27 May 2009

Is design the preeminent protagonist in user experience?

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Ubiquity
The latest issue of Ubiquity, a web-based publication of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), contains a fascinating account by Phillip Tobias on the emerging design principles that will generate a positive user experience, and satisfied and loyal users.

“Think of one of your favorite items and imagine it right in front of you. You can probably describe it in great detail to someone. However, try to describe it without mentioning or referring to colors, shapes, text, or any other visual elements. This is a challenging task, and attempting to describe any item to someone in this manner most likely will cause ambiguity and confusion. Subconsciously, we create an embedded image in our mind based on an item’s appearance or brand. Dick Berry in “The user experience” denotes this embedded image as a user’s mental model or conceptual model. A user interacts with physical items, builds up experiences, and as a result creates a mental model over time. This mental model can contribute to the success of product marketing and software. At the rapid rate of progression of technology, the acceptance of software with identical functionality can come down to user experience. A product can leverage itself above the rest by the superiority of its design. This article will discuss the emphasis on design as a primary vehicle for strategy, flow, and affordance as it pertains to user experience in a device or system.”

Ubiquity is dedicated to fostering critical analysis and in-depth commentary on issues relating to the nature, constitution, structure, science, engineering, cognition, technology, practices and paradigms of the computing profession.

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