, J6). S S S S S SConversely, for many types of interac)on objects, template func)onality may not S S S S S Sprovide suﬃcient value to warrant its addi)onal complexity (A9, D4, K6). In some cases, the ability to create a copy of an exis)ng object can suﬃce as a method for accomplish‐ S S S S S Sing the same goal. S S S S S SSee also: A, B, C4, C5, H1, I1, K10, M1, M4
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | IDEA CATEGORY WORKING THROUGH SCREENSC. Establishing an Application Framework 44Valued computing tools can tame complexity Once product teams have generated a cri)cal mass of sketched ideas about their applica)on’s poten)al roles in work prac)ce, they can begin to meaningfully envision by structuring workers’ interactions within appropriate concepts for their product’s high level “form.” This overall form can com‐comprehensible, consistent, and cohesive municate how a tool will basically work, and it can inherently deﬁne a framing range of useful interac)on constraints. Teams can use these founda)ons to reshape their overall frames. envisioning of key scenarios for mediated work, driving top down, systemic consistency and a larger design strategy across their proposed func)onal areas.Designing such a clear organization requires Sketching concepts for an applica)on’s framework does not entail exac)ng deﬁni)on deliberate and critical exploration of an on- or design. Instead, it involves working through important constraints with only as much detail as is necessary to realize and communicate poten)al design concepts. Although screen tool’s potential “shape” and “routes.” many of these important constraints can arise organically from the idea)on process, teams can also derive key constraints for their applica)on’s framework from well char‐During application envisioning, product teams acterized challenges that are oken manifested in compu)ng tools for knowledge work.can synthesize common structural needs with This category contains 10 of the 100 applicaon envisioning ideas in this book:their own resonating design ideas in order to C1. Inten)onal and ar)culated conceptual modelssketch guiding models and larger interaction C2. Applica)on interac)on modelapproaches for their products. C3. Levels of interac)on paZerns C4. Pathways for task and ac)vity based wayﬁndingEarly ideation about these application C5. Permissions and views tailored to workers’ iden))esstructures can “set the stage” for teams’ C6. Standardized applica)on workﬂowsevolving functionality concepts by both C7. Structural support of workspace awarenessshaping and reﬂecting divergent ideas C8. Defaults, customiza)on, and automated tailoringabout potential user experiences. C9. Error preven)on and handling conven)ons C10. Predictable applica)on states Product teams can use these ideas to explore no)ons of how their product could frame — both conceptually and in a literal interac)on design sense — the knowledge work prac)ces that they are striving to mediate. Although it can be safely assumed that early ideas about an applica)on’s framework will grow and change during the envisioning process and throughout product implementa)on, teams can deliberately preserve the essen)al character of the framing form that they have chosen to pursue. The central no)on of this category is most closely related to the “Exploring work media‐ )on and determining scope” (A), “Deﬁning interac)on objects” (B), “Clarifying central interac)ons” (G), and “Aiming for aesthe)c user experiences” (L) categories.
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | C. ESTABLISHING AN APPLICATION FRAMEWORK WORKING THROUGH SCREENSC1. Intentional and Articulated Conceptual Models 45Knowledge workers develop particular understandings of which What overall models could encapsulate the “what and how”work practices an interactive application is designed to support, of your interactive application’s proposed roles in targetedhow it essentially “works,” and how it might ﬁt into their own knowledge work? How might those overall “functionalactivities. Product teams can communicate their computing stories” be communicated to users? Similarly, how couldtool’s intended conceptual models through application design your team promote clear “sub-stories” for each of your centraland other channels. functionality ideas?Examples from three knowledge work domains: More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons for knowledge work: An architect ﬁnds that her studio’s new building modeling applica)on requires a substan)ally diﬀerent mindset. Instead of drawing individual eleva)ons, plans, and What organizing, big picture mental models do targeted individuals currently have details for a project, her team will collabora)vely create a single, shared 3D model Architect for the work prac)ces that your team is striving to mediate? of their building design. The new tool itself communicates this overriding dis)nc)on How do the mindsets and constraints inherent in diﬀerent tasks or larger ac)vi)es in numerous ways, including how various func)ons are named (see illustra(on). drive workers to adopt diﬀerent frameworks for thinking and ac)ng? A scien)st quickly develops a working understanding of how her analysis applica)on How might your team use your insights into these mental models as a basis for calculates and presents certain values. Overall, the way the tool displays her lab’s envisioning innova)ve and compelling conceptual models for your compu)ng tool? clinical data reminds her of a powerful, zooming microscope. What essen)al, high level opera)onal approaches in your sketched applica)on ideas A ﬁnancial trader receives periodic updates from the vendor that created his ﬁrm’s could reference and extend upon workers’ exis)ng ways of thinking about their trading applica)on. In one of these updates, he learns that he will need to develop eﬀorts? a clear understanding of how, when, and why some new func)onali)es will usefully automate certain trade parameters. How might individual func)onali)es make similar connec)ons to workers’ current understandings?While mechanical tools can implicitly communicate how they work based on their con‐struc)on, digital tools must be designed to communicate their purpose, oﬀerings, and What new and diﬀerent conceptual founda)ons might workers need to understand behaviors. Knowledge workers incorporate new technologies into their prac)ces based in order to successfully make use of your compu)ng tool in their own prac)ces? on unfolding understandings of how available tools operate (A, K2, K6). Even though How could these new conceptual models be framed by their exis)ng mental individual users develop their own conceptual models of a tool over )me, product models?teams can aZempt to shape these understandings by developing target models and How might people in diﬀerent roles, using applica)on displays that are tailored striving to communicate them in their applica)on designs. to their own iden))es, develop diﬀerent conceptual models for your sketched compu)ng tools? How could this impact their common ground for communica)on? To create compelling func)onal gestalts, product teams can envision conceptual models for their products that are framed by and build upon analogies and idioms known by What might it sound like when a hypothe)cal user describes one of your proposed their targeted audiences (C3, L2). Innova)ve models that simply and coherently pres‐ conceptual models? What takeaways should they have about your tool’s purpose, ent predictable rela)onships can also be quite successful (F3). Complex applica)ons oﬀerings, and behaviors?can contain mul)ple levels of nes)ng conceptual models, ranging from the overarch‐ How might your teams’ proposed conceptual models be communicated through ing product framework, to individual func)onal areas (C6, B1), to func)onal varia)ons applica)on design and func)onal scaﬀolding? Through other channels, such as driven by diﬀering permissions and iden)ty tailored views (A2, C5). informa)ve marke)ng and introductory instruc)on?When product teams do not ac)vely consider how proposed conceptual models could How could your approaches to communica)ng target conceptual models )e into shape workers’ experiences, opportuni)es to drive useful understandings of how an your larger ideas about design strategy and brand?applica)on essen)ally works can be lost. In the absence of clearly communicated conceptual models, people may experience compu)ng tools as arbitrary collec)ons Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning of controls and pathways (K3), developing their own murky assemblies of func)onal ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design interpreta)on. Even though these tools can be learnable aker commiZed eﬀort or concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?training (D2, D3, M2, K7), poten)ally valuable func)onality may remain undiscovered, misunderstood, or misused, requiring addi)onal defensive measures to prevent errors (C9, G3).See also: B4, C, E5, G1, L3, M1
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | C. ESTABLISHING AN APPLICATION FRAMEWORK WORKING THROUGH SCREENSC2. Application Interaction Model 46Knowledge work applications can beneﬁt from a consistent What directions can your team generate for the deliberateand overriding interaction model that deﬁnes a computing “shells” of your application concepts, including their approachtool’s “shell” of navigation and overall approach to interactivity. to containing, enabling, and shaping your sketched functionalityProduct teams can envision interaction models that are ideas? What types of interaction models could effectivelycomplementary to targeted work practices, appropriate for support targeted knowledge work in a way that embodiestheir sketched design strategies, and framed by workers’ your strategic focus?experiences with other tools. More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons Examples from three knowledge work domains: for knowledge work: A scien)st sees that each edge of her analysis applica)on is a panel that can have What interac)on models are commonly found in the compu)ng tools that targeted diﬀerent impacts on the central visualiza)on area of the tool. One edge controls Clinical individuals currently use? what data is being displayed, while another controls how selected data is visualized Scientist Which models are normally associated with the speciﬁc tasks and larger ac)vi)es (see illustra(on). that your team is striving to mediate? A ﬁnancial trader’s new trading applica)on presents four columns, each with a What larger design and technology trends could inform your idea)on process on diﬀerent purpose. The lek column has tables that drive what is shown in the next this important topic? two columns, while the right column shows market data and other trader’s ac)on. Which conven)onal interac)on models could be well suited to the quan)ty and An architect discovers that her new building modeling applica)on is organized by a type of func)onality concepts that your team is considering? What beneﬁts could series of diﬀerent views of a project, with each view providing its own set of related reusing these paZerns have for your product’s success? What modiﬁca)ons might func)onality. Since the tool seems to have countless func)ons, she ﬁnds this organi‐ they require? za)on method to be very clear and eﬀec)ve. What advanced analogies to other types of products might your team draw upon when thinking about possible interac)on models for your compu)ng tool?Interac)on models, in the parlance of this book, are the highest level expressions of an applica)on’s structure. The popula)on of interac)on models used in many knowledge What types of interac)on models could match the embedded conceptual models work domains does not contain much useful “biodiversity,” and, in general, there is in your sketched applica)on direc)ons?considerable poten)al for product teams to explore meaningful innova)on in this area. Contemporary conven)ons (L2, C3) are extensively recycled, oken with the expecta)on Which of your sketched func)onality concepts could play a primary role in your that these standards will drive eﬃciencies in product development and adop)on. interac)on model choices? Which should probably not? How might your team tailor typical interac)on model features to beZer support For many technologists, the selec)on of an interac)on model seems to be simplis)cally and encompass certain func)onality ideas?divided between either a general, “menus on the top” workspace model, where tasks are largely open and unsequenced (B4, L1), or a “wizard” like model, where single track What novel, or even iconoclas)c interac)on model concepts might you envision? processes can be highly constrained (A4, C6). Within these broad categories there is How could these concepts embody valuable approaches for sense making, considerable room for tailored solu)ons, and product teams can improve upon con‐ organiza)on, and interac)ve ﬂow in targeted work prac)ces?ven)onal approaches by speciﬁcally op)mizing them around their sketched concepts What could it be like to navigate through tasks and larger ac)vi)es in the interac‐for media)ng work (A, C5). Concerns about interac)on eﬃciency (D2, D3), mul)tasking )on models that your team is considering? Which models could be more likely to (G5), learnability (D7, K2, K5, K6), ﬁndability (C4), and other factors, can drive teams to provide workers with a sense of compelling engagement and accomplishment?envision new approaches or consider leveraging specialized interac)on models from other domains. Iconoclas)c interac)on models (L5) can be direct expressions of a How could requirements for mul)tasking, procedural eﬃciency, or instruc)onal product’s conceptual models (C1) or novel hybrids of diﬀerent design paZerns. clarity inﬂuence your interac)on model decisions?When product teams do not ac)vely consider divergent approaches for their appli‐ What impacts could diﬀerent interac)on model selec)ons have on brand and ca)ons’ interac)on models, opportuni)es to appropriately tailor the encompassing branding approaches?structures of compu)ng tools to targeted work prac)ces can be lost. Beyond lost oppor‐ How might your interac)ve applica)on scale in func)onality over )me? What im‐tuni)es for targeted innova)on, resul)ng applica)on frameworks may not adequately pacts could these scaling scenarios have on your team’s interac)on model choices?support the ﬂow of workers’ prac)ces or suﬃciently communicate a tool’s purpose, oﬀerings, and behaviors. Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design See also: B9, C, L, F, G2, J2, K1, K4, L4 concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | C. ESTABLISHING AN APPLICATION FRAMEWORK WORKING THROUGH SCREENSC3. Levels of Interaction Patterns 47Looking across the sketched functional offerings in a product Scanning the breadth of your team’s promising functionality Everywhere I go in thisteam’s application concepts, there are often opportunities to soŌware, there is this concepts, what typical or novel interaction patterns might youcategorize and standardize certain repeating patterns. Teams overall feeling of high identify and meaningfully reuse? How might your team organizecan capture and expand upon internal consistencies at different quality consistency... these valuable regularities into different tiers of patternslevels of granularity, promoting eventual learnability, usability, within your application proposals, ranging from large to more I imagine this tooland implementation efﬁciencies within their computing tools. granular? being created by a single person, evenExamples from three knowledge work domains: More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons though I know it took for knowledge work: a whole team... An architect ﬁnds that there is an overall feel of consistency in the design of her new building modeling applica)on, even though each area of the product seems care‐ What, if any, interac)on paZerns do targeted individuals expect to see when using fully op)mized to support diﬀerent ac)ons. Across the en)re applica)on, diﬀerent compu)ng tools in the work prac)ces that your team is striving to mediate? tools and dialog boxes are presented in a predictable and clearly mapped manner Architect What paZerns, at diﬀerent levels of granularity, have become a standard part of that makes them easy to interpret and use (see illustra(on). how knowledge workers’ understand their compu)ng tools? A scien)st discovers that there are two dis)nct ways, within the same overall What value do workers ﬁnd in these known and expected paZerns? What do they interface, that her new analysis applica)on allows her to act. Common, standard think of the conven)ons that they currently use? analysis methods are supported by highly direc)ve, step by step screens, while less predictable analyses are supported by a series of ﬂexible workspaces devoted to LEVELS OF INTERACTION PATTERNS WITHIN APPLICATION What larger design and technology trends could inﬂuence your idea)on about par)cular approaches. interac)on paZerns? A ﬁnancial trader knows that his trading applica)on has diﬀerent “categories” of What advanced analogies to other types of products might your team draw upon screens. When he navigates to tools and op)ons that he does not use very oken, when thinking about appropriate paZerns? he recognizes smaller components that follow the same mold as screens that he uses repeatedly throughout his day. What inherent consistencies are present within the scope of work prac)ce you are targe)ng? Based on these consistencies, which of your envisioned func)onal areas While envisioning applica)ons, many product teams gravitate toward copying low level, could have strong similari)es?“literal” user interface paZerns from other products that they, and presumably their Within the par)culars of your sketched func)onali)es, what smaller consistencies targeted knowledge workers, are familiar with. These vernacular design selec)ons are could become internal standards?oken made on a one by one basis within par)cular func)onality concepts, without considering requirements and consistencies across the en)rety of a compu)ng tool How might the reuse of interac)on paZerns in your applica)on promote the (B9, C6). transfer of workers’ learning in one interac)ve experience to other interac)ve experiences?Product teams can envision more expansive value from interac)on paZerns by map‐ Where could the par)culars of workers’ goals drive meaningful diﬀeren)a)on in ping them at mul)ple levels of convergence, star)ng at an applica)on’s interac)on interac)on design responses, rather than paZerned standardiza)on?model (C2) and working downward through several )ers of user interface detail (A4, A5). Teams can then experiment with applying their nes)ng and interrelated paZerns When introducing new interac)on paZerns into workers’ prac)ces, what analogies across their sketched func)onality concepts, envisioning how knowledge workers might might your team make to known interac)vity scenarios?transfer their experiences among interac)ons (C1, D7). ApplicaƟon Views How might your ideas about your product’s larger conceptual and interac)on When product teams do not ac)vely consider the poten)al role of interac)on pat‐ models impact your interac)on paZern choices?terns at diﬀerent levels within their applica)on concepts, resul)ng inconsistencies may How might the emerging language of paZerns in your sketched applica)on hinder workers’ abili)es to develop useful expecta)ons. Without these expecta)ons, possibili)es relate to, or even establish, the paZern language of a broader family people may ﬁnd new or infrequently used func)onality more diﬃcult to learn (D2, D3, Dialogs and Panes of products in your ﬁrm?K2, K5, K6). When inconsistencies are no)ceable, they can also nega)vely impact individuals’ percep)ons of an applica)on’s quality (K12). Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design Conversely, product teams that focus too heavily on establishing and applying interac‐ concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts? )on paZerns can overlook opportuni)es to envision design concepts that are highly Smaller Componentstailored to the work prac)ces that they are striving to mediate (A).See also: B1, C, F, G2, G3, J6, L, K1
