Tag Archive for user errors

Error Opportunity Space

Confronted with one “True or False” question, an individual has a very small error opportunity space: three. There are three possible responses: true, false, or no answer. “No answer” will always be wrong, a betting man should choose one of the possible answers. But unfortunately situations where the error opportunity space is so narrow are rare. And in the real world, dealing with real problems, these spaces tend to be very large. Note that the size of the error opportunity space, EOS, makes no representations about the consequences of getting the problem right or wrong (or partially right or wrong). When the stock market tanked on May 7th, people involved in that process had a very large EOS. A week out, experts and participants are trying to figure out what went wrong and how to limit similar incidents in the future—they are trying, in effect, to drastically reduce the error opportunity space. This is a job of product designers. By analyzing the goals of the users and the system’s constraining variables, we can come up with conceptual design, interaction design, and interface design that would address the problems that were exposed on May 7th. Coming up with a solution is…

The Anatomy of Failure

On May 7th 2010, at around 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time, the stock market went on a wild ride, dropping over 900 points in matter of just minutes. What happened? There’s lot’s of speculation, and some know more then they are willing to say. But what’s clear is that there was just the right confluence of world events, human and computer errors, and system-wide communication breakdown that triggered a mass sell-off of stocks at fantastic prices. In other words, there was a catastrophic failure during product interaction. I’m not an investment analyst and have limited knowledge in this subject area, but I am interested in product failure. So Thursday’s stock market episode was very interesting. Here’s a little background on the events of that day broken down into steps leading to the failure. Step 1: When the New York stock market opened on Thursday, bad news was streaming in from Europe—there were fears that Greece would ultimately default on its loans; its people were staging massive demonstrations in Athens; Euro was going down. Step 2: In our very interconnected world, this kind of news makes investors skittish and the stock market was dropping value all morning. Step 3: At around 2:45…

Imagining the future of technology—Brain Power.

Article: BBC Staff. (2008). “Imagining the future of technology—Brain Power.” BBC News. Visited on 10 September 2008 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7660928.stm The article asks the question: Can we ever expect computers to emulate the achievements of human intelligence? There are two obstacles to overcome in order to achieve this; first, advances in hardware must be made so that computers may be powerful enough to simulate the working of the brain and secondly, we need to be able to program them to do so. In order to better understand the working of the human brain, scientists around the world have utilized processing power of supercomputers in parallel to developed various computational brain models. Some model capture a high degree of detail, modeling the brain on a neuron by neuron basis while others work on the assumption that interesting phenomena occur at the network level and therefore model large numbers of simpler neurons. Once validated by observation, the brain model can be used to explore the effects of altered molecular or genetic information. While researchers have a long way to go in understanding the human brain, progress is being made with respect to understanding brain subsystems and distinct functionality such as learning and vision. Information on…