Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Learning Log #3: Knowledge and knowing what to do

Norman describes the importance of the behaviors of knowledge and the constraints people have with knowledge they know. It makes me think of these behaviors of information in the world, great precision is not required, natural constraints are present, and cultural constraints are presents; at a closer view. I understand information in the world as habitual things humans do everyday because we no longer need to think about how to do something, but end up just doing it. The example of typing on a keyboard is a great one because at first you have to learn it, but it becomes so habitual, you don’t need to think about it. Once a person knows how to do that task, great precision is not required anymore. It becomes a non-thinking task and people just do it rather than think about it. The constraints of the keyboard are where you put your fingers. When you are first taught how to type your left hand has you put your fingers on letter, A, S, D, and F and your right hand on J, K, L and ; sign. This is a constraint because your fingers only press letters that are near to your hand’s starting point. The cultural constraints are the different keyboards used throughout the world. The keyboard is setup differently in different parts of the world. Constraints are necessary in all interface designs for people to figure out how to use them. The lego toy was a great example because the pieces had constraints of how to put it today such as, pieces not fitting together right. This should apply to more appliances. I remember trying to setup my desk. The desk came all apart in about 10 pieces. The pieces didn’t really fit together and there were about 3 different kinds of screws. It made it impossible to even begin how to put it together.

I found the light switch idea to make a room layout switch device to know exactly what lights to turn on was very clever. 3 or more switches gets me confused if they look all similar and are in a row, you don’t know which light goes to the actual light to turn it on. I mean I don’t think I would have to go as far as doing the exact room layout to figure out the light switches, but maybe if they were colored coated or numbered, it would be better than them looking all the same.

Knowledge and knowing things is definitely a key point in knowing how to do something, but the constraints to eliminate other possibilities in doing something is important too.

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