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | C. ESTABLISHING AN APPLICATION FRAMEWORK WORKING THROUGH SCREENSC4. Pathways for Task and Activity Based Wayﬁnding 48Effective pathways through interactive applications can be How might your team organize the structuring ﬂow of functionalstructured to allow knowledge workers to navigate based options in your application concepts around understoodon the emergent ﬂow of their own efforts. Product teams pathways of meaningful action? How could navigationcan derive these pathways from the interrelations between “naturally” and desirably unfold through the course of targeteddifferent operations, tasks, and larger activities in targeted knowledge workers’ own decisions and efforts within yourwork practices. computing tool?Examples from three knowledge work domains: More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons for knowledge work: A ﬁnancial trader rarely needs to ac)vely locate an entry point to his next ac)on within his trading applica)on. The tool is designed to suit the ﬂow of his work, and How might the interrela)ons between opera)ons, tasks, and larger ac)vi)es he feels like it is “intelligent” enough to “know” the diﬀerent ac)ons that he might Financial that your team is striving to mediate be reﬂected in the structural ﬂows of your want to accomplish next, providing him with quick ways to get started applica)on concepts? (see illustra(on). Trader How might your team situate your sketched func)onali)es within these essen)al A scien)st runs a standard transforma)on algorithm on some of her lab’s clinical ﬂows? data. Based on the output of this process, her analysis applica)on presents her with What func)onal areas will contain volumes of content that could beneﬁt from clear, a set of subsequent ac)ons that she may want to perform next in order to further categorical route sugges)ons? manipulate the content. What might it be like to navigate through diﬀerent pathways as part of targeted An architect copies and drags a new wall into place within her building modeling work prac)ces? Which of your team’s pathway ideas could be more likely to provide applica)on. A menu then lists the poten)al associa)ons and aZributes that she workers with a sense of compelling engagement and accomplishment? could select for the new wall, based on its loca)on rela)ve to other elements. How could interac)ve routes be made to feel as if they are tailored to the inherent Interac)ve applica)ons that are tailored to speciﬁc knowledge work prac)ces (A) can ﬂow of work prac)ce, disclosing content and func)onality progressively in order to reﬂect the ﬂow of those prac)ces back at workers as they accomplish their tasks and reduce experienced complexity?larger ac)vi)es (K3, K13). These reﬂected ﬂows can allow workers to use their exis)ng mental models and skills to navigate through contextual, progressively disclosed inter‐ How might the interac)on models of your team’s applica)on concepts communicate ac)ons (C3), rather than forcing them to learn how to translate their goals into ac)ons available pathways of ac)on to users? Would workers beneﬁt from a “map” or is it within a tool’s own arcane conven)ons (C1, C2). enough to present state based, contextually relevant pathways? Where could important pathway op)ons be contextually )ed into your sketched Product teams can envision how their proposed mappings between work scenarios func)onality concepts?and interac)on objects (B1, B8) could translate into clear and direct pathways through related interfaces. Teams’ early envisioning of these routes can focus on primary work How important is it for workers to have an understanding of where they are in a scenarios, at a level of detail that allows them to sketch viable applica)on concepts. process? What wayﬁnding cues could be appropriate in diﬀerent scenarios?Pathway mappings typically become an important part of a product’s overall framework How direc)ve should interac)ve pathways be? Where could constric)ve, (C), communica)ng a tool’s available func)onali)es and its relevance for targeted work standardizing pathways undesirably limit workers’ eﬀorts? prac)ces (K3). Certain points along pathways can also appear within related func)on‐ali)es, outside of an applica)on’s pervasive “shell,” as state based (B5, B6, C10) and How might the availability of interac)ve pathways be inﬂuenced by applica)on contextually relevant naviga)on op)ons. and interac)on object states? When product teams do not ac)vely consider valuable support for prac)ce based What might the experience be like when “turning to” your team’s product from wayﬁnding, resul)ng applica)ons can feel more like a collec)on of discrete func)ons work prac)ces that are accomplished outside of the screen, or when transi)oning than a cohesive, narra)ve experience (G1). In en)rely disjointed products, workers away from your product into other parts of work ac)vity?must ﬁrst discover what func)onality is available to them and then learn to navigate to Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning appropriate func)ons in sequence. For many knowledge work situa)ons, users may ﬁnd ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design this sort of wayﬁnding to be excessively eﬀortul to learn and use eﬀec)vely (D2, K2, concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?K6) without making errors (C9, G3). These nega)ve eﬀects may lead to a considerable amount of undiscovered or inten)onally unused func)onality (D3, D4).See also: D7, F, G, K5, K8, K9, M1
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | C. ESTABLISHING AN APPLICATION FRAMEWORK WORKING THROUGH SCREENSC5. Permissions and Views Tailored to Workers’ Identities 49Application displays that are tailored to knowledge workers’ Based on observed role segmentations and security needs inidentities can support both organizational goals and workers’ the organizations that your team is targeting, what approachesown preferred ranges of practice. Product teams can envision can you envision for meaningfully categorizing knowledgehow the content and functionalities within their computing tools workers’ identities in your application concepts? How mightcould be segmented into areas and views that are intended for these categories drive differing access and interactions withcertain audiences within the same working culture. certain functionalities and content?Examples from three knowledge work domains: More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons for knowledge work: A scien)st logs into her analysis applica)on to view data in one of her lab’s clinical studies, knowing that her login iden)ty will allow her to use all of the tool’s many What divisions of labor do targeted organiza)ons currently prescribe for the work op)ons. She has organized this same study’s permissions so that technicians in her Clinical prac)ces that your team is striving to mediate? What rules currently dictate access lab can only use the analysis tool to upload their completed experiments and manually check the quality of their data (see illustra(on). Scientist to certain workplace ar)facts? How are workers’ iden))es currently managed within targeted organiza)ons? An architect sets up the permissions of a new project in her building modeling How important, rela)vely, is the security of these iden))es? applica)on to have diﬀerent views and op)ons for other architects working on the How ﬂexible or prescrip)ve are diﬀerent individuals’ roles in observed prac)ce? project; external consultants, such as civil engineers; and even the project’s client, Do they actually correspond to organiza)onal chart abstrac)ons, or are targeted who will only be able to view building plans and renderings generated at certain workers bigger generalists than they oken realize or admit? project milestones. What larger design and technology trends could inﬂuence your team’s idea)on on A ﬁnancial trader knows that, within the trading applica)on that he uses every day, the topic of iden)ty management approaches? there are data views that are only available to his bosses. How might your team model exis)ng power rela)onships and levels of responsibility Knowledge workers enac)ng diﬀerent roles within an organiza)on may perform dif‐ within targeted organiza)ons in rela)on to your sketched applica)on concepts?ferent ac)vi)es (C6) or contribute to the same ac)vity via separate goals and prac)ces (A7, A8). In the context of these established divisions in responsibili)es, organiza)ons Which func)onal areas and interac)on objects stand out as “belonging” to some may have speciﬁc requirements for segmen)ng an interac)ve applica)on’s scope to Collaborating categories of specialized workers but not to others?meaningfully suit categorized iden))es in their workforces (A1, A2). Permissions Scientists At what point does it make sense for your team to start thinking of specialized, role features in compu)ng tools can shape each user’s ability to see and make use of based permission sets as fundamentally diﬀerent views your applica)on, rather than certain data and interac)on op)ons. the same interac)ve frame with some features turned on or oﬀ?Product teams can envision permissions concepts that map to key segmenta)on needs How might separate, permissions based views drive desirable simplicity and and desired levels of ﬂexibility. Teams can also sketch structural approaches for tailoring decreased learning eﬀort?applica)on views to the needs of diﬀerent user segments, displaying available func)on‐ Where might the splintering of a compu)ng tool into diﬀerent views introduce ality (A9) and content (B5, B7) in specialized interface layouts and relevant representa‐ undesirable limita)ons on individual ac)on, opportuni)es for mode errors, )onal forms (F). and other breakdowns? When product teams do not adequately consider the poten)al role of applica)on per‐ What impact could iden)ty based segmenta)ons have on the larger conceptual missions and views tailored to workers’ iden))es, opportuni)es to clarify interac)ons and interac)on models of your sketched products?for diﬀerent audience segments can be lost. Resul)ng applica)ons may not contain valuable barriers to access that can be essen)al for suppor)ng speciﬁc cultures of work What implica)ons could divergent applica)on views have for collabora)on and Laboratory communica)on within your compu)ng tool? How will workers maintain common (C8). Some individuals may ﬁnd that these products present content and func)onality Other Staffintended for “too many diﬀerent people” at the same )me, making these tools exces‐ Technicians ground?sively eﬀortul to learn and use eﬀec)vely (D2, D3, K2, K6) without crossing role based How might your team’s approaches for permissions and iden)ty based views relate boundaries and commilng errors (D4, C9, G3). to your func)onality concepts suppor)ng coopera)on, collabora)on, and workspace awareness?Conversely, when permissions and tailored views are applied without suﬃciently con‐sidering poten)al impacts on collabora)on between roles (C7, G4), workers may ﬁnd Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning it more diﬃcult to establish common ground for communica)on (F1, J2). ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?See also: A, B8, C, G7, J, M
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | C. ESTABLISHING AN APPLICATION FRAMEWORK WORKING THROUGH SCREENSC6. Standardized Application Workﬂows 50Some cooperative processes in knowledge work can be What portions of the knowledge work that your team issupported by computing functionalities that facilitate entire targeting truly follow standardized and routine processes —sequences of standardized effort. Product teams can envision but still require human judgment and action? How might yourfunctionality concepts that could valuably distribute segments application concepts meaningfully structure and usefully reduceof larger work processes among multiple users; however, burdens in these procedural ﬂows for all involved?restrictive workﬂows may not always be an appropriatedesign response. More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons for knowledge work:Examples from three knowledge work domains: Which tasks or larger ac)vi)es that your team is striving to mediate are currently A ﬁnancial trader wants to execute a trade that is so large that it requires signoﬀ part of standardized workﬂow processes? from his manager. The trading applica)on displays a large no)ﬁca)on on the Financial What other ar)facts and technologies are involved in these processes? manager’s screen, and the two coworkers shout back and forth across the trading ﬂoor about the merits of the poten)al deal. Eventually, the manager indicates his Trader What value do current workﬂows provide in targeted organiza)ons? approval in his own view of the trading applica)on, which then executes the What are the individual measures of success for diﬀerent segments of exis)ng pending transac)on (see illustra(on). workﬂows? For en)re workﬂows? A scien)st sets up a work request in her lab’s informa)on management applica)on What work processes do both knowledge workers and their organiza)ons want to so that a certain technician will rerun some clinical samples. When the technician standardize further? Where might organiza)onal goals for workﬂow crystalliza)on receives this work request, he can quickly translate the experimental protocol into show a clear mismatch with workers’ goals and preferred ways of prac)cing? his own laboratory processes, run the samples, and then upload the new data for the scien)st to review. How could your applica)on concepts maintain or expand upon the value of exis)ng workﬂow processes? How might they provide valuable new workﬂow op)ons? An architect deﬁnes a standardized workﬂow in her building modeling applica)on that will usefully drive how her team collabora)vely uploads, evaluates, and catego‐ When might it be more appropriate to support structured work with integrated rizes early ideas for a new building project. communica)on channels and clear object ownership rules, rather than regimented and inﬂexible workﬂow tools?Established prac)ces in knowledge work professions may bear liZle resemblance, either How much visibility might workers want into their colleagues’ ac)vi)es and literally or in spirit, to highly standardized, “scien)ﬁcally managed” assembly lines. It workﬂow contribu)ons? What value could this visibility provide?can be important to recognize, however, that even within otherwise variable ac)vi)es (A7, A8) there may exist some consistent, sequen)al segments of established and How might separate workﬂow views for diﬀerent contributors drive desirable repeated work process (A4). Requirements for these workﬂow standardiza)ons can simplicity and decreased learning eﬀort?arise from individual workers, their organiza)ons, or larger communi)es of prac)ce. How might your team’s sketched workﬂow func)onali)es support interpersonal Product teams’ concepts for media)ng workﬂow processes can have substan)al interac)on and communica)on at key junctures?impacts on their sketched ideas for cross func)onal applica)on frameworks (C1, C2). What role could ﬂexibility and customiza)on play in your workﬂow concepts? Computer mediated workﬂows can outline the number and type of steps to be com‐ Trading At what point might desirable variabili)es challenge the usefulness and viability pleted, levels of instruc)veness (K2, K7), how handoﬀs will occur (C5, G7, J3), and many Manager of standardized workﬂow func)onality?other important factors. Knowledge workers may value how these process oriented func)onali)es reduce undesired eﬀort through automa)on (E3, E4) and distribu)on of What impact could extensive workﬂow oﬀerings have on the larger conceptual eﬀorts to colleagues (J). Appropriate workﬂow tools may also improve the predictability and interac)on models of your sketched products?and quality of coopera)ve outputs (C9, G3, L1). How might your team’s approaches for standardized workﬂows relate to your func)onality concepts suppor)ng permissions, iden)ty tailored views, coopera)on, When product teams do not ac)vely consider the poten)al role of standardized work‐ collabora)on, and workspace awareness?ﬂows in their applica)on concepts, opportuni)es to translate exis)ng workﬂows, or to create new value in workers’ experiences of larger processes, can be lost. Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design Conversely, highly skilled knowledge workers may not always value novel standardiza‐ concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?)on that is rooted in distant no)ons of eﬃciency, such as those some)mes outlined in the name of “business process redesign” (D1, G5). See also: A, B3, B5, C, D, E, F1, K1, K3, M
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | C. ESTABLISHING AN APPLICATION FRAMEWORK WORKING THROUGH SCREENSC7. Structural Support of Workspace Awareness 51Valuable functional support for cooperative or collaborative What structural, application level approaches might your teamknowledge work activities may impact the larger structure of envision to allow targeted knowledge workers to stay usefullya computing tool. Product teams can envision pervasive cues and meaningfully aware of others’ actions within the same datawithin their application concepts that could highlight signiﬁcant locale? What might these awarenesses feel like in practice?actions of other users acting in the same “workspace.” More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons Examples from three knowledge work domains: for knowledge work: An architect knows that one pane in her building modeling applica)on contains a How do targeted individuals currently keep track of their colleagues’ ac)ons as part variety of informa)on about what her collaborators are doing in the same project of the work prac)ces that your team is striving to mediate? ﬁle. She uses this pane to understand who is working in the same building areas How, speciﬁcally, do current forms of shared awareness promote the eﬀec)ve that she is, as well as to see who is available for conversa)on (see illustra(on). Architect execu)on of loosely coordinated or truly collabora)ve work? How do they prevent A ﬁnancial trader learns that a certain area of his trading applica)on will visually conﬂicts? indicate when another trader is ac)ng on the same informa)on that he is. This What breakdowns currently occur due to insuﬃcient awareness? Could these no)ﬁca)on allows traders to prevent discoordina)on by ini)a)ng discussions about problems present opportuni)es for your product? their current work. Where might the introduc)on of your team’s compu)ng tool remove implicit and A scien)st knows that any )me she looks at individual items in her analysis applica‐ subtle awareness cues from targeted work prac)ces? )on, such as samples within a clinical study, a speciﬁc area of the screen will no)fy her of related ac)ons being performed by other members of her lab. Also, when she What larger design and technology trends could inﬂuence your ideas about how ﬁrst logs into the applica)on, a special “welcome” display summarizes key changes workers might remain appropriately aware of others’ ac)ons within your applica)on that have been made to lab data since she the last )me she accessed the tool. concepts? How might your sketched applica)on frameworks aid workers by providing valuable Knowledge workers are oken highly skilled at understanding how their own ac)ons ﬁt workspace awareness cues at a structural level, across various func)onal areas?into the context of coopera)ve and collabora)ve ac)vi)es in their organiza)ons. Com‐puters can have drama)c impacts on this understanding. For example, when interac)ve What types of ac)ons in your product’s shared workspaces could be )ed to applica)ons become a key focus of work prac)ce, implicit visibility and communica)on stronger, aZen)on grabbing cues? To weaker, almost subliminal, cues?(J1) that was once )ed to the physical performance of work can easily become hidden or en)rely lost (G4). Who needs to see various cues? How might awareness informa)on relate to individuals’ permissions and tailored views?Product teams can envision structural cues that could promote useful types of work‐ At what point might users of your compu)ng tool face informa)on overload from space awareness across the range of tasks and larger ac)vi)es that they are striving to awareness cues? When might it be more appropriate to )e workspace awareness support (A7, C). An applica)on’s larger framework can include func)onality for contact to individual func)ons and contextual areas, rather than your tool’s overarching facilita)on (J4) and other features that highlight shared opportuni)es or poten)al structure?conﬂicts within a networked environment (B7, J5, H3). These structural responses can drama)cally impact a product’s conceptual models (C1), interac)on model (C2), How long should speciﬁc awareness cues last in your applica)on’s framework? and permissions func)onali)es (C5). How might they be )ed to longer term, stored histories for certain func)ons and interac)on objects?When product teams do not ac)vely consider how workspace awareness could be What impact could overarching awareness func)onality have on the larger incorporated into an applica)on concept’s cross func)onal framework, opportuni)es to conceptual and interac)on models of your sketched products? promote coopera)on and collabora)on can be lost. Even though envisioning workspace awareness on a func)on by func)on basis can solve individual collabora)on issues (G4), What unwanted surveillance eﬀects could uninten)onally occur from broadcas)ng without structural support, collaborators may ﬁnd that they have diﬃculty planning speciﬁc ac)ons to other workers?larger ac)vi)es (D2, D3), communica)ng eﬀec)vely (J), distribu)ng eﬀort (E), and pre‐ven)ng conﬂicts (C9, G3). How might any standards set by your structural workspace awareness designs inﬂuence your team’s envisioning of awareness cues within individual func)onality Conversely, too much visibility into the ac)ons of others can be distrac)ng (D4) and concepts? can poten)ally lead to unwanted surveillance eﬀects (A2, G7). Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design See also: A, B, F1, G, H, J2, J3, K, M1 concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | C. ESTABLISHING AN APPLICATION FRAMEWORK WORKING THROUGH SCREENSC8. Defaults, Customization, and Automated Tailoring 52Knowledge workers may want to make persistent changes How might your team clarify and reduce the effort needed toto default settings in order to tailor how they interact with understand and set important parameters in your applicationa computing tool. Product teams can endeavor to create concepts? How could the interplay of appropriate defaultuseful defaults; provide clear, consistent, and direct means of values, manual customization, and automated tailoring enhancechanging them; and consider scenarios for useful automation your product’s effectiveness across a breadth of targetedaround some setting changes. contexts?Examples from three knowledge work domains: More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons for knowledge work: A scien)st modiﬁes a certain parameter to inﬂuence how her analysis applica)on will automa)cally compute a derived clinical variable. Aker double checking the Which variabili)es in the opera)ons, tasks, or larger ac)vi)es that your team is eﬀects of this parameter change within her most commonly used visualiza)ons and Clinical striving to mediate might lead to a genuine need for customiza)on op)ons? procedures, she sets the modiﬁed value as the default selng for all new studies (see illustra(on). Scientist Which default selngs in your team’s applica)on concepts will individuals and organiza)ons expect to have some control over? Why? An architect ﬁnds that the input selngs of a drawing tool in her building modeling Which selngs stand out as pivotal in your team’s sketched ideas for work applica)on are making some parts of her work unnecessarily painstaking. She navi‐ media)on? Which will probably not capture workers’ interests and may only gates to a single screen that contains all of her applica)on preference selngs and be accessed rarely, if at all? decreases the par)cular tool’s sensi)vity to input. What larger design and technology trends could inﬂuence your ideas about A ﬁnancial trader updates important automa)on defaults in his trading applica)on defaults and local tailoring of selngs within your compu)ng tool? that dictate how the compu)ng tool will adap)vely ﬁll in proposed informa)on under diﬀerent circumstances. Which defaults in your applica)on concepts could be op)mized by covering the most common scenarios of use in targeted organiza)ons? In specialized products for knowledge work, a single parameter can make or break the eﬀec)veness of an en)re system. Product teams can envision default selngs for their Which defaults might be beZer op)mized by considering the broadest variety interac)ve applica)ons that are op)mized to cover the most common scenarios of use of work prac)ce?(A4) or the broadest variety of work prac)ce (A6, A7, A8). Which parameters might be impossible for your team to set defaults for without local input from individual workers or their organiza)ons?When default selngs have the poten)al to shape workers’ interac)ons or outcomes in ways that are not in alignment with their goals, applica)ons can provide customiza‐ Where could automated tailoring of selngs be appropriate, useful, and clearly )on func)onality that allows for local modiﬁca)on of key parameters (C5, F8). Prod‐ executed? Might it be more appropriate for such automa)ons to suggest changes uct teams can envision these customiza)ons at the level of individual workers, larger that workers could then select as customiza)ons? groups, or en)re organiza)ons (B10). How might the scope of a single selng change apply to individual workers, larger groups, or en)re organiza)ons?In carefully selected cases, workers may appreciate suggested or automated tailoring of selngs (E3) based on their logged behaviors within an applica)on. To avoid confu‐ How could a central area for selngs changes within your applica)on’s framework sion, deﬁners and designers can envision ways to clearly communicate these adap)ve enhance the clarity of related tasks?changes (B6, F11, H4) as well as provide methods to easily reinstate earlier values (E6). How might new or unexpected changes to defaults be ﬂagged and meaningfully When product teams do not suﬃciently consider the poten)al role of defaults, custom‐ communicated?iza)on, and automated tailoring, resul)ng compu)ng tools may not be suitably con‐ What nega)ve impacts could changes to defaults have on coopera)ve and ﬁgured or conﬁgurable for the par)culars of knowledge work. Opportuni)es for close collabora)ve work? How might these impacts be mi)gated?alignment with work prac)ces can be lost, and individuals may struggle through their adop)on experiences (K), poten)ally crea)ng and enac)ng excessively eﬀortul work Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning arounds (D2, D3). ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?Conversely, extensive changes to defaults may reduce representa)onal common ground between workers (F1, J2) that is oken needed for eﬀec)ve communica)on (J) and collabora)on (B7, C7, G4).See also: A, C, F, I, K11, M4
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | C. ESTABLISHING AN APPLICATION FRAMEWORK WORKING THROUGH SCREENSC9. Error Prevention and Handling Conventions 53To ensure that potential errors in mediated knowledge work Looking across the functionality concepts in your team’sare preempted and managed in a consistent and appropriate sketched application possibilities, what common classes ofmanner, product teams can develop internal conventions for error situations might you identify? What interaction patternstheir application concepts. These standards can promote could consistently and appropriately prevent or handle each oflearnability, usability, and implementation efﬁciencies. these error classes?Examples from three knowledge work domains: More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons for knowledge work: A ﬁnancial trader no)ces and appreciates the diﬀerent ways that his trading ap‐ plica)on prevents him from making errors during the course of his typically hec)c What error scenarios are targeted individuals currently concerned with in the day. For example, the tool presents small, informa)ve ﬂags as he enters problema)c opera)ons, tasks, and larger ac)vi)es that your team is striving to mediate? Why? data so that he can make correc)ons in real )me. And, when he tries to complete an ac)on that does not match established business rules, the tool overlays clear, Financial How do they currently prevent and handle these errors? Could these situa)ons cau)onary messages with sugges)ons for ac)on (see illustra(on). Trader present opportuni)es for your product? Where might the introduc)on of your team’s compu)ng tool create new An architect has learned that her building modeling applica)on provides constraints possibili)es for human error in targeted work prac)ces? on her ac)ons that prevent her from making errors in a categorical variety of ways, whether she is “sculp)ng” the shapes of a building design or entering data about How might you divide up the pool of poten)al error scenarios that you have the proper)es of a par)cular onscreen object. iden)ﬁed into meaningful classes? How could diﬀerent approaches and perspec)ves on this categoriza)on provide insights? A scien)st wants clear, highly visible messages in her analysis applica)on that prevent her from making predictable and common data entry mistakes while she What larger design and technology trends could inﬂuence your ideas about creates new studies. However, for any tasks that involve exploring her lab’s clinical preven)ng and handling classes of errors within your compu)ng tool? data, she only wants messaging of possible errors, without any hard limita)ons on her ac)ons. What exis)ng conven)ons, from a broad selec)on of interac)on paZerns in contemporary compu)ng, are most relevant to the error classes and categories Within the complex mental opera)ons and symbolic abstrac)on of computer medi‐ that your team has iden)ﬁed?ated work prac)ces, we can safely assume that people will make errors (G3). The best What domain speciﬁc error scenarios might present opportuni)es for your team envisioning response to a recognized possibility for user error is oken to design away to envision useful and specialized error preven)on or handling conven)ons?the condi)ons under which it might arise. How could diﬀerent levels of error severity be clearly and consistently In cases where there are conﬂic)ng requirements and high ﬂexibility needs, product communicated throughout your applica)on concepts?teams may ﬁnd it diﬃcult to prevent errors strictly by envisioning behavioral constraints What special standards might your team envision to prevent cri)cal errors in highly in their func)onality concepts. Teams can meaningfully categorize these stubborn direc)ve ways? On the other side of the spectrum, what classes of errors do not error cases, based on their severi)es and interac)on consistencies (A4). They can then require such strict preven)on and should leave users in the locus of control?envision paZerns for error preven)on and handling to apply throughout their sketched applica)on concepts (C3, E3, F10). How might these internally consistent standards become a complementary element of your product’s larger aesthe)c direc)on and brand? What tone and appearance Teams can choose many of these paZerns from among the error conven)ons that are could be most appropriate for these textual and visual languages? commonly used in contemporary interface design (D7, L2). Some products may contain unusual, domain speciﬁc error classes (A) that could beneﬁt from idea)on of novel, How might your sketched error management standards relate to, or even establish, tailored paZerns or display formats (F). the paZern language of a broader family of products in your ﬁrm? Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning When product teams do not ac)vely consider poten)al conven)ons for preven)ng ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design and handling errors, resul)ng inconsistencies (K13) may frustra)ngly hinder a worker’s concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?ability to eﬀec)vely accomplish important goals (L1). People may have more diﬃcultly learning such applica)ons (D4, K5, K6, K7) and recovering from mistakes made while us‐ing them. Addi)onally, their percep)ons of product quality and u)lity may decline (K12) as they create and enact defensive work arounds (D2, D3), such as ac)ve versioning of valued content (H1). See also: B6, C, E6, H2, H3, J4, J5, K5, M
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | C. ESTABLISHING AN APPLICATION FRAMEWORK WORKING THROUGH SCREENSC10. Predictable Application States 54High level state information can allow knowledge workers to as- What useful or necessary overall states might your teamsess whether an application is functioning properly, decide what envision for your application concepts (e.g. starting, loading,avenues of action are currently available to them, and plan the normal, critical error)? How might these states consistentlyongoing ﬂow of their efforts. Product teams can envision clearly communicate how your tool is currently operating, what it candeﬁned, appropriately simple, and well communicated overall currently be used to accomplish, and when, if applicable, itsstates for their computing tools. state will likely change again?Examples from three knowledge work domains: More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons for knowledge work: A scien)st knows that some op)ons in her analysis applica)on are unavailable during intensive automated processes, such as impor)ng large clinical data sets or What technical limita)ons might your team’s compu)ng tool face when it is run running extensive analyses. Since the ac)ons that are currently available during Clinical on the available infrastructures of targeted organiza)ons? diﬀerent states are always obvious, it is easy for her to ﬁgure out what work she can accomplish while the product is processing complex requests (see illustra(on). Scientist How might integra)on into other systems, or use of networked resources, aﬀect goals of near real )me responsiveness? An architect indirectly learns all of the states of her building modeling applica)on What interac)on cases, looking across the breadth of your sketched func)onality during the course a single project. She now knows that the tool behaves in special concepts, might beneﬁt from an applica)on state that could appropriately direct ways when it is, for example, opening a building model, crea)ng a detailed render‐ users’ ac)ons? ing, displaying problema)c areas of a design, or as occasionally happens, experienc‐ ing technical diﬃcul)es. Which interac)ons or automated processes in your sketched func)onality concepts are likely to require processing )me that workers will probably experience as a A ﬁnancial trader expects his trading applica)on to run at top speed whenever he period of wai)ng? turns to use it. If an issue does arise within the product’s opera)ons, he wants the tool to be “smart” enough to detect the problem as soon as possible and then tell What cri)cal errors could become default applica)on states by blocking ac)on un)l his team what to do about it. they are resolved? With limited processing resources, network constraints, and other technical boZle‐ What set of high level states could comprehensively cover key scenarios in your necks, many computer mediated processes in knowledge work are inevitably experi‐ team’s applica)on concepts?enced as something slower than real )me responsiveness (E3, E4). For example, users How much detail is too much detail when considering your list of applica)on of an applica)on may quickly learn that their valued tool needs to extensively ini)alize states? When might several states that are namable and very diﬀerent from your when it is launched and take )me to save selngs (C8) when work is concluded. team’s own perspec)ve be beZer presented to your product’s users as a single state category?Deliberate, controlled pauses in interac)on can also be implemented by design. At cer‐tain )mes, ac)ons may be disabled within an applica)on (C4) as a means of preven)ng How might simplicity in applica)on states promote more accurate conceptual errors (C9, G3) or direc)ng workers toward certain responses. models of your compu)ng tool? What interac)ve pathways, due to technical requirements or deﬁned constraints Product teams can envision appropriate states for their applica)on concepts with an in work processes, could need to be disabled during certain states?inten)onal focus on clarity and simpliﬁca)on. Workers do not typically need to be aware of many of the internal, “behind the scenes” condi)ons of their compu)ng tools How might applica)on state informa)on be communicated both in your product’s (K10, K11). Instead, teams can focus on iden)fying applica)on states that could directly overall framework and as part of certain func)onality concepts?inﬂuence the ﬂow of work ac)vity (D4), such as condi)ons )ed to crucial error cases or lengthy processes where indica)on of progress could be useful (E5, F6, K4). Where might these state categories become too conﬁning for variable work prac)ces? How might constraining states be eliminated through redesign of your When product teams do not ac)vely consider how to deﬁne and eﬀec)vely communi‐ sketched interac)on models?cate applica)on states, resul)ng products may cause confusion as workers aZempt to Which state categories could be more appropriately envisioned at the level of translate their goals into situated ac)ons or longer term plans (D3). When compu)ng interac)on objects rather than presiding at the applica)on level?tools present vague or confusing states, users may have diﬃculty developing useful expecta)ons (D2, K2, K6, K7) as well as accurate conceptual models of how a tool Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning essen)ally works (C1). ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?See also: A, B5, C, D6, D7, F10, H2
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | IDEA CATEGORY WORKING THROUGH SCREENSD. Considering Workers’ Attentions 55Valued computing tools can desirably “ﬁt” In many professions, knowledge workers’ aZen)ons can be stretched to their proverbial limits by mul)ple threads of ac)vity and steady streams of interrup)ons. To be success‐into the ﬂow of thinking work: easing burdens, ful in their chosen voca)ons, workers may become skilled at es)ma)ng the eﬀort that removing distractions, and allowing people to incoming work items will require, aZending to pressing items, selng aside less urgent needs, and recognizing opportuni)es to delegate work or otherwise make it less )me focus on challenging problems. consuming. The overall “load” placed upon workers’ emo)ons and cogni)ve abili)es can be a seri‐Designing for such a compelling pairing ous considera)on for the design of interac)ve applica)ons. The stress involved in some requires a careful examination of current and knowledge work professions has been )ed to health problems in the people that prac‐ )ce them. While poorly designed onscreen applica)ons can be obvious contributors potential demands on peoples’ attention. to this stress, even carefully designed products, in conjunc)on with related workplace demands, can require taxing levels of concentra)on that may be diﬃcult to eﬀec)vely During application envisioning, product teams sustain. can evaluate and explore how their sketched Although many product teams may brieﬂy discuss the limita)ons of hypothe)cal users’ aZen)ons when they evaluate detailed design op)ons, they may be less likely to do offerings might impact the allocation and so when considering their products’ overarching design strategies and possible design sequence of knowledge workers’ efforts. direc)ons. Without these early discussions about poten)al inﬂuences on knowledge workers’ concentra)ons and mental eﬀorts, teams may not recognize certain oppor‐ tuni)es to thoughtully shape their design concepts around important aZen)onal con‐By taking time to explore the topic of attention sidera)ons — un)l aker workers have actually adopted resul)ng products and begin related needs and goals, teams can highlight asking for certain types of improvements.opportunities to tailor and extend their This category contains 7 of the 100 applicaon envisioning ideas in this book:products in truly useful and humane ways. D1. Respected tempos of work D2. Expected eﬀort D3. Current workload, priority of work, and opportunity costs D4. Minimizing distrac)on and fostering concentra)on D5. Resuming work D6. Aler)ng and reminding cues D7. Eventual habit and automa)city Product teams can use these ideas to explore poten)al roles for their compu)ng tools in the ongoing ﬂow of knowledge workers’ aZen)ons. Idea)on around workers’ at‐ ten)onal demands in speciﬁc situa)ons can help teams establish key design constraints and drive explora)on of appropriate design responses. It can also allow teams to un‐ cover opportuni)es to reduce aZen)on related burdens through targeted automa)on func)onali)es. The central no)on of this category is most closely related to the “Exploring work media‐ )on and determining scope” (A), “Providing opportuni)es to oﬄoad eﬀort” (E), “Clari‐ fying central interac)ons” (G), and “Promo)ng integra)on into work prac)ce” (K) categories.
