Topic: Human Computer Interaction

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  • Productivity and Screen Size

    October 23, 2006

    A study of the benefits of big monitors fails on two accounts: it didn't test realistic tasks, and it didn't test realistic use. Productivity is a key argument for workplace usability, but you must measure it carefully.

    Open New Windows for PDF and other Non-Web Documents

    August 29, 2005

    When using PC-native file formats such as PDF or spreadsheets, users feel like they're interacting with a PC application. Because users are no longer browsing a website, they shouldn't be given a browser UI.

    Remote Control Anarchy

    June 7, 2004

    The 6 remote controls required for a simple home theater illustrate the problems caused by complexity and inconsistency in user interfaces.

    30 Years With Computers

    May 24, 2004

    Since I started using computers, they've become almost a million times more powerful. Although big computers can be alienating, their evolution generally leads to a better user experience.

    Time to Make Tech Work

    September 15, 2003

    The IT industry is maturing. Hopefully, this maturity will result in a slower introduction of new features, which in turn will let companies focus their attention and resources on making existing technology work better for users.

    Alternative Interfaces for Accessibility

    April 7, 2003

    The key difference between user interfaces for sighted users and blind users is not that between graphics and text; it's the difference between 2-D and 1-D. Optimal usability for users with disabilities requires new approaches and new user interfaces.

    Voice Interfaces: Assessing the Potential

    January 27, 2003

    Visual interfaces are inherently superior to auditory interfaces for many tasks. The Star Trek fantasy of speaking to your computer is not the most fruitful path to usable systems.

    In the Future, We'll All Be Harry Potter

    December 9, 2002

    The world of magic is a world where inanimate objects come alive; it's as if they had computational power, sensors, awareness, and connectivity.

    Making the Physical Environment Interactive

    August 5, 2002

    Tiny motors and sensors will make physical objects interactive and create a renaissance for gestural user interfaces. As interface design moves from the screen to the material world, the need for simple, easy to use designs will only increase.

    Top Research Laboratories in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)

    March 31, 2002

    A core group of elite corporate research labs (and a few universities) defined the field of human-computer interaction and established much of whatever ease of use we now enjoy. With big labs disappearing, the future of HCI research is in jeopardy.

    Avoiding Commodity Status

    February 3, 2002

    PCs do not need to be commodities: a focus on quality can differentiate both products and services. Software has great potential for getting better, as shown by an under-appreciated feature in Windows XP that can save users $2,000 per year.

    Stationary Mobility

    March 18, 2001

    Mobile Internet access will free us from having to connect appliances to telephone jacks and will make smart devices much easier to install. In fact, they may not need a user interface at all, as exemplified by the Japanese i-pot.

    Security & Human Factors

    November 26, 2000

    A big lie of computer security is that security improves as password complexity increases. In reality, users simply write down difficult passwords, leaving the system vulnerable. Security is better increased by designing for how people actually behave.

    Why Doc Searls Doesn't Sell Any Books

    August 6, 2000

    Changing to a new fulfillment provider caused a website to lose all sales. Reason: lower usability. In the future, reputation managers and web wallets will even the playing field and remove Amazon's temporary advantage as the fulfillment provider of choice.

    2D is Better Than 3D

    November 15, 1998

    People are not frogs, making it difficult to navigate 3D computer spaces: stick to 2D for most navigation designs. Shun virtual reality gimmicks that distract from users' goals

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