Monday, October 27, 2003

Content, Context and Use

Care of Unraveled, a little Don Norman wisdom:

  • Sometimes it’s not enough to make things work well. They also have to be fun.

  • Sometimes it’s more important to make things fun than to makes things work well.

  • We’re selling HCI wrong. It’s shouldn’t be about usability as much as user experience. If we’re going to make a difference, we need to talk the language of business. Consequently, it doesn’t matter if you have wonderful [usable] products if you’re not making money.

I pretty much agree with most of this - although I'm not sure it's the "whole truth" with regard to UX and usability. However, I do like the second point, as we should never forget the serendipity of people using tools for a purpose for which they were not designed, but which they achieve better than any designed tool for the purpose. I reckon that to an extent usabilty could lead to an over-engineered fit-for-purpose on the odd occasion: like anything else, all this emphasis on user-focused design is a single blind alleyway. Design should take into account all parties, materials and budgets. I seem to remember Don Norman making a quote about not designing for [either] budget OR usability OR aesthetics, but for budget AND usability AND aesthetics at the same time.

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