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | D. CONSIDERING WORKERS’ ATTENTIONS WORKING THROUGH SCREENSD1. Respected Tempos of Work 56Knowledge work can have implicit paces and timings, based How could the interactive ﬂow of your team’s application My work has a deﬁnite in part on workers’ inherent mental and physical limitations as rhythm to it that concepts desirably reﬂect the inherent pacing of targetedhuman beings. By exploring potential changes to the pacing actually helps me to knowledge work practices, rather than force unwanted slowingof individual tasks and extended activities, product teams can think more clearly... or acceleration in users’ experiences? Where might positivemeaningfully envision how their interactive applications might shifts be possible?impact important tempos in workers’ practices. During the really busy )mes, I won’t use any More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons Examples from three knowledge work domains: part of my sokware for knowledge work: that slows me down... A ﬁnancial trader follows a very similar schedule on most every working day. Dur‐ What tempos are currently found within the tasks and larger ac)vi)es that your ing large parts of this daily rou)ne, he has the poten)al to be overwhelmed with a team is striving to mediate? steady stream of incoming, discrete decision tasks, most of which are facilitated by his high performance compu)ng tools (see illustra(on). Financial How did these tempos originate? What factors have perpetuated them? Trader How can certain paces and )mings in diﬀerent threads of knowledge work nest An architect’s projects typically span over months or, more commonly, years. Her and interrelate? work days are oken long, with a sustained intensity level that oken leads her to feel hurried as she switches between very diﬀerent tasks during diﬀerent project phases. What drives current variabili)es in tempo? What impacts can individual diﬀerences, workers’ roles, or speciﬁc organiza)onal approaches have? A scien)st is under pressure to quickly understand clinical data in order to deliver MORNING exac)ng discoveries— a “quickness” that she feels on very diﬀerent )me scales. She Where do conﬂicts some)mes occur due to misunderstandings around tempo? appropriates whatever compu)ng tools she can to clarify the big pictures of her When and why do collaborators become “out of step”? Could these current lab’s experimental outputs, while at the same )me dealing with a myriad of )me In the morning, trading problems present opportuni)es for your team’s product? sensi)ve details that are needed to keep her studies running eﬀec)vely. volume can be high as What do individuals and organiza)ons think of current tempos in targeted work everyone comes in and prac)ces? What parts of their work would they like to slow down or speed up? Recurring tempos in knowledge work can arise from a variety of factors to become an trades on new informa)on Why?essen)al aspect of workers’ experiences (A, G1). Expecta)ons for tempos can be set by from aker the closing bell professional standards, by speciﬁc organiza)ons or communi)es of prac)ce (A7, A8), of the previous day... What posi)ve or nega)ve impacts might your sketched applica)on concepts have and by individual knowledge workers, who may establish rhythms to bring their eﬀorts on various tempos? What problema)c changes seem suﬃciently possible to imply into both internal and external equilibriums. that your team may want to redesign related func)onali)es?Product teams can model how established tempos in knowledge work nest into one How might the inherent tempos of your sketched func)onality concepts be received another, run in parallel threads, or interrupt each other (A5). They can iden)fy tempos by an aging knowledge workforce?in speciﬁc prac)ces, tempos in daily cycles, unique tempos for individual roles, and What interac)vity and design communica)on could posi)vely inﬂuence workers’ collec)ve tempos across the course of longer term, shared goals within an organiza)on. percep)ons of elapsed )me during their experiences with your team’s compu)ng tool?Interac)ve applica)ons can have major impacts on exis)ng tempos, to both posi)ve and nega)ve eﬀect. As workers adopt a compu)ng tool (K), they may compare the How might posi)ve changes in targeted tempos factor into your product’s brand?rhythms implied by its pathways to their own expecta)ons and preferences. Valued Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning automa)on of )me consuming and tedious work (E3, E4) can contribute to a posi)ve ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design evalua)on. Products that force unwanted changes in tempos without suppor)ng a Toward the end of the day, concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?worker’s internal locus of control (E6) may contribute to a nega)ve impression, as well as a sustained eleva)on in stress level. when the market is moving fast before closing When product teams do not ac)vely consider how their applica)on concepts could in‐ )me, I really need my ﬂuence exis)ng tempos in knowledge work prac)ces, they run the risk of crea)ng tools tools to respond rapidly that are out of step with users’ desires and needs. Resul)ng applica)ons may “push” and to understand what I workers through processes too quickly (C6), or perhaps more commonly, enforce in‐ want to do...terac)on pathways that are too slow and extended rela)ve to conven)onal or desired pacing (C4, D3, D4). END OF DAYSee also: D, C8, E5, J1, J3, K6, K1, K13, M1, M4
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | D. CONSIDERING WORKERS’ ATTENTIONS WORKING THROUGH SCREENSD2. Expected Effort 57Knowledge workers develop useful expectations about how What expectations of effort do targeted knowledge workersmuch time and attention is required to successfully accomplish have in the speciﬁc areas of work practice that your team isdifferent operations, tasks and larger activities. Product teams targeting? Which of your team’s functionality concepts willcan envision functionality concepts that could either meet or likely “beat” those expectations? Which might be perceivedexceed these expectations, providing justiﬁcations of sufﬁcient as problematically effortful to use?value whenever onscreen tools happen to require more workinstead of less. More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons for knowledge work:Examples from three knowledge work domains: How much eﬀort do targeted workers currently spend on the speciﬁc opera)ons, An architect expects the act of grouping elements together within her building tasks, and larger ac)vi)es that your team is striving to mediate? What benchmarks modeling applica)on to be rapid and direct. She is surprised when she is prompted Architect do they use? to specify seemingly unimportant informa)on about a grouping before she can What do targeted individuals and organiza)ons think of these current levels of proceed with unifying it (see illustra(on). eﬀort? A ﬁnancial trader “test driving” a new trading applica)on expects the op)mal path‐ Do people ﬁnd any of their current work prac)ces to be repe))ve or tedious? ways for certain common tasks to be as fast as they are in the tool that he currently uses. His opinions about novel func)onality are more open. What prac)ces do knowledge workers not want to change, despite high eﬀort requirements? Why? A scien)st, while specifying the aZributes of several clinical samples in her lab’s in‐ forma)on management applica)on, is surprised by how quickly she is able to enter What general expecta)ons do workers have about the impact of compu)ng tools required and desired informa)on for each sample. on the eﬀort needed to accomplish their workplace goals? How do expecta)ons of eﬀort vary across targeted individuals, roles, organiza)ons, Knowledge workers oken develop strong opinions about the )me and aZen)on and other factors?requirements of speciﬁc work prac)ces (A). Workers’ abili)es to make accurate es)ma‐)ons of eﬀort can be considered a valued part of their exper)se. Addi)onally, experi‐ Which of your func)onality concepts will likely be recognized as signiﬁcantly enced individuals have oken become highly skilled at comple)ng some opera)ons and reducing eﬀort in certain ac)vity contexts? Is this a compelling value proposi)on?tasks, allowing them to invest much less eﬀort in these ac)ons than new prac))oners Where might workers accept addi)onal eﬀort in a new compu)ng tool if it was seen (D7, K6). as providing addi)onal value? How could that value tradeoﬀ be embodied and communicated in your sketched func)onal oﬀerings?Product teams can strive to make the amount of eﬀort that workers expend in an interac)ve applica)on feel congruent to the beneﬁts that a tool provides in their work What design approaches might make work feel like it is taking less eﬀort than it prac)ces. People may expect some elements of their work to be less eﬀortul aker actually is? What advanced analogies to other products and domains could inform adop)ng compu)ng tools (E, K), especially in tedious tasks that they ﬁnd less engaging your team’s ideas about reducing perceived eﬀort?and valuable in the context of their larger goals (D3, D4). When the characteris)cs of a func)onality concept result in workers needing to expend more eﬀort than expected, How might your scenarios for desirable reduc)ons in eﬀort factor into the story of teams can aZempt to reframe users’ expecta)ons by communica)ng the value of these your product’s brand?addi)onal eﬀorts (C1, K2, K7). Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design When product teams do not ac)vely consider workers’ expecta)ons of eﬀort in tar‐ concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?geted opera)ons, tasks, and larger ac)vi)es, resul)ng applica)ons may contain interac‐)ons that users view as too diﬃcult or demanding. Especially when extra eﬀort does not provide understood and compelling value, workers may believe that these tools are based on a faulty understanding of their needs (A4, K3). They may also feel that )me spent on inappropriately eﬀortul tasks stressfully detracts from more important work outcomes (L1).Conversely, applica)ons can force too much streamlining of work, removing certain interac)ons and awarenesses that individuals enjoy or value in a prac)cal sense (C6).See also: B10, C4, C8, D, G, J1, K8, K9, M1, M4
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | D. CONSIDERING WORKERS’ ATTENTIONS WORKING THROUGH SCREENSD3. Current Workload, Priority of Work, and Opportunity Costs 58Knowledge work often involves pools of collected work items How might your team’s functionality concepts allow targetedthat can be generated by workers for themselves or can arrive knowledge workers to assess the workload that is currentlyvia structured handoffs and other communications. Product “on their plate,” prioritize what they want to accomplish, hideteams can envision features that could support workers as they or remove what they do not want to address, and work onstrive to understand their current workload, assign priorities, selected items until their “plate is clean”?and then focus their efforts on certain items. More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons Examples from three knowledge work domains: for knowledge work: A scien)st views a list of all of the experiments that have been recently run for a How do targeted individuals currently assess their workload while accomplishing clinical study, narrowing in on the items that require her approval in order for their the prac)ces that your team is striving to mediate? results to be copied to her lab’s analysis database. She scans the list and chooses to Clinical How do knowledge workers and organiza)ons keep track of the larger picture of review samples from the most interes)ng experimental group ﬁrst (see illustra(on). Scientist their collec)ve ac)vi)es, instead of focusing only on granular tasks? A ﬁnancial trader visually scans a list of oﬀers in his trading applica)on. The trading Where do various work items arrive from? How do colleagues and collaborators day is almost over, and since he has been repeatedly distracted by some interes)ng stay aligned around each others’ progress? incoming oﬀers, he decides to work only on trades that match the priority list that his group made this morning, before the markets opened. How do workers establish priori)es? How do they assess the poten)al opportunity costs of addressing certain work items at the expense of others? Do these decisions An architect has been assigned a long list of areas in a building model that she follow established procedures or are they typically based more on impromptu needs to detail out within her building modeling applica)on. She decides to get judgments? started on those areas of the drak model that other members of her team will be working spa)ally adjacent to soon, leaving a number of messages and no)ﬁca)ons What breakdowns currently occur in these decision making tasks? Could these unviewed un)l she has made some ini)al progress. problems present opportuni)es for your team’s product? What factors can change the priority of a work item? How do people “shik gears” Knowledge workers are oken passionate about accomplishing certain goals in their to address high priority work?chosen voca)ons. These goals can range from macro, extended visions to micro, day to day intents. When faced with )me limita)ons and decisions about what work to What currently happens to completed items in order to remove them from workers’ accomplish next, individuals may priori)ze their op)ons and weigh the opportunity proverbial “plates” so that they can focus on needs that have yet to be addressed?costs of taking certain courses of ac)on (D1, D4). Alternately, they may choose their next task based on proven heuris)cs. What larger design trends and advanced analogies to other domains could inﬂuence your team’s ideas about thoughtully facilita)ng these decisions and ac)ons?Product teams can envision func)onality concepts that could valuably support aware‐ What func)onality concepts might your team sketch with the goal of suppor)ng ness and cri)cal decision making around users’ workloads. For example, interac)ve workers’ exis)ng prac)ces for assessing workload, assigning priori)es, and applica)ons can generate tailored informa)on representa)ons (E3, E4, F) that organize understanding opportunity costs?current work items (C5). These manipulable views (I2, I3) can increase the perceptual salience of )me sensi)ve items and demote lower priority op)ons based on their What addi)onal challenges and possibili)es for managing workload could your deﬁned states (B5, B6). Once users choose a work item to pursue, applica)ons can compu)ng tool present?provide them with direct pathways to relevant ac)ons (C4). How might volumes of data be meaningfully displayed in ways that could allow workers to beZer focus their )me and aZen)on? How could deﬁned object states When product teams do not ac)vely consider how their applica)on concepts could serve as a basis for clearly communica)ng present work needs?inﬂuence knowledge workers’ management of their own workloads, resul)ng tools can force users to spend addi)onal )me planning and tracking their eﬀorts (D2). Without How might your team’s ideas about comprehensible onscreen workloads relate appropriate informa)on displays, workers may overlook high priority needs, poten)ally to your other design responses for suppor)ng work in the context of volumes of resul)ng in )ming errors and lost opportuni)es (C9, G3). Similarly, coop‐ era)ve and informa)on?collabora)ve work can also be aﬀected when mul)ple workers struggle to understand the scope of work items that require, or could beneﬁt from, their How might your applica)on concepts provide addi)onal support in these areas for aZen)ons (B7, C7, G4). an aging knowledge workforce? Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning See also: A, D, E, G5, I4, K13, M1, M4 ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | D. CONSIDERING WORKERS’ ATTENTIONS WORKING THROUGH SCREENSD4. Minimizing Distraction and Fostering Concentration 59Knowledge workers are often interrupted from the immersive Where might your team’s application concepts introduceﬂows of their own practices, and some of these interruptions unwanted distractions into targeted workers’ practices?may undesirably pull them away from valued actions and How could your sketched functionalities reduce unwantedoutcomes. Product teams can envision their functionality interference while allowing for useful interruptions that mayconcepts with the intention of minimizing unnecessary enhance productivity and quality in knowledge work?distractions and other obstacles to workers’ concentratedengagement in their present goals. More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons for knowledge work:Examples from three knowledge work domains: What interrup)ons do targeted individuals currently experience in the work A ﬁnancial trader quickly books a peak number of trades, using mul)ple communi‐ prac)ces that your team is striving to mediate? ca)on channels in parallel. While he can always access what he needs to make these Financial Which interrup)ons do knowledge workers value as contribu)ng to their larger important deals, his trading applica)on does not interrupt him with certain types of new informa)on un)l he has completed a long series of trade forms Trader goals? (see illustra(on). What distrac)ons can have nega)ve impacts on work outcomes? How strongly do people feel about these outside forces? A scien)st performs early explora)ons of a large clinical data set in her analysis applica)on. Since she is just gelng a sense for the data’s overall “shape,” she Which work prac)ces can require intensive concentra)on? selects a calm and minimal browsing mode that turns oﬀ certain dynamic features Which tasks or larger ac)vi)es currently allow workers to experience a sa)sfying that she some)mes ﬁnds distrac)ng. sense of engagement under certain condi)ons? An architect has completed a set of construc)on details in her building modeling Which interrup)ons frequently lead to observable errors or reduce the quality and applica)on, aker working on them for a couple of hours. While she waits for the quan)ty of workers’ outputs? Could these problems present opportuni)es for your tool to merge her relevant local ﬁles with the master building model, several lower team’s product? priority no)ﬁca)ons, which had been withheld while she was ac)vely working, appear on her screen. What strategies do targeted workers currently use to try to minimize unwanted distrac)ons?The mul)purpose nature of many compu)ng technologies creates opportuni)es for How might your team’s sketched applica)on concepts inﬂuence workers’ current diverse distrac)ons that can contribute to or interfere with people accomplishing their experiences of distrac)on and engagement?goals (A). While produc)ve interrup)ons can include informal collabora)on with col‐leagues (A7, C7, G4) and other )mely communica)on (J), unwanted distrac)ons can What undesirable distrac)ons could your compu)ng tool introduce? What include uninforma)ve messages (D6) and the sudden interven)on of unpredictable approaches might your team envision to limit or eliminate these factors within processes (C1, G3, K5). your sketched scenarios for work media)on?Product teams can iden)fy parts of their sketched func)onality concepts where certain How might your applica)on concepts promote and enhance exis)ng forms of distrac)ons might be damaging. They can then envision defensive approaches that are engagement in workers’ experiences? How might your sketched func)onali)es tailored to these behavioral situa)ons (D5, D6). As part of fostering concentra)on in at‐ desirably introduce this type of engagement into other prac)ces?ten)on intensive work, applica)ons can promote the direct sense that workers’ ac)ons How could your team’s oﬀering present calming “environments” for workers to act are )ghtly coupled to interac)ve results (B3, G1). This coupling can contribute to what within, while at the same )me usefully direc)ng their aZen)ons with relevant and the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has described as absorbing “ﬂow experiences” appropriately weighted perceptual cues?(K13). Where could interac)ons in your product meaningfully promote a strong sense When product teams do not ac)vely consider how their applica)on concepts might of direct, )ghtly coupled connec)on with onscreen objects?encourage produc)ve concentra)on, opportuni)es to promote focused and engaging How might your applica)on concepts provide addi)onal support in these areas user experiences can be lost. Resul)ng tools may contain a mul)tude of low value dis‐ for an aging knowledge workforce?trac)ons that create ongoing stress (E6, D1), are diﬃcult for workers to accommodate to (D2, D7), and can detract from the quality and quan)ty of work outcomes (D3, L1). Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design Conversely, if product teams take minimizing “unwanted” distrac)ons too far, they may concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?rule out high value func)onality in the name of taming complexity.See also: C8, C9, E, F9, K3, K6, K8, K10, M1
