BayCHI 7/13/10 Designing with the mind in mind

summary designing with the mind in mind Jeff Johnson

Reason for writing is that people have been writing guidelines for some time. Designers are supposed to follow these rules but they are very open to interpretation. Background knowledge is needed and knowledge of some perceptive and cognitive psychology. As you go through the list that exist – Norman (in attendance), Nielson, Scheiermen, Stone – Good list but are they really usable? Can they be applied? That is the premise for the book and the talk. Its easy to see what he is talking about when you put the lists one after another. They seem a bit old to be honest. Outdated.

The lists are based how people think. Good idea but there is no why explained. Johnson’s book allegedly explains this. I only say allegedly because I have not read this book.

We percieve what we expect

  • our experience
  • the context
  • our goals or what we intend to do

If I show you a picture and tell you its a jackson pollack picture you would expect it to be that. If i tell you the same picture contains a dalmation, it would change your peception of what you were about to see.

Here is the detailed explaination:

What do you see?

Once you know about the dog can you see a Jackson Pollack picture?

Viewing and what your eye and brain perceive. It sees symmetrical and structure.

We see structure

Its easier to read and find information with structure. AKA visual hierarchy.

Reading is unnatural.

We have to learn this. We are not prewired this. We have to work hard to learn this. A cognitive still that has to practiced. As a result there are certain things we expect to see when we read. If you break these then it makes it harder to read. Ever notice how hard to read center aligned text? It breaks the visual rules that you are used to.

Color vision is limited. Our vision is optimized to to see contrasts, edges and changes.

Since our memory is limited its best to organize the information in groups that makes sense and are grouped or linked by a concept.

Change blindness.

Most people dont notice changes when they occur. Some classic experiments by Daniel Simons illustrates this. These youtube videos show the experiments. Its unbelievable.

Another video where the changes are even more dramatic.

Performing well learned action sis easy. these automatic routines can be done really without thinking.

Novel actions are more difficult. Write your name with the dominant hand. Then write it with the non dominant hand. These are difficult because they require thinking.

Problem solving and calculation. This is relatively new in evolutionary terms. Its a part of our brain that other animals don’t have. The cortex. Its a serial processing action. It cannot be multi tasked and is slow. 93.3 x 102.1 is an example. Requires a lot of memory. Diagnosing computer problems is another example.

If vocabulary is unfamiliar its hard to do. It inhibits learning as well. If you use familiar language it hurries people along to complete the task at hand.


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