Reading Commentary (4/25)

The participatory design amnesia study was certainly an interesting idea.  In addition to addressing the issue of designing and testing for a “disabled” population, one of the things that it highlighted for me is the difficulty in trying to design something with a goal of making lives safer.  The problem that was outlined was how can you test to see if an intervention technique or device is truly helping a human “be safe” if they cannot test that human in a “dangerous” situation.  It was also interesting to note how quickly technologies are now becoming anachronistic.  While this study is less than 10 years old, the use of the Palm pilot (as opposed to a smart phone) makes the study seem almost ancient.  IT certainly supports the Kurzweillian theory that the rate technological innovation is expanding at an exponential rate and the curve itself is getting exponentially steeper.

The Sears/Hansen paper (Wasn’t Sears at UMBC at some point in his career?), further emphasizes the issue of testing a system designed for users of unique or specific talents and/or abilities. It also talks about, what I am discovering from Dr. Kuber’s Assistive and Rehabilitative Technology course this semester, is the major problem of getting enough of a representative population to have a decent sample size.  May of the studies that we are reviewing for that class have representative population participants for their studies in the single digits, which I always assumed is too small.  It was interesting to read of their assessment of using non-representative users in the preliminary evaluations as one way to attempt to at least partially address this problem.


Inspirtational musing: Cool brainstorming app

While doing the Get Random Input brainstorming method we used this cool iPad app (apparently also available for Android).  It is called “Create-O-Mat” and it generates three random words that you are then supposed to be creative with.  I have actually  had this app on my device for over a year and have never found a practical use for it…until now

Thoughts on the Reading 04/18

The Indexed State Transition Diagram (the one that combines low-fidelity diagrams with really low fidelity diagrams, seems like it could work really well if the environment was “hyper-linkable”.  That way the really low fidelity screen can be shown and maybe with a click or a hover, the higher fidelity version could be displayed.

What is the difference between the diagrams that are discussed here and the diagrams that are a product of use cases in system design (I forget the name)

In presentation theory, we emphasize the need for you presentation to be a narrative or story.  Whether you are presenting to pitch a product/service or an idea or whether your primary goal is to inform, your content and your delivery must flow and follow itself.  My students often say that, for classroom presentations that are just supposed to regurgitate information the principle of  story is difficult to achieve or even not applicable. The discussion of the Narrative Story board is a great tool that I could use to attempt to counter that argument.

I am truly happy that I read the animating the user experience.  I am excited to try some of this out as this falls in to one of my areas of expertise.  Little is written about slideware in HCI circles so it was reaffirming to see a textbook suggest things that I suggest which I obtained simply through experience.  (i.e. The positioning of objects at the same coordinates in stack space as to not break the illusion that one is animating the same object.)  There are so extensions that I can see from knowing the software that the book did not do into detail on that I can try.  For example, the “lowest common denominator” slide can be done by placing the “LCD” objects in PowerPoint’s Slide Master.  Each slide that is an instantiation of that master will have the “LCD” elements in the same location and, because they would be part of the slide background on the instantiated slide, they would not be clickable or editable elements so it would be impossible to move them, even by accident.  Another is to utilize the ability to place things in a digitally specific position. Once that position is known, all one needs to do is define the position of any element that must occupy the same stack space can be assured of occupying that space by defined its digital coordinates to be the same as those of the original object.

The animation chapter also gives me some great content ideas for creating and instructing upon the design of “technical” presentations.  Motion paths are such a great tool that no one seems to know about…well…other than this author.  This is so much fun reading!  Hyperlinks and Action buttons!  This is a dream chapter!