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RE: [agile-usability] Learning a new UI

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  • Larry Constantine
    ... A few months ago I read a posting on this list which expressed something to the effect of (and I paraphrase as I cannot find the reference): good UI
    Message 1 of 17 , Dec 3, 2005
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      Tobias wrote:

      -----
      A few months ago I read a posting on this list which expressed something to
      the effect of (and I paraphrase as I cannot find the reference): good UI
      design is not necessarily instantly intuitive. Users need to be taught a new
      UI; the trick is to teach them only once. On second and subsequent uses the
      UI should be intuitive.

      Does anyone remember that thread, or perhaps have any comment to make on
      that concept now? Much obliged.
      -----

      Don't know the thread but what it is referring to is known as instructive
      interaction. So-called single-trial learning can be exploited to make novel
      UI designs self-teaching so user mastery is effectively immediate. The
      details of the anticipatory-learning model and the techniques of instructive
      interaction were explained in a 2002 paper in User Experience, 1(3). Send me
      an email off-list and I’ll forward a .PDF copy.

      The elevator-speech condensation is that the user must recognize novel
      elements as such, actively engage in anticipating (guessing) behavior, and
      immediately try out and confirm the anticipation. The result is stable
      persistent learning without further practice.

      --Larry Constantine, IDSA

      ________________________________________
      From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
      [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Tobias Mayer
      Sent: Saturday, 03 December 2005 10:36 AM
      To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [agile-usability] Learning a new UI

      A few months ago I read a posting on this list which expressed something to
      the effect of (and I paraphrase as I cannot find the reference):  good UI
      design is not necessarily instantly intuitive. Users need to be taught a new
      UI; the trick is to teach them only once.  On second and subsequent uses the
      UI should be intuitive.
       
      Does anyone remember that thread, or perhaps have any comment to make on
      that concept now?  Much obliged.
       
      Tobias
       

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    • Randy MacDonald
      ... This, I believe, was the rationale for the Dvorak keyboard, which probably means the issues aren t that simple. ... BSc(Math) UNBF 83 Sapere Aude |
      Message 2 of 17 , Dec 4, 2005
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        > But if you base your designs on this alone, is there not a danger that
        you may just
        > perpetuating existing second-rate design?  Just because
        we all know something,
        > and do it, doesn't mean there may not be a better way, wouldn't
        you agree?
         
        This, I believe, was the rationale for the Dvorak keyboard, which probably means the issues aren't that simple.
        -----------------------------------------------------------------------
        |\/| Randy A MacDonald             | you can't pay for it,
        |/\| ramacd@...            |       even if you want to.
        BSc(Math) UNBF'83 Sapere Aude      | APL: If you can say it, it's done..
        Natural Born APL'er                | Demo website: http://142.166.105.166/
        ----------------------------------------------------(INTP)----{ gnat }--
      • Jim Kauffman
        ... Several years ago I helped design a computerized version of a nation-wide academic test. We were tasked to deliberately design a UI that was unlike Windows
        Message 3 of 17 , Dec 4, 2005
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          > -----Original Message-----
          > From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
          > [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Larry
          > Constantine
          > Sent: Saturday, December 03, 2005 4:00 PM
          > To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
          > Subject: RE: [agile-usability] Learning a new UI
          >
          > The elevator-speech condensation is that the user must
          > recognize novel elements as such, actively engage in
          > anticipating (guessing) behavior, and immediately try out and
          > confirm the anticipation. The result is stable persistent
          > learning without further practice.

          Several years ago I helped design a computerized version of a nation-wide
          academic test. We were tasked to deliberately design a UI that was unlike
          Windows or the Mac UI, to avoid giving an advantage to participants who were
          computer-proficient. The test began with a sample session with an integrated
          tutorial, which gave extra assistance to users who were struggling to complete
          the sample tasks. The tutorial was mastery-based, so users could not go on to
          the test itself until they had demonstrated an acceptable mastery of the UI.