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | D. CONSIDERING WORKERS’ ATTENTIONS WORKING THROUGH SCREENSD5. Resuming Work 60Knowledge workers’ activities often span more than one work What could the experience be like when “stepping away” from,day. Within a given day, individuals may shift their attentions and then returning to, your team’s computing tool? How mightback and forth among several different threads of work. your application concepts support targeted knowledge workersTo reduce the effort needed to effectively resume previous as they seek to invoke and reconstruct their previous mindsetsthreads, product teams can envision useful cues that could in order to “pick up” where they had left off in their evolvingprompt workers’ recollections and outline current conditions activity contexts?within a shared workspace. More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons Examples from three knowledge work domains: for knowledge work: A scien)st arrives at her clinical lab and launches her analysis applica)on. She How oken do targeted individuals currently step away from and return to the work selects the op)on to resume working on the last project that she had open, and Clinical prac)ces that your team is striving to mediate? the applica)on displays every element of her view just as she had lek it, including Scientist What are some common scenarios for selng aside work? What do knowledge a reminder that she had entered to tell herself what to do next (see illustra(on). workers have to remember when resuming targeted tasks or larger ac)vi)es? An architect logs out of her building modeling applica)on so that she can aZend How does the structure of their environments currently help them to recall “their a mee)ng, knowing that the exact same view, along with a message about her place”? colleagues’ current project tasks, will be called up when she logs back in aker the mee)ng is over. What memory cues do they purposefully add for themselves? What other strategies do they employ to more quickly and accurately refocus their aZen)ons A ﬁnancial trader leaves an incomplete trade form open in his trading applica)on on earlier threads? while he books a more )me sensi)ve deal. The half empty form serves as a remind‐ er about the unﬁnished trade and allows him to quickly resume the task later. What errors can occur when workers resume previous eﬀorts? Could these problems present opportuni)es for your team’s product?It can be diﬃcult for knowledge workers to “get back into” interrupted eﬀorts, even What larger design and technology trends could inﬂuence your ideas about how aker rela)vely short breaks. Relevant cogni)ve states do not reappear at the ﬂip of a your applica)on concepts could support reconnec)on with work in progress?proverbial switch, though recognizable external cues can help workers to appropriately return their aZen)ons to where they had lek oﬀ. How might your team’s sketched func)onali)es reduce the diﬃculty of returning to earlier threads of work?In order to envision valuable func)onal responses for resuming work, product teams can examine certain tasks and larger ac)vi)es through the lens of poten)al inter‐ What applica)on events, such as logging in or reopening a par)cular work item, rup)ons (A, C5). At an applica)on level, products can “remember” the contents and could provide useful opportuni)es to implicitly recreate workers’ views within your arrangement of a display exactly as workers had lek it (E3, E4, C4). Saved display states compu)ng tool?can also reappear contextually, when users reopen par)cular interac)on objects that What speciﬁc interac)on objects or applica)on level elements could be restored they had previously modiﬁed, for example (B1, B2, G1). Alternately, workers can choose in ways that may remind workers’ of “their place?”to save explicit “bookmarks” that they can later return to (E1, E2, H1). What explicit methods of bookmarking or otherwise cataloging work progress Stored historical traces of coopera)ve ac)on can also be useful when resuming work might workers ﬁnd valuable?(H2, B5). For example, in cases where colleagues have modiﬁed shared interac)on How might shared uses of applica)on content present opportuni)es to valuably objects that were previously in use (B6, H3), workers may beneﬁt from a concise update highlight important changes as workers’ resume their “paused” eﬀorts?on relevant changes that have been made in their absence (C7, G4, D6). How might your team’s approaches for work resump)on relate to your other When product teams do not ac)vely consider how individuals might part from and concepts for suppor)ng cogni)ve tracing, coopera)on, collabora)on, and return to diﬀerent threads of knowledge work, resul)ng applica)ons may force users to workspace awareness?expend extra eﬀort recalling and recrea)ng where they had lek oﬀ (D2, D3). In complex situa)ons, people may make notable mistakes when aZemp)ng to get back into their How might your applica)on concepts provide addi)onal support in these areas previous states of focused aZen)on (C9, G3). In response to these diﬃcul)es, individu‐ for an aging knowledge workforce?als may resort to workarounds, such as crea)ng external memory aids at interrup)on Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning points (H). ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?See also: B7, D, E, H4, J4, J5, K13
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | D. CONSIDERING WORKERS’ ATTENTIONS WORKING THROUGH SCREENSD6. Alerting and Reminding Cues 61Knowledge work often involves event driven signals and What events in your team’s application concepts will targetedactions, which the boundaries of computing displays may hide knowledge workers likely want to know about and monitorfrom an application’s users. Product teams can envision timely for, either as insight into mediated work process or as eventand salient messaging that could reduce or eliminate the need driven support for their own memories over time? How mightfor workers to continuously monitor for certain events that the automated presentation of relevant messaging allow usersmight impact the sequence or outcomes of their efforts. to stay attuned to these events without maintaining vigilant attention for them?Examples from three knowledge work domains: More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons A ﬁnancial trader, while analyzing a poten)al trade in his market informa)on for knowledge work: applica)on, is presented with a message that reminds him that an earlier, unrelated oﬀer is about to expire in his trading tool. The message also provides him with direct Financial How do targeted individuals currently remind themselves of important, )me op)ons to accept or decline the pending oﬀer (see illustra(on). sensi)ve informa)on in the work prac)ces that your team is striving to mediate? Trader An architect receives a text message from her rendering applica)on, which informs What condi)ons do they monitor for in their ac)vity contexts? her that a lengthy image crea)on process has just been abandoned due to a cri)cal error. She stops what she is doing to ﬁnd a computer, log into the networked render‐ Which of the automated func)onali)es that your team has envisioned could ing server, evaluate the incident, modify some selngs, and restart the process. poten)ally beneﬁt from alert and reminder op)ons? How might these op)ons provide value by reducing or elimina)ng eﬀort that would otherwise be needed A scien)st receives an alert from her lab’s informa)on management applica)on to aZend to your product’s workings? that all of the samples for a clinical study have been processed and that the study’s experimental data can now be analyzed. What informa)on and condi)onal events in your applica)on concepts might workers like to have reminders about over )me? How might they set up these Ac)vely aZending to mul)ple threads of complex knowledge work at the same )me memory suppor)ng messages?— roughly speaking — can be mentally taxing, if not impossible. The ability to eﬀec)ve‐ What rela)ve priori)es could be appropriate for the diﬀerent types of alerts ly monitor for key situa)ons across more than one thread of work is oken considered a and reminder messages that your team has sketched?useful and valued skill. How direc)ve should various types of messages be? Which could be strictly Interac)ve applica)ons with features that intensively support collabora)on (B7, C7, G4) informa)onal? Which might workers need to ac)vely address within a certain or automa)on (E) can change the nature of what it means to aZend to condi)onal and )meframe?)me sensi)ve events. Maintaining diligent aZen)on under these circumstances can be How might lower priority aler)ng and reminding cues be presented at transi)onal diﬃcult for a variety of reasons, generally rooted in the sense that progressive disclo‐ “seams” between aZen)on demanding tasks and larger ac)vi)es?sure can oken eﬀec)vely “hide” important reali)es. What communica)on channels could be most eﬀec)ve for delivering diﬀerent types When it is not essen)al for knowledge workers to ac)vely monitor a process, product of alert and reminder content? Is no)ﬁca)on within your compu)ng tool enough?teams can envision concepts for automated (E3, E4) aler)ng and reminding cues. Rel‐evant, visible, and )mely messages can usefully reduce or eliminate the need to remain How could interrup)ng messages present related pathways of ac)on so that vigilant for certain applica)on (C10) or object states (B5, B6). Similar to appropriate targeted workers do not need to locate relevant naviga)on op)ons?error messaging (C9, G3), teams can generate these no)ﬁca)ons from a strong under‐ How might individual users customize their own alerts and reminders to call out standing of workers’ goals, avoiding unnecessary distrac)on (D4) and providing direct those events that they value and to ignore those that they do not?access to related ac)ons (G1, C4). How might these messages be experienced within groups of coopera)ng or ac)vely When product teams do not ac)vely consider how their applica)on concepts could collabora)ng workers?oﬄoad aZen)onal eﬀort through alerts and reminders, resul)ng tools may require How might your team’s approaches for alerts and reminders relate to your workers to persistently aZend to the presence or absence of certain cues in order to other concepts for suppor)ng cogni)ve tracing, coopera)on, collabora)on, and eﬃciently transi)on through their prac)ces (A). Since these automated messages are workspace awareness? How could these messages relate with your product’s error commonly included in many genres of compu)ng tools, workers may ﬁnd vigilance preven)on and handling conven)ons?tasks without these triggered no)ﬁca)ons to be )ring and unnecessary user experiences (D2, D3). Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design See also: C5, C8, D, E, H3, K7, K13 concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | D. CONSIDERING WORKERS’ ATTENTIONS WORKING THROUGH SCREENSD7. Eventual Habit and Automaticity 62Over time, knowledge workers learn to attend to certain Assuming that targeted knowledge workers will eventuallyareas of their interactive applications, while deemphasizing adopt and frequently use your team’s computing tool, howother pathways and content. Product teams can sketch their might you examine your application concepts through thefunctionality concepts with this sort of habitual learning in mind, lens of users’ eventual habituation and mastery? Whatcreating conditions where workers may develop adaptive, nearly unpredictabilities could lead to errors by “getting in the way”automatic approaches to accomplishing routine interactions. of valuable automaticity? Where might negative habits develop?Examples from three knowledge work domains: More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons An architect works through a cascade of dialogs to change a very speciﬁc selng for knowledge work: in her building modeling applica)on. When she ﬁrst used the tool, this naviga)on seemed excessively eﬀortul. Now, she does “not even think of it” as she performs Architect Where have targeted individuals already developed useful habits and automa)city the task seemingly “automa)cally” (see illustra(on). in the tasks and larger ac)vi)es that your team is striving to mediate? A ﬁnancial trader expertly tabs through the ﬁelds in a trade form, entering speciﬁc What errors currently occur due to knowledge workers “automa)cally” ac)ng in data and making relevant selec)ons. To help him move on to his next trade more inappropriate ways? Could these problems present opportuni)es for your team’s rapidly, he is in the habit of selec)ng an op)on that books a completed trade and product? automa)cally opens an empty trade form. How might your sketched func)onality concepts meaningfully reference workers’ A scien)st, having learned a preferred pathway for narrowing in on subsets of valu‐ exis)ng, produc)ve habits? able data in her analysis applica)on, quickly moves through a series of complex visualiza)ons in a speciﬁc sequence. Where in your applica)on concepts might targeted workers develop new habitual behaviors aker frequent use of certain op)ons?Knowledge workers’ can show surprising skills for incorpora)ng new ar)facts into their Where could work prac)ces mediated by your compu)ng tool be repeated and work prac)ces. Even in cases where individuals do not recognize that they have these consistent enough for workers to aZain a degree of useful automa)city?abili)es, people may use less and less of their conscious aZen)ons as they repeatedly act on or with new ar)facts in speciﬁc ac)vity contexts (A, C4). How might certain predictable behaviors in your func)onality concepts allow individuals to quickly navigate their frequent interac)ons in increasingly “eﬀortless” In the same vein, while ini)al interac)ons (K2) in a new compu)ng tool may demand ways over )me? workers’ intensive aZen)ons (D2, D3, D4), over )me, people can develop varying levels What nega)ve habits could workers form within the channeling ﬂows of your of adap)ve habits within rou)ne and rela)vely unvarying pathways. In some situa)ons, sketched applica)on oﬀerings? highly entrenched habits can develop into automa)city, meaning that speciﬁc opera‐)ons or larger tasks (A5) may eventually require limited conscious considera)on on the What errors might stem from users automa)cally interac)ng onscreen instead of part of applica)on users. considering the unique characteris)cs of their current situa)ons?With these innate human tendencies in mind, product teams can iden)fy areas in their What design responses might your team envision to reduce or eliminate certain sketched design concepts where interac)ons are likely to be frequent and mental ef‐ opportuni)es for nega)ve adapta)ons and automa)city errors? How might these forts are likely to decrease due to consistent goals and the crystalliza)on of standard methods )e into your larger error preven)on and handling approaches?approaches (A3, A4). Teams can then reﬁne these func)onality concepts with the goal Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning of promo)ng workers’ acquisi)on of adap)ve, tacit abili)es. These reﬁnements can ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design include, for example, clear and direct narra)ves of interac)on (G1), uncomplicated concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?conceptual models (C1), and appropriate instruc)onal frames (K2, K5, K6, K7).When product teams do not ac)vely consider how workers might develop habits and automa)city in their applica)on concepts, opportuni)es to facilitate certain forms of mastery in users’ experiences can be lost. Resul)ng products may put too much em‐phasis on ini)al learning rather than accommodated usage, poten)ally leading to the development of nega)ve habits for the long term (K5). Workers may also experience severe frustra)on when updated applica)ons are not built from an understanding of their “legacy” of learned adapta)ons (M1).See also: A, C8, D, E6, K8, K12, K13
