Wednesday, September 23, 2009

User Analysis in HCI...Response

The main point of the paper was to imply the importance for a relationship to be established between user analyses and system designers, in order for designers to better understand the user’s thinking process’.  It was proposed in the paper that by explicitly mapping differences in individuals, designers could possibly better the interface characteristics for the individual’s information processing stages, which in turn could lead to better user ability. This form of bridging, of the intelligence and learning, through specific design interfaces, was discussed by Adams (1989), who believes that bridging contemporary experimentalists (how a psychological event occurs) and structure in task performance (what psychological factors are employed), could help the design of more user technologies.

One important variable that was suggested for designers to study when examining the psychological events and factor’s of users, was the examination of the users skill acquisitions.  In the paper, Ackerman (1987, 1988), proposed that skill acquisition’s occurs through three stages: cognitive, associative and automatic.  In addition, it was said that each of the components are influenced by different abilities that the users have.  The three stages, along with the memory ability of the user, are what help the process for learning when interacting with a design interface.

Most people can retain information when they can visually and physically memorize certain task.  I think of how the video game “Guitar Hero” has evolved into its own culture, as far as musical interfaces go.  With this particular game, knowledge of the guitar or selected music isn’t as important as the users ability to know which controls to hit at a given time. For most people who play this game, it’s the use of memory and learning of motor skills in the interface, not the actual knowledge of the guitar.  Actually, most people who play the game for the first time who play the guitar, are thrown off because they try to play based off of there intelligence of the instrument, not by learning and memorizing the controls of the interface.

One particular study in the paper that I found relevant to this was the study that Sein (et al 1993) did.  Sein examined visual abilities of individuals and was able to get people at a lower visibility rate to match those of the higher visibility when visualizing the system’s activities.  This was something that I thought was important to the performance of users when interacting with an interface. Sometimes depending on the users educational foundation or environment, studies of knowledge can be subjective, but when studies can focus on trying to connect user differences, along with finding ways to bridge the user-ability-gap, it seems that the interface is much more useful.  This decreasing of differences between users was stated important when trying to appropriate the interface design. 

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