          Jim K.
        • shel kimen
          ... Mac UI That s fascinating. What happened with the test? Did you ever get any post-test feedback? ./s
          Message 4 of 17 , Dec 4, 2005
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            >>We were tasked to deliberately design a UI that was unlike Windows or the Mac UI

             

            That’s fascinating. What happened with the test? Did you ever get any post-test feedback?

             

            ./s

          • Larry Constantine
            ... were ... integrated ... complete ... to ... UI. Intriguing technique. It reminds me of an issue in testing novel designs. A team I have been working with
            Message 5 of 17 , Dec 4, 2005
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              Jim wrote:

              > Several years ago I helped design a computerized version of a nation-wide
              > academic test. We were tasked to deliberately design a UI that was unlike
              > Windows or the Mac UI, to avoid giving an advantage to participants who
              were
              > computer-proficient. The test began with a sample session with an
              integrated
              > tutorial, which gave extra assistance to users who were struggling to
              complete
              > the sample tasks. The tutorial was mastery-based, so users could not go on
              to
              > the test itself until they had demonstrated an acceptable mastery of the
              UI.

              Intriguing technique. It reminds me of an issue in testing novel designs. A
              team I have been working with devised some very novel and potentially highly
              efficient new interaction techniques for a production environment. No claim
              to intuitability is being made; the primary design driver is user efficiency
              and reliable interaction. The only way to reasonably test such features for
              usability is to pre-train users with the basic technique (keeping track of
              how much it takes to gain a certain proficiency) before testing in context.

              --Larry Constantine, IDSA
              > -----Original Message-----
              > From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
              [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
              > Of Jim Kauffman
              > Sent: Sunday, 04 December 2005 9:11 AM
              > To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
              > Subject: RE: [agile-usability] Learning a new UI
              >
              > > -----Original Message-----
              > > From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
              > > [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Larry
              > > Constantine
              > > Sent: Saturday, December 03, 2005 4:00 PM
              > > To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
              > > Subject: RE: [agile-usability] Learning a new UI
              > >
              > > The elevator-speech condensation is that the user must
              > > recognize novel elements as such, actively engage in
              > > anticipating (guessing) behavior, and immediately try out and
              > > confirm the anticipation. The result is stable persistent
              > > learning without further practice.
              >
              >
              >
              > Jim K.
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
            • Larry Constantine
              Randy wrote: ... may just ... something, ... This, I believe, was the rationale for the Dvorak keyboard, which probably means the issues aren t that simple.
              Message 6 of 17 , Dec 4, 2005
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                Randy wrote:
                =====
                > But if you base your designs on this alone, is there not a danger that you
                may just
                > perpetuating existing second-rate design? Just because we all know
                something,
                > and do it, doesn't mean there may not be a better way, wouldn't you agree?

                This, I believe, was the rationale for the Dvorak keyboard, which probably
                means the issues aren't that simple.
                =====

                Yes, well the Dvorak keyboard story so often cited is instructive in this
                regard. The Dvorak keyboard layout is indeed more efficient in the hands of
                a fully-trained user, but for most accomplished QWERTY typists, the very
                modest gain is not worth the massive hours of retraining to get back up to
                where they were. (As a 35 wpm hunt-and-peck typist in my 30s, I decided to
                learn touch typing. It took nearly 6 months for me to get up to the same
                speed without peeking.) Dvorak users also report difficulty when confronted
                with a QWERTY layout, which is far more common.

                The lesson is that we must always look at the big-picture systems
                implications, not just raw efficiency or instantaneous intuitability. My
                view as a designer is that non-standard designs need to be a LOT better AND
                easily learned to justify departing from well established convention,
                particularly where users have invested heavily in learning the old way.

                --Larry Constantine, IDSA
              • Jim Kauffman
                No, we weren t given any feedback, but the high school students who tried the UI rated it easy to learn and use . One out of ten participants had some trouble
                Message 7 of 17 , Dec 4, 2005
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                  No, we weren't given any feedback, but the high school students who tried the UI rated it "easy to learn and use". One out of ten participants had some trouble with it, but she had never used a computer or played a video game. Unfortunately, her verdict was "it's easy to use--I'm just stupid."
                   
