Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Part 2 of Learning Log #1

I paid particular attention to the everyday things I use throughout the day. It became clear to me that there are many object that have all these crazy buttons on them and I use only a few of them and the rest become just like the "R" button on British telephone that no one actually knows what it's used for (DOET, pg 21). This is talking about the importance of making things visible. It says the more buttons on an object with less functions, makes it harder for the user to understand.

There are multiple functions on my printer. It is a fax machine, a printer, a copier, and a scanner. I think I have used only the copier and the printer. I have no idea how to use the fax machine. I have to scroll through the screen with the up and down arrows to change from printer, copier, scanner, and fax machine. I believe it would be easier if there were separate buttons for those. Even though it would create more buttons, the buttons would be easier to let the user know exactly what their function is. "The possible functions are visible, for each corresponds with a control (DOET, pg 22)". Norman says these become reminders to users so they exactly what the function is.

It made me laugh when I read about when Norman assigned a homework assignment for the class to design a new product with everything from an AM-FM radio to a desk or bed lamp (DOET, pg 31). This is my AM-FM radio, CD player, MP3 player, alarm clock, clock, and light stereo system. It does not have a telephone, TV, or coffee maker, but it reminds me a lot of his assignment and I have something already designed like it kind of, if you take out some unmanageable variables. This stereo system is still a bit confusing as an interface, because there are so many functions going on, but it's pretty well designed. I don't use all of the functions though and I think it would be overwhelming to know how to use them all. It's odd the designer chose to pair up a CD player and an MP3 player, since technology is moving towards more MP3s. I guess technology is evolving so fast that he included both. "It is true that as the number of options and capabilities of any device increases, so too must the number and complexity of the controls (DOET, pg 31)". An interface that begins to take on so many functions becomes more and more difficult to design well and efficiently for the user to comprehend.

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