Posts Tagged ‘ information scent ’

Class notes F14 – Week 4: Fundamental principles part 2 of 3

We moved from visual perception and attention to issues related to cognition – specifically, memory and learning.

It should be clear by now that largely, what makes an interface intuitive is its ease of learning. The following concepts are important when it comes to ease of learning:

Here’s Don Norman explaining affordances in less than 2 minutes:

All these things we know about visual perception and cognition are at the root of most guidelines for usable interface design. One of the most famous set of guidelines is Nielsen’s 10 heuristics, which we worked with in class. These heuristics can be used to inspect interfaces in a method called heuristic evaluation, which you will read about for next class.

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Class notes: User cognition

Today in class we talked about:

  1. mental models, as defined by Cooper. It is important to remember the distinctions between user, system/impementation, and represented model, as well as the relationships with them. What are the implications? How does understanding mental models help you create better interfaces? Blog post idea: Find an example of a good/bad represented model.
  2. theories that explain how users find information online – it is important to remember there are several explanations, but that the most popular theory is information foraging theory, developed in 1995 by Pirolli & Card. Some important aspects to remember:
    • assumptions about rationality: bounded rationality/satisficing
    • assumptions about human behavior: maximize benefits, minimize cost, preserve energy
    • explanations about information searching behavior: foraging
    • key concept: information scent. Blog post idea: Find examples of weak/strong information scent.
  3. the use of usability principles for heuristic evaluation – which leads into the presentations for the next two weeks.

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