Tag Archive for cognitive scaffolding

Special Preview: Disruptive Innovation

Needs-satisfaction Curve of a technology by D. A. Norman

Interaction-Design.org The folks from Interaction-Design.org have just completed their newest chapter: “Disruptive Innovation” by Clayton M. Christensen. This chapter is an excerpt from Dr. Christensen’s 1997 book “The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail,” published by Harvard Business Press. His newer book, “The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators,” published in 2011 on Kindle, is a follow up to the ideas in the first book and those expressed in the Interaction-Design.org chapter. Disruptive Innovation The main idea of this chapter can be summed up by Donald A. Norman’s graph (see below). This is a graph of product performance over time — think of “product” is its most expansive form. When the product is first introduced into the market, it might not be “ready for prime time”, as we say — meaning that the product is: difficult to use, or too expensive, or replacing a well-established way of doing things, or has a high learning curve: even difficult to use products can have a shallow learning curve that allows small accomplishments right away by novice users, or requires a large ecosystem of other products and services that are not widely available: think electric cars…

Emotional Scaffolding

Processing emotions takes time and energy. Part of the working memory is taken up by analyzing the emotional state of others, environmental stresses, personal feelings, and anxiety. Since working memory is an extremely limited resource, anything that takes up space there without our bidding (against our will) takes away from our ability to think through situations, to problem solve, and to make well-reasoned decisions. Instead of thinking, we are using up the working memory for processing emotions. Sometimes, emotions are just the right thing to focus on — to pay attention to. How does this painting makes me feel? Do I like this person? This music feels good… But if you are taking a math test, focusing on how much you really hate test-taking takes away from your ability to take the test. It is very common for individuals to “get” the subject matter, but fail the test. Some people are good at dealing with anxieties and some have trouble controlling their attention controls away from fretting. That’s one of the reason some educators are talking about doing away with summative assessments (final exams) in favor of continuous assessment (assessment as part of learning) — the on-going observation of students’…

Special Preview: Affective Computing

Pong Interface

Some 25 years ago, I came up with tiny application: each day, a person picks a color that represents his or her predominant emotional state; the collection of color moods are mapped onto a calendar and displayed as an animated film, summarizing the emotional life of person. It was simple and easy and very effective. And in some way, this was also part of the affective computing — computers that use emotion as part of HCI. [Note: This could and was done with watercolors as flip book some 40 years ago when I played in my art class in school.] Affective Computing, I feel, is only recently became part of the “vocabulary” of computer-based developers. When I first started working in this field, graphics were non-existent, thus Pong. In the early nineties, my business partner and I met with the president of Organic, a web design firm in San Francisco, who promptly informed us that his business had no need for Interaction or Interface Designers, that’s what graphic artists were for. Now, psychologists, sociologists, and sociologists are routinely hired by creative firms to help solve design problems. Times change! There are a lot of posts on emotional design on this…

Special Preview: Philosophy of Interaction and User Experience

A person uses a piece of software, a Web site, or any other product — “virtual” or “real” — to achieve a goal. The design of interaction with these products can either help or form obstacles that interfere with the realization of that goal. A product is easier to use when its interaction is designed to meet the needs of its intended audience. Product designers who consider those needs produce far more effective interaction solutions than those who base their designs on aesthetics or business needs alone. But how does one go about “considering” user needs and then come up with a design solution that works? Oscar Wilde famously said: The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple. Pure and Simple design is similarly rarely pure and never simple to develop. I my class, Cognitive tools for Product Designers, we explore what users bring to usability. We all arrive at the scene with different baggage — our experiences, education, perception, memory, and so on are unique to each of us. No two individuals interpret an experience in exactly the same way. While this sounds daunting, we shouldn’t give up on design all together. We all have some…

Thinking about the Science of Communication and Interaction

Alien Senses

In the Galaxy Far Far Away… What if sentient being evolved on a planet with permanent cloud cover? What if these being never saw stars? Would they still be able to discover the laws of nature? These kinds of hypothetical thinking questions — the Gedankan Experiments, as Einstein put it — are very useful in science. I’ll try to use them here for analyzing product design and communication. So what senses do we need to communicate? And what body appendages are necessary to produce this communication? Note that it helps keep track of these separately. Aroma-bet When I was little, I “designed” a language based on smell: each smell was assigned a character in an alphabet and, strung together in sequence, my smelly letters transcribed into words — the Aroma-bet. There were several problems with this: It was difficult to get an alphabet-worth of distinct odors; Arranged next to each other, the odors started to blend into each other, making “reading” difficult; I got a very bad headache; My mom didn’t like her expensive perfumes used in such a creative way… And I couldn’t remember what letter each smell stood for, requiring the creation of a smell-o-dictionary, which in turn…

Special Preview: Social Media by Thomas Erickson

Interfaces.com was given a free advanced preview of Thomas Erickson’s report and videos on social computing. The videos are very well produced and provide an interesting point of view and good insights on social media. Below are few of my notes based on the video content and ideas discussed on this blog in the past (my former students should find these familiar). Social Media Definitions & Ideas Social Computing: this is really about groups working together using ICT (Information Communication Technologies). I think this is a broader definition then the one offered by Thomas Erickson, as it includes all forms of ICT. Social Scaffolding: we all have a set of social scripts — culturally-specific, socially constructed norms of behavior — that help us navigate group interactions and allow for self-organization of crowds, at least shot-term and for a limited goal (like crossing the street). [Please watch Dr. Erickson’s example of street crossing in “Video 4.3: Social Computing video 3 – Face-to-face Interaction as Inspiration for Designing Social Computing Systems”.] Product design needs to create opportunities for social interaction — these scaffolds have to be built into the system: meeting spaces, places to sit down, well-lit areas, easy communication tools, games,…

Rewired Brain

Our kids have grown up in the world where computers were always present and always on. They can’t conceive of a time when they can be cut off from the Internet (vacations in the Internet-dead zones are definite no go). Our kids are the generation of fully-connected always-on Internet users. What about the kids that are born right now? Not the Millennials, as they are being called, but these babies born in the age of the iPad? The iTouch Babies? How are their brains being rewired from the experience of having the iPad as their first toy? Check out this video of a baby girl growing in the iTouch World.