RE: [SPAM] - RE: [agile-usability] Research on users reaction to changes in an interface - Email found in subject
The other thing to keep in mind about change is, is it change for change’s sake or is it change to solve a known issue?
As my partner at LANDesk Dave Broschinsky said, “Design is not just about changing things. Many of our users are familiar with the way things are, and to change without good reason may alienate them. We strive to only make changes when things are changing for the better. If the customer sees the added value in the change, they accept it and eventually can't live with out it.”
For example, changing terms or the location of UI elements might be disruptive if someone has gotten “used” to it, but if it makes the feature apparent to the new or infrequent user, the change is probably worthwhile. Testing and feedback will tell. If I don’t have time for full testing, even running it by the customer support people can be helpful. They know the users and the kinds of calls they get.
Interaction Design Lead
LANDesk Software, Inc.
"Simplifying our customers' work"
From: Chris Pehura [mailto:chris@...]
Sent: Wednesday, October 27, 2004 9:54 AM
Subject: [SPAM] - RE: [agile-usability] Research on users reaction to changes in an interface - Email found in subject
My experience with UI changes is user expectation. If the user expects to click a button, change the button to a field, they will click on the field until they unlearn to click. If users are used to doing something when they see a red block on the screen, change that color to blue, they will wait to see red until they unlearn to wait. Even if you tell users which changes are made and where, users still has to unlearn and relearn on their own.
I've also found that users navigate an interface in a very specific way in sync with their "physical navigation". Minor changes in UI will affect navigation both on the screen and in the "physical environment". Things are used in ways never intended for reasons previously unknown.
I've found it much faster to make a change, see what happens, than to figure out all of that navigation stuff..
Also, this mention of chaos. Is it being used to mean "unpredictability", or is it being used in the scientific sense?
In science, if usability is chaotic, then there are patterns in the changes in usability.
(order in chaos).
Any models come to mind?
I did chaos experiments with analog computers and motors. Not sure if that stuff is mappable to software though.
From: Jon Meads [mailto:jon@...]
Sent: Wednesday, October 27, 2004 5:21 AM
Subject: RE: [agile-usability] Research on users reaction to changes in an interface
Tom Landauer has suggested that usability is Chaotic, small changes can have major affects. I have seen this myself with some UIs although, for most, small, non-functional changes have had minimal or no affect.
But it really takes usability testing to verify the affect a change has on a user. The problem is that, for users, changes to a GUI are not pixel changes but changes in the gestalt of the UI and how it affects users' perceptions and cognition. We normally can make a good guess as to what affect a change will have but we can also be surprised on occasion.
From: Lauren Berry [mailto:laurenb@...]
Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 2004 1:58 PM
Subject: [agile-usability] Research on users reaction to changes in an interface
Does anyone know of any research done on users reactions to changes in the GUI?
Im looking for things such as
- whats the time taken to re-learn a subtle change/medium change/ substantial change.
- If you change the UI to improve the usability - how long before the customer is comfortable in the new system.
- If you improve the usability - is the user happier with the better UI once they have learned it - or does the cost of learning outweigh the benefits of change
Of course, Im sure these questions have a variety of answers depending on the users...
Any pointers to work done most appreciated,