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | IDEA CATEGORY WORKING THROUGH SCREENSE. Providing Opportunities 63 to Ofﬂoad EffortValued computing tools can desirably reduce All of us face limita)ons in what we can accomplish. There are only so many hours in a day, and our human minds can, roughly speaking, only process or ac)vely remember burdens in knowledge work while at the same so much at any one )me.time promoting a sense of engagement and Knoweldge workers make use of valued tools to get more done and to make their lives agency. feel simpler. People can become adept at arranging and manipula)ng the world around them to make their ac)ons easier, thereby improving their ability to accomplish certain outcomes. By appropria)ng useful ar)facts into their prac)ces, individuals and their Designing for such useful reductions requires a organiza)ons can posi)vely transform work that would otherwise require tedious labor deliberate and critical understanding of current or complex mental opera)ons. and potential efforts in work practice. Product teams can envision opportuni)es for knowledge workers to distribute eﬀort among themselves, their colleagues, and their compu)ng tools. High level idea)on During application envisioning, product around “what people are good at and what computers are good at”, while useful, may not drive teams to suﬃciently consider the par)culars of workers’ specialized mo)ves teams can map workers’ consistent and and local cultures. To arrive at powerful and valuable oﬄoading op)ons, teams can focus on possible intersec)ons of speciﬁc burdens in work prac)ces and poten)al tech‐routine burdens in order to locate potential nology responses that could either alleviate these burdens or augment workers’ related opportunities for supporting technologies. abili)es. This category contains 6 of the 100 applicaon envisioning ideas in this book:By focusing on how effort might be ofﬂoadedto an onscreen tool, teams can highlight cases E1. Oﬄoading long term memory eﬀortwhere higher order tasks and user experiences E2. Oﬄoading short term memory eﬀortmight transformatively replace unwanted E3. Automa)on of low level opera)onsactions and cognitive load. E4. Automa)on of task or ac)vity scenarios E5. Visibility into automa)on E6. Internal locus of control Product teams can use these ideas to explore poten)al transforma)ons of work prac‐ )ce through the reduc)on of speciﬁc memory burdens and appropriate automa)on of opera)ons, tasks, or larger ac)vi)es. Aging workforces within a product’s demo‐ graphics, who may be experiencing decreases in some of their facul)es, may ﬁnd such oﬄoading op)ons to be especially valuable. The central no)on of this category is most closely related to the “Exploring work media‐ )on and determining scope” (A), “Considering workers’ aZen)ons” (D), “Suppor)ng outcome explora)on and cogni)ve tracing” (H), and “Facilita)ng communica)on” (J) categories.
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | E. PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES TO OFFLOAD EFFORT WORKING THROUGH SCREENSE1. Ofﬂoading Long Term Memory Effort 64Certain information often needs to be “remembered” for some What information do targeted knowledge workers struggle totime by knowledge workers and their organizations. Product remember over extended periods of time in the work practicesteams can envision functionality concepts that could record that your team is striving to mediate? How might your applica-and store this valued content, allowing workers to refer to their tion concepts structure, collect, preserve, and present valuedcomputing tools instead of having to concentrate on keeping long term information in accessible and meaningful ways?certain items mentally available. More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons Examples from three knowledge work domains: for knowledge work: A scien)st opens a ﬁle in her analysis applica)on that contains data from a previous How do targeted individuals currently record and keep track of informa)on that clinical study. Since the old study shares some similar parameters with her current they would otherwise need to recall from their own long term memories? work, she reviews the stored informa)on to remind herself which analysis processes Clinical What ar)facts do knowledge workers create in order to oﬄoad their memory had previously led to valuable insights (see illustra(on). Scientist eﬀorts and make informa)on available to mul)ple people over )me? An architect, when faced with a problem in her current work, opens up older ver‐ When do workers turn to these ar)facts? What role do they play in targeted sions of the same building project in her building modeling applica)on. She uses the opera)ons, tasks, and larger ac)vi)es? stored informa)on to help her remember how she had worked with civil engineers to resolve similar issues in their past. What long term recollec)on errors are common? Could these problems present opportuni)es for your team’s product? A ﬁnancial trader uses his trading applica)on to view his group’s deals from yester‐ day so that he can see how much business he did with a par)cular en)ty. Without How much emphasis do individual workers and larger groups place on the crea)on the tool’s stored record, he would probably only be able to recall a few of the bigger and maintenance of collec)ve, organiza)onal memories? )cket transac)ons. What larger design and technology trends could inﬂuence your team’s ideas about how your compu)ng tool might oﬄoad certain long term memory eﬀorts?Knowledge workers can face daun)ng memory burdens as their ac)vi)es progress over extended periods of )me (A). Luckily, people are not typically expected to recall every‐ How might exis)ng processes for personal and organiza)onal memory be thing; established work processes (A4, C6) and cultural norms (A1) oken implicitly or incorporated into your sketched func)onality concepts?explicitly acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses of our long term memories. These accommoda)ons can be especially visible when work ac)vi)es revolve around high Which memory cuing features of exis)ng ar)facts could be enhanced within your volumes of informa)on rich ar)facts (B1, I) or reference large and constantly evolving applica)on’s displays? How might your team tailor the representa)ons of certain informa)on resources (I5, G6). interac)on objects in order to support workers’ own memory strategies? What new data in your applica)on concepts could lead to new sources of memory Since computers can excel at storing speciﬁcs, product teams can envision func)onality load? How might your product usefully record and present this content in ways concepts that could allow workers to record, locate, and recognize valuable informa)on that could alleviate these poten)al burdens?rather than aZemp)ng to engrain it in, and then recall it from, their long term memo‐ries (D4). Applica)on func)onality can usefully and meaningfully integrate exis)ng During what tasks and larger ac)vi)es could people beneﬁt from being able to easily forms of externalized long term memory (F2, G4, J2) that have historical trajectories and directly access relevant stored informa)on? What might these access points within organiza)ons and larger professions, such as online data repositories or the and pathways look like in your sketched func)onality concepts?formats of certain paper records (J7, H1, H3). What life expectancy could diﬀerent types of stored informa)on have? Could stored content ever become a hindrance or source of cluZer in workers’ ac)vi)es?Addi)onally, team’s concepts for collabora)on oriented features can indirectly help workers to distribute their remembrance eﬀorts by enabling them to more easily reach How might your applica)on concepts provide addi)onal long term memory support out to colleagues’ for their recollec)ons (B7, F1, J5, H3). for an aging knowledge workforce?When product teams do not ac)vely consider how their applica)on concepts could Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning inﬂuence workers’ long term memory burdens, opportuni)es to valuably reduce or ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design eliminate certain types of unwanted memory eﬀort can be lost. Resul)ng products may concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?increase possibili)es for recollec)on error (C9, G3) or force workers to create and enact eﬀortul work arounds in order to prevent informa)on from becoming “lost” (D2, D3). See also: B6, D, E, H, J4, M1, M4
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | E. PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES TO OFFLOAD EFFORT WORKING THROUGH SCREENSE2. Ofﬂoading Short Term Memory Effort 65Knowledge workers’ short term memories have inherent limits, What information do targeted knowledge workers struggle toeven in the context of familiar work practices. To support key remember for short intervals while accomplishing the operationsshort term memory challenges in computer mediated work, and larger tasks that your team is striving to mediate? Howproduct teams can envision concepts for persistently presenting might your application concepts store and display relevantworkers with recent cues and information that is pertinent to short term information in accessible and meaningful ways?their goals. More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons Examples from three knowledge work domains: for knowledge work: A ﬁnancial trader uses a shorthand func)on in his trading applica)on to enter key What strategies do targeted individuals currently use to keep track of opera)ve informa)on about a list of deals that he is nego)a)ng on the phone. Aker the call informa)on that they need to have mentally available or eﬀec)vely “nearby” to successfully accomplish their work? is complete, he is able to transform his quick notes in the shorthand func)on into Financial a set of separate, fully detailed and booked trades (see illustra(on). Trader What ar)facts do knowledge workers create in order to oﬄoad their short term A scien)st zooms in on a progressively narrower set of clinical data in her analysis memory eﬀorts? How transitory are these objects? applica)on. Aker spending a moment inspec)ng a small grouping of data at a very What types of “ac)ve” informa)on do targeted workers oken forget when they granular level, she quickly zooms out to remember which region of the clinical are interrupted? results set she was looking at. A small box traces the previous zoom area within its larger context. What larger design and technology trends could inﬂuence your team’s ideas about how your compu)ng tool might oﬄoad certain short term memory eﬀorts? An architect stops what she is doing in her building modeling applica)on to quickly place draks of three structural features. She then ﬂags each placeholder feature Which memory cuing features of exis)ng ar)facts could be enhanced within your as work in progress, which changes them to a recognizable color. The presence of applica)on’s displays? How might your team tailor the representa)ons of certain these colored volumes in her view reminds her what she wants to work on next. interac)on objects in order to support workers’ own memory strategies? Where might naviga)on through your sketched func)onality concepts introduce We all work from the understanding that people can only ac)vely maintain so much new short term memory load? How might persistently presen)ng recent and new informa)on at once. The limita)ons of short term memory are a well characterized relevant informa)on reduce or eliminate some of these burdens?aspect of human cogni)on. Although knowledge workers can become skilled at keeping domain informa)on at the forefront of their thoughts, they may also develop oppor‐ What func)onality concepts or smaller design responses might your team envision tunis)c approaches for using external resources to mi)gate their inherent memory to allow workers to explicitly record or highlight speciﬁc informa)on that they want limita)ons (A). For example, workers may keep relevant informa)on “near to hand” by to remember in the short term?prin)ng important screen contents (J7), leaving useful documents open (G5, F1, F2), and wri)ng shorthand notes while they work (H4, J5). What programma)c methods could valuably iden)fy categories of “ac)ve” informa)on and abstractly indicate these items with compact and learnable cues? Product teams can envision func)onality concepts that could support workers’ desires How might your team’s concepts for suppor)ng individuals’ short term memory to their oﬄoad short term memory eﬀorts (C3). This support can also take the form inﬂuence common ground and collabora)on is shared workspaces?of targeted reﬁnements of exis)ng func)onal op)ons. For example, applica)ons can provide fast access to recent informa)on either through con)nuous display or by on What life expectancy could diﬀerent types of short term informa)on have? When demand access via clear interac)on pathways (C4, F9, G6). could the persistent presence of this suppor)ng content become a hindrance or source of cluZer in workers’ ac)vi)es?When product teams do not ac)vely consider how their applica)on concepts could How might your applica)on concepts provide addi)onal short term memory inﬂuence workers’ short term memory burdens, opportuni)es to valuably reduce or support for an aging knowledge workforce?eliminate certain types of unwanted memory eﬀort can be lost. Resul)ng products may promote possibili)es for error in recall (C9, G3) or force workers to create and enact Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning eﬀortul work arounds in order to prevent informa)on from becoming “lost” (D2, D3). ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?Conversely, explicit func)onality and design responses in support of short term memory can be limi)ng or distrac)ng (A9, D4), especially in cases where teams do not consider progressive disclosure of recent content as viable support.See also: B2, D, E, F8, G4, H, J2, M1, M4
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | E. PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES TO OFFLOAD EFFORT WORKING THROUGH SCREENSE3. Automation of Low Level Operations 66Knowledge workers may experience certain frequent, highly How might your team’s functional offerings remove or scaffoldgranular work operations as redundant or excessively rigorous. certain consistent, granular knowledge work operationsTo reduce or eliminate efforts around certain tedious or exacting with highly speciﬁc automations? How could these smalloperations, product teams can envision small, highly targeted automations advance targeted workers’ larger, goal directedautomations within their sketched functionality concepts. tasks in useful ways that they may not even recognize?Examples from three knowledge work domains: More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons for knowledge work: An architect’s cursor snaps to the edge of a form that she is trying to enclose in her building modeling applica)on. Since she is familiar with the tool’s behaviors, she What discrete opera)ons in the work prac)ces that your team is striving to mediate an)cipates the correc)on and, as a result, spends less )me posi)oning her cursor are standard, exac)ng, and tedious? What do targeted individuals think of these accurately (see illustra(on). Architect opera)ons? A ﬁnancial trader is booking a deal in his trading applica)on. As he ﬁlls in data, the Where might your team’s sketched func)onali)es introduce new opera)ons that applica)on predica)vely defaults subsequent ﬁelds, which he then simply tabs could also ﬁt the standard, exac)ng, and tedious descrip)on? through if he agrees with the values that the system has entered. Which opera)ons in your concepts for work media)on might be usefully automated A scien)st selects a diﬀerent ﬁlter for a graph within her analysis applica)on, and under the general goal of reducing users’ eﬀorts? the transformed representa)on of clinical data instantly appears. Without the What larger design and technology trends could inﬂuence your team’s ideas about applica)on’s automa)on of the graphing opera)ons needed to update this display, small automa)ons in your compu)ng tool? the resul)ng transforma)on would have taken signiﬁcant )me and eﬀort to manu‐ ally complete. What predic)ve ac)ons, useful sugges)ons, slight correc)ons, and reﬁned interface tailoring could your applica)on concepts automa)cally provide?The term “computer” is famously derived from the specialized job that the technology ini)ally replaced — the now ex)nct profession of manually compu)ng mathema)cal How might these automated opera)ons reduce the incidence of predictable errors problems for science, engineering, and business needs. Since that )me, developments and correc)ve interac)ons? How could the design of these features relate to your in compu)ng have only extended this founding no)on of oﬄoading well characterized products’ larger error preven)on and handling approaches?and predictable opera)ons in knowledge work (A4, A5). Could certain small automa)ons beneﬁt from clearly communicated conceptual models, or could some of them provide just as much value if they are typically Product teams can envision how their interac)ve applica)ons might augment speciﬁc overlooked? work prac)ces by performing small, useful, and learnable op)miza)ons in the context of users’ ac)ons. To ensure that these small interven)ons are visible and understand‐ How might your envisioned automa)ons impact workers’ sense of control? able (E5), compu)ng tools can provide cues to indicate where automa)ons have In what cases might targeted individuals see these automa)ons as unpredictable occurred, as well as how their eﬀects may be removed (C4, D6, H2). Depending on or distrac)ng nuisances?workers’ expecta)ons of control (E6), these granular automa)ons can be the subject What interac)on methods could allow users to recognize and override the eﬀects of customiza)on choices (C8, K11). of certain automa)ons?When product teams do not ac)vely consider how small opera)ons in knowledge work What selngs and customiza)on func)onality can your team envision to help could be usefully automated, opportuni)es to reduce workers’ eﬀorts (D2, D3) and to ensure that automa)ons will operate in accordance with workers’ goals? How prevent certain types of errors (C9, G3) can be lost. Depending on their previous experi‐ could these selngs be clearly and contextually accessed? ences with other compu)ng interac)ons, workers may see the absence of some small automa)ons as annoying oversights in a product’s design (M1). Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design Conversely, in many cases, these small automa)ons simply cannot be meaningfully concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?envisioned due to broad variabili)es in targeted work prac)ces (A6, A7, A8). When misapplied, automa)on of opera)ons can become a frustra)ng hindrance to the experience of directness in compu)ng interac)ons (D4). See also: B5, C10, D, E, I, M
