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YAPC Europe: The neuroscience beyond the usability



One of the fields that can be successfully applied to usability testing is neuroscience, which can be used in conducting long-term analyses on what a website’s usability would pose. I will explain how the human brain is implicated in each process used in usability.

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YAPC Europe: The neuroscience beyond the usability

  1. 1. T H E N E U R O S C I E N C E B E Y O N D T H E U S A B I L I T Y YA P C E U R O P E , 2 4 - 2 6 A U G U S T 2 0 1 6 , C L U J - N A P O C A
  2. 2. W H O A M I ? Andreea Popescu usability specialist @Evozon (Testing Department) speaker and volunteer Cluj-Napoca based andreeazpopescu @andreea _popescu
  3. 3. T H E P R O B L E M T H E S O L U T I O N … Users think that it’s their fault if they do not know how to use a software program.
  4. 4. … U S A B I L I T Y ?
  5. 5. reactions patterns constructions emotions collecting information perceptions stories reading memories attention learning understanding representations having choices belonging rewarding
  6. 6. W H Y N E U R O S C I E N C E ?
  7. 7. – J O H N N Y A P P L E S E E D ( A M E R I C A N N E U R O L O G I S T ) “Neuroscience is by far the most exciting branch of science because the brain is the most fascinating object in the Universe. Every human brain is different - the brain makes each human unique and defines who he or she is.”
  8. 8. – D R . S U Z A N A H E R C U L A N O - H O U Z E L “We found that on average the human brain has 86bn neurones [nerve cell that is the basic building block of the nervous system]. And not one [of the brains] that we looked at so far has the 100bn."
  9. 9. H O W D O Y O U T H I N K T H E B R A I N W O R K S ?
  10. 10. H AV I N G PAT T E R N S • both on Web and day by day, the human brain tries to predict the future (of an activity) based on memory patterns. • patterns activate predictions and stimulates neurones (e.g. stimulates dopamine or happiness hormone, one of the main neurotransmitters). • e.g. use grouping and white space.
  11. 11. L E T T H E M C H O O S E • The Paradox of Choice: why more is less. • too many options (for activities) for choosing activity create ‘noise’ in the brain, that is mentally exhausting. • e.g. 1: user activities: it’s necessary an ‘undo’ option or a pop-up to signal the activity the user will make. • e.g. 2: user choosing: personalisation/ customisation for different type of users/activities/ etc.
  12. 12. AT T E N T I O N & L E A R N I N G • prefrontal cortex: not paying attention to unnecessary information —> cortical flaw has been exacerbated by modernity —> too much information. • working memory has limits —> to not have too many elements to remember on page (5-6 major elements).
  13. 13. R E A D I N G P R O C E S S • language, text processing skills and abilities are governed (for almost 97% of people) by the brain’s left hemisphere. • the brain is “programmed” to brea the words into letters —> shapes —> patterns —> think in pictures. • e.g. a reason to choose the left alignment of your information (not applied for cultural impact).
  14. 14. V I S U A L E L E M E N T S • 24 basic shapes (Irving Bierderman) —> identify objects. • the eyes communicate to brain what they see in 2D objects. • 3D elements are slowing down the recognition process and even the comprehension. • visual cortex: do not use decorative fonts, because it’s harder for the brain to find shapes in them.
  15. 15. C U LT U R A L A D A P TAT I O N • making usability for multiple cultures and geographical regions needs research of cultural impact. • e.g. MRI (study by Sharon Begle): • Asians: areas that process figure-ground relations-holistic context (background and context in a Website); • Americans: activity in regions that recognize objects. (shapes).
  16. 16. S T O R I E S vision and text processing (read) the auditory part of the new brain that deciphers sound (told) all the vision parts of the brain (to imagine the characters) the emotional part of the mid brain
  17. 17. – D R . D AV I D E A G L E M A N “Every single neuron in the brain is complicated as New York city.”
  18. 18. R E S O U R C E S • “Your Brain Is You” (online course), David Eagleman • “Neuro Web Design: What Makes Them Click”, Susan M. Weinschenk, 2009 • “Human Computer Interaction, 3rd Ed.”, Alan Dix & co., 2004 • “Fundamental Neuroscience, 3rd Ed.”, Larry R. Squire & co., 2008 • “Interaction Design: Beyond Human Computer Interaction”, Jennifer Preece, 2002 • “Neuroscience, 3rd Ed.”, Dale Purves & co., 2004 • “Don’t Make Me Think”, Steve Krug, 2006 • “How We Decide”, Johan Lehler, 2009
  19. 19. Q U E S T I O N S ?
  20. 20. T H A N K Y O U !

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