Class summary: Day 4, Jan 23

23 Jan

We started class with this list of important definitions and I asked you to process them into a visual representation that shows the relationships between all these concepts.

We then looked at the slides below and had a discussion about “design.” Remember that:

  • in UCD, design is more of an engineering than an art practice. It is not concerned only with painting a pretty interface on top of an existing product, but with creating the structure and the features of the product as well.
  • the goals of UCD are both Usability AND Delight – see the UX cake (full desktop calendar available)
  • We achieve the goals of UCD by following the UCD process:
    1. Requirements analysis – understand the problem, the client, the users
    2. Conceptual design – create solutions, test them
    3. Production
    4. Evaluation

We keep the user at the center of the UCD process by getting continuous feedback through research and evaluation.

  • Affordance is a fundamental process. It is how an item communicates what it can be used for.
  • Mental models are existing mental explanations about how products work.
  • Both affordance and mental models are very important for making a product “intuitive” – aka easy to learn. Affordances help because they communicate quickly how the product can be used. Mental models help because they enable users to figure out how something new works by referring to something they already know (an existing mental model). Think about how Skype relies on the mental model of the telephone to make itself understood to new users.

You then started experimenting with the UCD process by collecting requirements to inform the redesign of the R&R template on Google Docs.


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