The Design of Technologies

So far I have written about what my expectations at this course are, however, how should I practice interaction design, what does it really mean? According to Don Norman (2013) interaction design can be understood as “Interaction design: The focus is upon how people interact with technology. The goal is to enhance people’s understanding of what can be done, what is happening, and what has just occurred. (Norman, 2013, p. 5) However, to focus upon how people interact with technology, we should also be able to unfold how people might interact with the technology. This is done through discoverability, which results from the application of the psychological concepts of; affordances, signifiers, constraints, mappings, and feedback, and lastly the sixth principle the conceptual model, which provides the true understanding (Norman, 2013).

To investigate the above concepts through going through an example of a challenge I have had when trying to watch Netflix using Apple TV vs. using Google Chrome Cast using the terms. Firstly, both Apple TV and Chrome cast is using the opportunity of the affordances that my ipad withholds, the possibility to use the touch screen and few buttons. Moreover, when entering Netflix application trying to connect, the buttons that signifies to connect are very similar to one another; therefore it was hard to differentiate for me in the beginning. The place where Apple TV does not work very well in my opinion, is the lack of feedback. The lack of feedback occurs when the connection fails to work immediately; therefore the Apple TV has its constraints, as there is no other option than waiting for it to work. There is no sign of it working at all if the connection is slow. While on the other hand when using Chrome Cast, the feedback is immediate, which is somewhat what modern systems try to provide, that the user gets feedback within 0.1 second of any operation, to create the reassurance that the request is received and there is an output of the input (Norman, 2013). Whether it is the conceptual model of the Chrome Cast that have a better explanatory model of how it works or it is the lack of feedback of the Apple TV that sometimes made me wonder if it was broken is hard to say. But, when that is said, I chose to go forward with chromecast as I never get the feeling of it being broken. As stated by Norman (2013) that “Technology offers the potential to make life easier and more enjoyable; each new technology provides increased benefits. At the same time, added complexities increase our difficulty and frustration with technology” (Norman, 2013, p. 32). If technologies are made more enjoyable and easier by removing some of the complexities, this might include a lack of feedback. Therefore I believe that a designer also should keep in mind the failpoints that could occur in the process and create a more natural mapping, even if it is just a lack of Internet connection.

References

Norman, Donald A (2013). The design of everyday things: Revised and expanded edition. Basic books. Ch. 1,2,3.