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | E. PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES TO OFFLOAD EFFORT WORKING THROUGH SCREENSE4. Automation of Task or Activity Scenarios 67In certain situations, entire tasks or larger activities in Is your team targeting any tasks or larger activities that haveknowledge work can become extremely routine, describable, highly predictable and standard series of operations? Whatand tedious. In response to these cases, product teams can functionality concepts might you envision to automate theseenvision concepts for targeted automation functionality, which sequences? What could be gained or lost, from the perspec-can change the nature of work by allowing individuals to focus tives of targeted knowledge workers and their organizations,more of their efforts on less routine and higher value efforts. in the adoption of such expansive automations?Examples from three knowledge work domains: More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons for knowledge work: A scien)st designs a workﬂow in her lab’s informa)on management applica)on. In this workﬂow, lab technicians will feed prepared samples into laboratory robo)cs, Which of the work prac)ces that your team is striving to mediate could be which will automa)cally gather experimental data. Her lab’s computers will then Clinical ra)onalized to the extent where automa)on may be a feasible op)on? automa)cally perform a number of algorithmic transforma)ons on the data before storing the results in a repository where she can then analyze it graphically Scientist What tasks or larger ac)vi)es, in prac)ce, present “too much” variability for such func)onality to be eﬀec)vely deﬁned and used? (see illustra(on). Which work processes do targeted knowledge workers ﬁnd tedious and )me An architect enters parameters for the beginning and ending of a curved shape in consuming? How do these rou)ne processes currently distract from more her building modeling applica)on. The compu)ng tool extrapolates the en)re sur‐ meaningful and higher order pursuits? face of the form, including some of its engineering and construc)on details, based upon a set of customized func)onal rules and deﬁned material proper)es. What established processes do workers value in their current form, without automa)on? Why? A ﬁnancial trader books a transac)on in his trading applica)on and then immedi‐ ately focuses his aZen)on on his next poten)al deal. Behind the scenes, a whole Which processes in your sketched applica)on concepts might be usefully automated series of crucial small tasks are automa)cally processed across a number of systems under the general goal of reducing users’ eﬀorts? What value could targeted to make the completed transac)on a reality. organiza)ons gain from extensive automa)ons in the context of their larger goals and overlapping ac)vi)es?Historically, automa)on was an early focus in the applica)on of compu)ng to many workplaces. Today’s product teams developing knowledge work tools may ﬁnd that How might automated processes impact targeted workers’ desired sense of valuable opportuni)es for extensive automa)on of exis)ng work prac)ces (A) are not meaningful visibility, direct control, and self determining agency?especially prevalent in the markets that they target. In certain cases, however, custom‐ What larger design and technology trends could inﬂuence your team’s ideas about izable (C8) automa)on of tasks or larger ac)vi)es can provide transforma)ve value in substan)al automa)ons in your compu)ng tool?the context of workers’ status quo prac)ces (A9) and overarching organiza)onal goals. How might the strengths of compu)ng be applied to valuable and appropriate When product teams do not ac)vely consider how larger units of work prac)ce might automa)on scenarios in your product’s scope? be usefully automated, opportuni)es to reduce or eliminate unwanted eﬀort (D2, D3), How could larger scale automa)ons reduce the incidence of certain errors or prevent certain types of errors (C9, G3), and drive precise, high quality outputs (A4) can improve the quality of certain work outputs? What other beneﬁts could result?be lost. Adop)ng highly “manual” applica)ons may lead to people spending the same amount of )me, or even more )me, on less desirable, “lower level” work and user What might the user experiences of providing inputs and receiving outputs be like experiences. These “lower level” ac)ons are oken accomplished at the expense of in your sketched func)onality concepts? Will workers need to ac)vely monitor other tasks that may beZer contribute to workers’ desired outputs (L1) and larger your team’s envisioned automa)ons? What alerts and cues could guide their goals (A5). observa)ons and awarenesses? Conversely, when misapplied, larger scale automa)ons can erode individuals’ sense of What interac)on methods could allow users to locate and override the eﬀects control (E6) and drive correc)ons and workarounds that may require more eﬀort than of speciﬁc automated steps? How might individuals recognize and recover from doing work without automated support (D4). Workers may place a high value on how certain cases of problema)c automa)on?they currently accomplish the tasks and larger ac)vi)es that product teams perceive What selngs and customiza)on func)onali)es could help ensure that automated as prime candidates for automated oﬀerings (A4, C6, E5). Even in cases where people processes will operate in accordance with the goals of targeted individuals and desire larger scale automa)ons, targeted work prac)ces may contain prohibi)ve organiza)ons?requirements for ﬂexibility (A6, A7, A8). Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning See also: C10, D, E, F6, I, K4, K10, M ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | E. PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES TO OFFLOAD EFFORT WORKING THROUGH SCREENSE5. Visibility into Automation 68To help ensure that knowledge workers are not deskilled when How much visibility might targeted knowledge workers valuethey adopt new or revised computing tools, product teams can when encountering or actively using each of the automatedenvision functionality concepts that could provide users with offerings in your team’s sketched application concepts?meaningful and useful visibilities into the underlying aspects of When could such visibility be useful; what might it look like;certain automated processes. what meaning could it provide; and how present might it be in workers’ experiences?Examples from three knowledge work domains: More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons A ﬁnancial trader receives a series of automated sugges)ons in his trading applica‐ for knowledge work: )on, based on data that he entered earlier in the day. While reviewing these auto‐ mated sugges)ons, he can see the reasons why the applica)on has recommended What automa)ons are currently part of the work prac)ces that your team is striving each poten)al trade and then make his decisions based on a wider variety of criteria that simply cannot be automated (see illustra(on). Financial to mediate? What baseline expecta)ons do targeted workers have for visibility into automa)on processes? Trader A scien)st watches as her analysis applica)on pulls from a number of online data‐ What larger design and technology trends could inﬂuence your team’s ideas bases to construct a visualiza)on. The tool color codes content based on its source, about how visibility into automa)on might provide value to targeted individuals highligh)ng anywhere conﬂic)ng informa)on is available from diﬀerent databases and organiza)ons? so that she can make decisions about which content to use. How might a lack of automa)on visibility create deskilling barriers to adop)on An architect reviews a log of ac)ons taken by the so called “materials manager” in and long term success for your product? her building modeling applica)on. She wants to see if she agrees with the “deci‐ sions” it made while upda)ng a certain aZribute across the en)rety of a large What informa)on about automated opera)ons could be important in the context building model. of diﬀerent visibility scenarios? Which of your team’s sketched automa)on ideas might safely remain a “black box”? Onscreen user interfaces inherently “hide” many of a tool’s inner workings. Some)mes At what point could pervasive visibility begin to detract from the oﬄoading value this opaqueness is useful; other )mes it can deskill. Outside of highly standardized of these func)onali)es?processes (A4, C6), valued technologies in knowledge work may not func)on as “black boxes” that obscure everything that occurs between the receipt of inputs and the deliv‐ What role might certain visibili)es play during users’ ini)al tes)ng of your ery of outputs (G7, J3, L1). compu)ng tool during their adop)on processes? What value might visibility into smaller automa)ons provide? How might this To preserve workers’ skills in speciﬁc prac)ces, product teams can provide useful and informa)on link out to appropriate selngs and instruc)onal content?comprehensible visibility into the details of an interac)ve applica)on’s automated ac)ons. Appropriate views of automated procedures can help workers build accurate How, speciﬁcally, could visibility into larger automated processes provide value in conceptual models of a tool’s func)oning (C1), plan the ﬂow of their work around it, targeted workers’ prac)ces? Could it primarily be used for real )me monitoring and more eﬀec)vely evaluate cri)cal incidents (F6). or might it become more of a tool for retrospec)ve inves)ga)on?Product teams can explore the no)on of visibility as part of envisioning func)onality What specialized representa)ons might your team envision to clearly encapsulate concepts that automate opera)ons, tasks, or larger ac)vi)es, keeping in mind that the and communicate informa)on about automated processes? How might the outputs importance of transparency can escalate at higher levels of this hierarchy (A5). At the of automated processes bear meaningful and traceable “signatures” of their level of tasks or larger ac)vi)es, teams can envision op)ons for workers to monitor crea)on?relevant informa)on about automated processes in real )me (B5, D6, C10) or to How might early experiences of transparency help knowledge workers build review stored logs of automated ac)ons aker the fact (H2, H3, I7). appropriate conceptual models of automa)on func)onali)es? When product teams do not ac)vely consider the poten)al role of visibility into their How could reﬁned automa)on transparency help workers to recover from any automa)on concepts, resul)ng applica)ons may leave workers feeling hamstrung and cri)cal incidents and standard error cases? How might your visibility concepts )e without desirable control (E6). Since even well designed automated rou)nes can into your sketched design responses for error handling and func)onal histories?encounter problems that require human judgment (A, C9, G3), workers may ﬁnd that What customiza)on op)ons could allow targeted individuals and organiza)ons to diagnosing and ﬁxing issues in these opaque systems takes signiﬁcantly more eﬀort tailor automa)on visibility to meet their local needs?than the automa)on was purported to save in the ﬁrst place (D2, D3). Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning See also: C5, C8, E, I6, K, M1, M4 ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | E. PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES TO OFFLOAD EFFORT WORKING THROUGH SCREENSE6. Internal Locus of Control 69Knowledge workers may sometimes feel that interactive appli- What aspects of your team’s automation concepts mightcations “hijack” their work practices in undesirable and stress detract from targeted knowledge workers’ sense of agencyinducing ways. Product teams can envision their functionality and skilled accomplishment? How might your computingconcepts with the intention of promoting a sense of control and tool allow workers to have desirable levels of control over themastery in workers’ experiences, even as computing tools initiation, steering, and completion of automated processes?usefully perform complex actions on their behalf. More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons Examples from three knowledge work domains: for knowledge work: An architect runs a tolerance checking func)on in her building modeling applica)on What automa)ons are currently part of the work prac)ces that your team is striving to check whether one sec)on of a design meets a speciﬁc building code. Where the to mediate? What do targeted individuals think about their level of control over automated func)on discovers a poten)al viola)on, it gives her the opportunity to Architect these technologies? ignore the ﬁnding based on her own interpreta)on of the par)cular code’s descrip‐ What problems currently occur due to workers feeling that they are being )on (see illustra(on). “controlled” or “reined in” by certain standardized ar)facts and compu)ng tools? A scien)st likes that the latest version of her analysis applica)on allows her to Could these problems present opportuni)es for your team’s product? intervene in real )me when she sees that automated algorithms are not producing What categorical classes of local needs in targeted organiza)ons might inﬂuence desired outcomes. In the previous version of the same applica)on, she could not workers percep)ons of control and augmen)ng alignment? interrupt lengthy analyses to make changes. What analogies and language might your team use to describe the rela)onship A ﬁnancial trader turns oﬀ the automa)c trading func)on in his trading applica)on, between user and product that you are striving to create? What implica)ons which normally takes care of low value, uncontroversial transac)ons. Accomplish‐ could this described rela)onship have on brand? ing these deals manually, when he has )me, gives him a beZer sense of his group’s standard business. How might you envision automa)on func)onali)es as ac)onable extensions of workers’ skills, rather than distant and self opera)ng replacements for them?Knowledge workers may place a high value on how their compu)ng tools automa)cally How could thinking about automa)on as just “another tool” in workers’ available perform certain complex ac)ons (E3, E4). But rather than experiencing these tools as repertoires allow your team to sketch more appropriate func)onality concepts?yet more technology that “runs itself,” workers may want some measure of control over automa)ons (A4, D2), especially when they can inﬂuence the character of en)re tasks How might a lack of control over certain aspects of your product create deskilling or larger ac)vi)es (A5, C8, K2, K4). barriers to its adop)on and long term success?To promote workers’ sense that they are at the locus of control, product teams can How might desired levels of control change over )me as users increasingly trust envision opportuni)es for users to appropriately contribute their own skills to the your compu)ng tool?ini)a)on, steering, and comple)on of automated processes (C4, G1). What selngs and op)ons might your team envision to give targeted individuals and organiza)ons meaningful inﬂuence over automa)on func)onali)es in the context of Over )me, workers may build conﬁdence in how an applica)on performs and contrib‐ their local ways of working?utes to their work outcomes (K13, L1), eventually becoming comfortable enough to surrender more complete control of some ac)ons (D4, D7). Product teams can promote What interac)ve scenarios and behaviors might provide users with a direct and these desirable end states by concep)ng features that could allow workers to transi)on engaging sense of control over your compu)ng tool’s ac)ons?through such levels of conﬁdence at their own pace. How much control might be too much control? What constraints could usefully promote reduc)ons in eﬀort, clariﬁed interac)ve experiences, reduced likelihood When product teams do not ac)vely consider how knowledge workers might retain an of errors, and the conﬁdent crea)on of desired outputs?internal locus of control while using compu)ng tools that powerfully shape their prac‐)ces, users may ﬁnd that resul)ng applica)ons stressfully and inappropriately “make What contexts could require automa)on to be highly standardized, rather than decisions” or “take ac)ons” against their inten)ons. Workers may believe that they are modiﬁable on a case by case basis at the discre)on of individual workers? being deskilled by these compu)ng tools (E5, D3), which can inﬂuence their decisions about whether or not to fully adopt them into their own eﬀorts (K). Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design Conversely, applica)ons can introduce “too much” control, crea)ng unnecessary concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?opportuni)es for errors (C9, G3) and distrac)ng users from larger goals (D1).See also: A, C1, E, M1
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | IDEA CATEGORY WORKING THROUGH SCREENSF. Enhancing Information Representation 70Valued computing tools can represent Recorded informa)on, whether inside or outside of an interac)ve applica)on, exists in speciﬁc representa)onal forms. A plain page ﬁlled with uniform text is one such form, information in concise and tailored ways that along with any number of other textual layouts, tables, maps, and graphs. As workers are well suited to knowledge workers’ goals repeatedly create, act with, act on, and communicate through certain representa)onal forms, these standards can become powerful cultural conven)ons that deﬁne and and mental models. direct shared approaches to thinking within local communi)es of prac)ce or the en)rety of a profession.Designing such useful representations requires Some representa)onal forms can facilitate speciﬁc cogni)ve transforma)ons and work a deliberate understanding of how people prac)ces beZer than others. As Herbert Simon wrote, “solving a problem simply means represen)ng it so as to make the solu)on transparent.” Poor representa)onal align‐might understand and act upon content. ment can interfere with accomplishment, requiring addi)onal thought and ac)on. During application envisioning, product teams Manually crea)ng some representa)ons can require considerable eﬀort — calcula)ng values, laying out a document space, plolng points, ﬁlling in areas. By comparison, can critically examine how information is interac)ve applica)ons can make genera)ng standard representa)onal forms nearly eﬀortless for their users, opening up opportuni)es for the rapid explora)on of novel currently represented, looking for opportunities perspec)ves on selected informa)on sets.to display important content in enhanced or This category contains 11 of the 100 applicaon envisioning ideas in this book:even transformative ways. F1. Coordinated representa)onal elementsBy taking time to generate diverse ideas for F2. Established genres of informa)on representa)ontheir product’s information displays, teams F3. Novel informa)on representa)onscan situate new and existing content in F4. Support for visualiza)on at diﬀerent levelscomprehensible views that ease navigation F5. Compara)ve representa)onsburdens and make complex conclusions F6. Instrumental results representa)onsperceptually clear. F7. Highly func)onal tables F8. Representa)onal transforma)ons F9. Simultaneous or sequen)al use of representa)ons F10. Symbolic visual languages F11. Representa)onal codes and context Product teams can use these ideas to explore a range of concepts for media)ng work prac)ces through the dynamic genera)on and use of diﬀerent types of informa)on representa)on. These idea)on eﬀorts may help teams to emphasize the importance of exis)ng representa)onal forms or to uncover valuable opportuni)es for representa)on‐ al innova)on. Concep)ng focused on representa)on can also allow teams to consider meaningful extensions and interac)ve transforma)ons of certain informa)on displays, with the goal of further tailoring them toward meaningful ways of thinking and ac)ng. The central no)on of this category is most closely related to the “Exploring work media)on and determining scope” (A), “Deﬁning interac)on objects” (B), “Facilita)ng communica)on” (J), and “Aiming for aesthe)c user experiences” (L) categories.
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | F. ENHANCING INFORMATION REPRESENTATION WORKING THROUGH SCREENSF1. Coordinated Representational Elements 71Elements within and between information representations can What mental transformations and artifactual alignments dohave coordinated facets, reducing efforts that would otherwise knowledge workers frequently employ in order to manipulatebe needed to usefully bring them into alignment as part of information in goal directed ways? What concepts might yourcertain operations or larger tasks. Product teams can envision team generate to implicitly coordinate certain meaningfullycoordinations that could transform effortful mental work into related elements in your sketched information representations?visual judgments and direct manipulations of interrelated How might individuals create their own coordinations in theexternal artifacts. context of your computing tool while performing targeted work practices?Examples from three knowledge work domains: More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons A scien)st intui)vely transforms a view of clinical data in her analysis applica)on. for knowledge work: She gives no considera)on to the elegant means by which each transforma)on stays Clinical in synch with other onscreen views, saving her the eﬀort of having to think through Scientist What coordina)ons within and between informa)on representa)ons, or between and manually navigate these rela)onships (see illustra(on). certain representa)ons and their larger contexts, do people currently use as part An architect ﬁnds it easy to use printouts from her building modeling applica)on of the work prac)ces that your team is striving to mediate? in conjunc)on with the same building model on her screen. Both the printed and What value do current coordina)ons provide to targeted individuals and organiza‐ onscreen versions provide the same aligning features, allowing for quick orienta)on )ons? What func)onal role do these exis)ng alignments play? What problems do and comparison. they solve? A ﬁnancial trader views informa)on in his trading applica)on and his market infor‐ Which coordina)ons have become established elements of rou)ne opera)ons ma)on applica)on at the same )me. He changes the date ranges in each tool to the and larger tasks? Which are typically more impromptu and variable? same interval so that he can “eyeball” rela)onships between the displays. What issues can arise due to representa)onal discoordina)ons? Could these As human beings, we are skilled at making use of and construc)ng the world around problems present opportuni)es for your team’s product?us to enhance our ability to perform complex mental ac)vi)es (A). Using these skills, Which exis)ng coordina)ons will probably not be necessary in the context of your knowledge workers oken come to understand how diﬀerent types of informa)on compu)ng tool? Which might become more important?representa)ons “ﬁt” together (B1, F1), providing opportuni)es to reduce eﬀort (E) and aZen)onal demands (D) in their work. How might your team incorporate the valuable intents behind exis)ng coordina)ons into your sketched applica)on concepts? What characteris)cs of earlier representa‐While people must themselves make coordina)ons a useful reality in their own prac‐ )onal forms and interac)ons could be meaningfully preserved in your product?)ces (A6, A7, A8), product teams can envision how their interac)ve applica)ons might What new coordina)ons might you envision to oﬄoad eﬀort and clarify rela)on‐promote speciﬁc threads of meaningful representa)onal connec)on. These coordina‐ ships in the context of your sketched func)onality oﬀerings?)ons can transform work by modifying or removing speciﬁc mental transforma)ons (D2), changing the nature of, or poten)ally elimina)ng, en)re opera)ons or larger What interac)on and visual design responses could draw aZen)on to and perceptu‐tasks. In addi)on to reducing individuals’ workloads in valuable ways, clear represen‐ ally enhance certain coordina)ons?ta)onal coordina)ons can also enhance communica)on and collabora)on (C7, G4, J2). Aker extensive use, workers may become so accustomed to certain facets being How might your applica)on concepts present “by design” layout consistencies that coordinated that these rela)onships may fade from thought, even as valuable linkages users could intui)vely act within, rather than having to consciously expend eﬀort are frequently exploited (D4, D7). in order to align certain representa)onal facets? How might workers create their own representa)onal coordia)ons by rearranging When product teams do not ac)vely consider how speciﬁc elements of informa)on or reclassifying informa)on within your applica)on concepts?representa)ons might be coordinated inside and around their sketched applica)on concepts, opportuni)es to support or posi)vely transform the nature of certain work How could the outputs of your team’s compu)ng tool retain useful alignments with prac)ces can be lost. When teams overlook coordina)ons that are currently in use, onscreen instan)a)ons of the same stored content?workers may ﬁnd resul)ng tools to be disrup)ve and frustra)ng, crea)ng new eﬀorts How might representa)onal coordina)ons play a role in targeted worker’s coopera‐that were not previously necessary (D3, F11). Teams may also overlook opportuni)es )on, collabora)on, and communica)on prac)ces?for novel coordina)ons with other elements in workers’ representa)onal environs (A1), whether internally, within a product’s own func)onali)es, (C4, F9) or externally, Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning with other ar)facts, both onscreen and oﬀ. ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?See also: B3, F, G5, I, J6, J7, K5, K6, K13
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | F. ENHANCING INFORMATION REPRESENTATION WORKING THROUGH SCREENSF2. Established Genres of Information Representation 72Knowledge workers reuse established representational formats What central and long standing representational genres doto create new meaning in a shared interpretive context and knowledge workers commonly recreate, derive meaning from,to valuably deﬁne boundaries for their efforts. Product teams and collaborate around as part of targeted work practices?can envision concepts for how these existing genres could How might your team incorporate and advance these valuedbe recreated, reinterpreted, and usefully extended in their formats within your application concepts?interactive applications. More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons Examples from three knowledge work domains: for knowledge work: A ﬁnancial trader oken says that he knows trade forms beZer than he knows “his How have established genres of representa)on evolved over )me in the tasks own name.” He has used various forms at the diﬀerent ﬁrms where he has worked, and larger ac)vi)es that your team is striving to mediate? though all of them have had the same essen)al organiza)on and format Financial How, speciﬁcally, do people use these known representa)ons? How do deﬁned (see illustra(on). Trader formats scope and shape workers’ eﬀorts? An architect uses her building modeling applica)on to generate the types of draw‐ What do targeted individuals and their organiza)ons think of their standard ings that are tradi)onally expected as architectural outputs. While she used to labor informa)on designs? What beneﬁts are these genres seen as providing? over the plans themselves, her team now spends more )me focusing on diﬀerent views of a comprehensive virtual model, from which drawings can be generated. Do targeted workers view established formats as essen)ally immutable or are they open to extending them based on emergent needs and design possibili)es? A scien)st views the gene)c expression data from a large series of clinical experi‐ ments in her analysis applica)on. The data is displayed in a “heat plot,” which she What errors and misinterpreta)ons can commonly be traced back to the is very familiar with aker having seen similar visuals in research publica)ons. characteris)cs of established representa)ons? Could these problems present opportuni)es for your team’s product?Knowledge workers can become highly skilled at making use of informa)on representa‐)ons that have become standards within their own prac)ces, their organiza)ons, and How might the onscreen representa)ons of your envisioned interac)on objects their larger professions (A, B1). While the evolu)on of some representa)onal genres directly reference any established informa)on ar)facts that you have derived can have fairly long historical trajectories, other established formats may have been them from?rela)vely ﬁxed and unwavering since they ﬁrst appeared in workers’ eﬀorts. The term How could preserving exis)ng informa)on designs help workers apply their exis)ng genre itself implies a certain vagueness in par)culars, and named types of informa)on skills and decrease their learning eﬀorts during the adop)on of a new product? representa)on may hold diverse varia)ons that workers recognize as having Where might a change in format provide suﬃcient value to jus)fy addi)onal eﬀort a familial “sameness.” on the part of users?Product teams can envision func)onality concepts that usefully incorporate extant Which exis)ng representa)onal genres could be translated into your sketched representa)onal formats. These established genres can be extended within compu)ng applica)on concepts fairly directly? Which might require extension or modiﬁca)on tools to support known varia)ons in workers’ goals and approaches (A6, A7, A8), new in order to eﬀec)vely make the transi)on into your compu)ng tool?coordina)ons with other representa)ons (F1), explora)on of poten)al outcomes (H), How might your team’s adapta)ons of common representa)onal genres provide integral communica)on (J1) and collabora)on (C7, G4, J4), and long term, users with new opportuni)es for useful coordina)ons, view transforma)ons, organiza)onal memory (E1, I7). interac)ve explora)ons, integral communica)on, onscreen collabora)on, and organiza)onal memory?When product teams do not suﬃciently consider the poten)al importance of estab‐lished genres of informa)on representa)on in their applica)on concepts, knowledge How might certain interac)ons with known displays of meaningful content promote workers may not recognize resul)ng oﬀerings as being relevant for their own goals, emo)onal responses that are conducive to aZen)ve, focused thinking?methods, and roles (K3, L3). Unconsidered re‐representa)on of familiar content may lead to a certain type of deskilling (E6). Without familiar displays of commonly refer‐ How might exis)ng genres serve as an inspira)onal reference for envisioning other, enced informa)on objects, users may ﬁnd compu)ng tools to be excessively eﬀortul seemingly unrelated func)onality concepts?to learn and use (D2, D3, K2, K6). What impact might the reuse of known representa)ons have on design strategy and brand? What could it mean, in a bigger picture sense, to “conserva)vely advance” Conversely, the tendency for direct, literal transla)on of established oﬄine genres can knowledge work in your targeted markets?prevent product teams from considering how novel onscreen extensions or alternate representa)ons of content (F3, F11) might beZer meet workers’ goals. Do you have enough informa)on to usefully answer these and other envisioning ques)ons? What addi)onal research, problem space models, and design See also: B3, E, F, G2, I, J2, L concep)ng could valuably inform your team’s applicaon envisioning eﬀorts?
100 APPLICATION ENVISIONING IDEAS | F. ENHANCING INFORMATION REPRESENTATION WORKING THROUGH SCREENSF3. Novel Information Representations 73Interactive applications can aggregate and display stored data How might any deﬁciencies in current information representa-in new ways that are highly useful and meaningful in knowledge tions suggest opportunities for representing application contentwork. Within their broader ideas about the advancement of in new ways? What compelling opportunities for representa-targeted work practices, product teams can identify and explore tional redesign can be found in your team’s sketched functional-potential opportunities for new representations of information. ity concepts? What might these new displays look like, and how could they provide sufﬁcient value to justify knowledge workersExamples from three knowledge work domains: learning to use them? An architect uses a special view in her building modeling applica)on to see what More speciﬁc ques)ons for product teams to consider while envisioning applica)ons changes have been made to a project over )me. The view colors regions of the for knowledge work: building model based on how frequently they have been modiﬁed. It also provides a )meline slider that allows her to navigate through diﬀerent versions of the design (see illustra(on). Architect What exis)ng informa)on representa)ons currently lead to breakdowns in the work prac)ces that your team is striving to mediate? Could these problems present A scien)st ﬁnds that her analysis applica)on includes both representa)ons that are opportuni)es for your product? common to her clinical research ﬁeld and interes)ng new visualiza)ons that she is Which established representa)ons may not translate well into your applica)on not familiar with. Aker “ﬁlling” the new representa)ons with recent data from her concepts or, more generally, a computer screen? lab, she immediately sees their relevance to her work. Which novel work situa)ons within your sketched func)onality concepts could be A ﬁnancial trader uses a new interac)ve graphic in his market informa)on applica‐ made clearer, less eﬀortul, less prone to error, and otherwise more eﬀec)ve with )on to view advancing and declining market sectors.