                  Jim K.


                  From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of shel kimen
                  Sent: Sunday, December 04, 2005 9:34 AM
                  To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: RE: [agile-usability] Learning a new UI

                  >>We were tasked to deliberately design a UI that was unlike Windows or the Mac UI

                   

                  That’s fascinating. What happened with the test? Did you ever get any post-test feedback?

                   

                • shel kimen
                  ... Ouch. I mean, really. Makes me so sad. Anyway, thanks for the story. ./s
                  Message 8 of 17 , Dec 4, 2005
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                    >>Unfortunately, her verdict was "it's easy to use--I'm just stupid."

                     

                    Ouch. I mean, really. Makes me so sad. Anyway, thanks for the story. ./s

                     

                     

                  • Jeff Patton
                    ... that you ... know ... you agree? ... probably ... in this ... hands of ... very ... back up to ... This seems similar in direction to an article in UX
                    Message 9 of 17 , Dec 7, 2005
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                      --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Larry Constantine"
                      <lconstantine@f...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Randy wrote:
                      > =====
                      > > But if you base your designs on this alone, is there not a danger
                      that you
                      > may just
                      > > perpetuating existing second-rate design? Just because we all
                      know
                      > something,
                      > > and do it, doesn't mean there may not be a better way, wouldn't
                      you agree?
                      >
                      > This, I believe, was the rationale for the Dvorak keyboard, which
                      probably
                      > means the issues aren't that simple.
                      > =====
                      >
                      > Yes, well the Dvorak keyboard story so often cited is instructive
                      in this
                      > regard. The Dvorak keyboard layout is indeed more efficient in the
                      hands of
                      > a fully-trained user, but for most accomplished QWERTY typists, the
                      very
                      > modest gain is not worth the massive hours of retraining to get
                      back up to
                      > where they were.....

                      This seems similar in direction to an article in UX magazine [volume
                      4, issue 4] I just received. The article was on "how financial
                      markets value user experience" and explained a simple model for
                      change adoption. Change liklihood = f(crisis vs. perceived pain of
                      adoption).

                      It's not /exactly/ the same thing - but it seems a simple idea to
                      keep in mind when proposing any new and better way of doing anything:
                      The person using the new thing will likely evaluate the
                      cost/annoyance of learning a new thing [pain of adoption] against the
                      cost/annoyance of using something familiar [crisis]. If the current
                      crisis is high, you can expect users will be more willing to learn.
                      With the QUERTY vs. DVORAK thing, the current "crisis" just isn't
                      compelling enough to justify change.

                      Back to Tobias' original question/comment: "good UI design is not
                      necessarily instantly intuitive. Users need to be taught a new UI;
                      the trick is to teach them only once. On second and subsequent uses
                      the UI should be intuitive."

                      The one absolute truth about good UI is that there are no absolute
                      truths aboug good UI.

                      We all know that it always depends. Is the user in a position
                      they /can/ get taught/be trained? Will there /be/ a second use?
                      [especially if they're frustrated with the first] How long between
                      the first use and the second use? What's the expected frequency of
                      use?

                      I think it's true to say that good UI design does not need to be
                      inuitive - rather it needs to fit its context of use. Software used
                      frequently by users in a context where effeciency matters may not
                      need to be intuitive - at least that isn't the most important
                      factor.

                      The second part of the comment went towards memorability - how easy
                      is it to remember how to use the system after using it once or
                      twice. Again - depends on context of use. We'd hope the software
                      would support the task well enough that even if the UI wasn't
                      intutive that the effectiveness of support for the task made it
                      memorable. But, suppose it wasn't. Suppose it took lots of practice
                      and instruction to use well, to remember how to use. Say as much
                      practice as a musical instrument or 3D modeling software... that
                      wouldn't be so bad.

                      Coming full circle, it's a function of the pain the user is in
                      without the software and the pain of learning the new stuff. Any
                      statements about intuitability, learnability, or memorability need to
                      be considered in that context. Dogmatically saying all software
                      needs to be intuitable isn't necessarily user-centric.

