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Re: ::scr Internet Explorer - Danger in numbers?
On Thu, 7 Mar 2002, Simon Wistow wrote:
> > No, no, a thousand times no. A computer is a tool. I see no problem with
> > people having to learn and understand their tools before use. You wouldn't
> > expect anyone to be able to pick up a multimeter and debug the wiring in
> > your flat, or a stethoscope to debug your heart, so why on earth should the
> > tool that sits on your desk be different?
Yeah, but a lot of the time people are using the tool to send a message or
write a report or buy a book. And so the purpose of the design is to help
the tool be as unobtrusive to these primary tasks as possible.
I agree with what you said. The security and usability is interesting
because they recognised this exact problem: that people's primary task is
to send a message, and so the security needs to be as easy to understand
as possible. But even though the GUI was good, the underlying model made
it difficult to understand. Therefore more difficult to learn.
> > Useable != intuitive. Useable implies easy to learn and consistent.
> That's the problem - there's supposed to be a learning curve (or no
> curve whatsoever if I read Raskin right.
Well, not even supposed to be - there just is a learning curve. We've
talked about this before (the fact that most knowledge is not innate and
must be learned).
> Which I usually don't since I disagree with a fair bit of stuff he
> says) but, borrowing from Chemistry terms, the activation energy to
> get onto that curve is small.
> With Crypto/Security that activation energy is much higher. There's an
> initial bump with very little positive feedback - "God, why do I have to
> keep changing my password every 2 weeks? Why can't I write it on a
> postit note? Why can't it be based on a dictionary word? *grumble*
> *grumble*" - which will put people off.
But as the paper, and Arvid, pointed out, the changing the password is
only one aspect of the problem. The larger one is around the mental model
of how security works.
>  What *do* people like to be called? Usability Experts? IAs?
> Interface Designers? HCI specialists? All of the above? I have a
> horrible feeling that one day I'll inadvertently offend somebody - "Nah,
> we're the People's Democratic Front of Information Architects, you want
> the Front of Democratic People's Usability Experts"
*sigh*. What we call overselves is endlessly debated. There are three
questions that come up constantly on the lists. One is what we call
ourselves, one is what we call users, and I've forgotten the other
one. But it may be how do we show the business value of what we
do. