On week 2, we discussed on the Chapter 1 –
The reading for this class was from the book “The UX Book – Process and Guidelines for Ensuring a Quality User Experience” written by Rex Hartson; Pardha S. Pyla in 2012. On reading the chapter the key points that interested students (including myself) in the class are emotional impact, usability, learn-ability to use the interface, human-computer interaction, ubiquitous computing, non-obstructive interface/computer, functionality VS user interface, comfort satisfaction, bad design pervasive and contextual inquiry.
In the chapter, the authors have tried to talk about the history of different products like cars, jets, etc. and tried to reason their successes and failures. Then they tried to correlate such user experience with computer interfaces. They have tried to understand why each one of us are unique in our likes and dislikes but have only managed to give a high level view in this chapter on the whole. However, in the class the emotional impact was given some sort of additional discussion. It could be because it’s a recently coined concept. Though it looks recent I think it did have its evolution even for its influence in designing Computer Interfaces.
Sometimes when I think about how to make the interface any better than just Windows and Buttons, one thing that stands out is the mouse. It was in Windows 3.11 when I first saw using mouse and I think it did excite many people. Perhaps it was first thought to be commercialized by Apple in 1970’s before Microsoft did in 1980’s. I think the mouse did make an emotional impact by making the computer interfaces with a human touch and set the next generation for Graphical User Interfaces. Such an evolution takes us to think a computer interface is more hardware and it’s good that the inventors are still able to see software interfaces to only resemble human-machine interface than being programmatic-ally done.
The authors have discussed about several historical aspects that has led to this evolution of Human Computer Interface Design. To my part I would want to mention about Doug Engelbart and more about his invention of mouse. The following image is from http://www.dougengelbart.org/firsts/mouse.html
If you get a chance, take a look at this history. I hope this image’s webpage is still there on that URL when you would be wanting to read it. In the late 1990’s, Apple’s growth and interest in building better user interface for phone in 2000’s was greatly supported by the touch screen aspect. If not for the capacitance based touch screen I think it would have not been possible to make such strides for Apple in the touch screen phone market. It’s because before capacitance based touch screen there was the resistance based touch screen and Microsoft was trying its best to capitalize on it. But the slow response and especially low resolution other companies could not go any further with it. Perhaps time was just right was Apple to make capacitance work for them. It’s simply not possible to disregard computer hardware evolution in the 2000’s when discussing how things are getting better. Last but not the least – Vacuum tubes -> Cathode Ray Tubes -> plasma -> LED is another great progress in hardware that has changed how we see TV in the last 100 years! This has also greatly impacted the user experience for the interface.