                      Thanks,

                      -Jeff
                    • Jared M. Spool
                      Sorry I m chiming in late on this. It s been a long week and I m just catching up on messages now. ... Actually, a sucking on mother s nipple is innate , not
                      Message 10 of 17 , Dec 9, 2005
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                        Sorry I'm chiming in late on this. It's been a long week and I'm just
                        catching up on messages now.

                        At 11:43 AM 12/3/2005, Jon Meads wrote:
                        >A good quote I once heard was that "The only thing that is intuitive is a
                        >mother's nipple, everything else is learned."

                        Actually, a sucking on mother's nipple is "innate", not "intuitive."

                        >When someone talks about an intuitive UI, they are talking about a UI that
                        >matches the user's previous expereinces so well that it is easily and
                        >quickly recognizable in terms of affordance and navigation. And,
                        >understanding what they would be means understanding the users very well
                        >-- which means taking the time to identify who the users are and study them.

                        I wrote an article about this. You can find it here:
                        http://www.uie.com/articles/design_intuitive/

                        Hope this helps,

                        Jared


                        Jared M. Spool, Founding Principal, User Interface Engineering
                        4 Lookout Lane, Unit 4d, Middleton, MA 01949
                        978 777-9123 jspool@... http://www.uie.com
                        Blog: http://www.uie.com/brainsparks
                      • Jared M. Spool
                        ... Hee. Wrote about this too: http://www.uie.com/articles/embraceable_change/ Jared Jared M. Spool, Founding Principal, User Interface Engineering 4 Lookout
                        Message 11 of 17 , Dec 9, 2005
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                          At 02:41 PM 12/3/2005, Jon Meads wrote:
                          >There are costs in making changes and
                          >costs in staying as is. This is one reason why usability engineers often
                          >look towards having usability objectives and goals specified as part of the
                          >project charter.

                          Hee. Wrote about this too: http://www.uie.com/articles/embraceable_change/

                          Jared


                          Jared M. Spool, Founding Principal, User Interface Engineering
                          4 Lookout Lane, Unit 4d, Middleton, MA 01949
                          978 777-9123 jspool@... http://www.uie.com
                          Blog: http://www.uie.com/brainsparks
                        • Jade Ohlhauser
                          I enjoyed that one, thanks Jared Jade Ohlhauser Product Manager RPM Software www.rpmsoftware.com 403-265-6727 x704
                          Message 12 of 17 , Dec 12, 2005
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                            I enjoyed that one, thanks Jared
                             
                            Jade Ohlhauser
                            Product Manager
                            RPM Software                                 
                            www.rpmsoftware.com 403-265-6727 x704
                             


                            From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jared M. Spool
                            Sent: Friday, December 09, 2005 10:21 PM
                            To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                            Cc: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: RE: [agile-usability] Learning a new UI

                            Sorry I'm chiming in late on this. It's been a long week and I'm just
                            catching up on messages now.

                            At 11:43 AM 12/3/2005, Jon Meads wrote:
                            >A good quote I once heard was that "The only thing that is
                            intuitive is a
                            >mother's nipple, everything else is
                            learned."

                            Actually, a sucking on mother's nipple is "innate", not "intuitive."

                            >When someone talks about an intuitive UI, they are
                            talking about a UI that
                            >matches the user's previous expereinces so well
                            that it is easily and
                            >quickly recognizable in terms of affordance and
                            navigation. And,
                            >understanding what they would be means understanding
                            the users very well
                            >-- which means taking the time to identify who the
                            users are and study them.

                            I wrote an article about this. You can find it here:
                            http://www.uie.com/articles/design_intuitive/

                            Hope this helps,

                            Jared


                            Jared M. Spool, Founding Principal, User Interface Engineering
                            4 Lookout Lane, Unit 4d, Middleton, MA 01949
                            978 777-9123   jspool@...  http://www.uie.com
                            Blog: http://www.uie.com/brainsparks


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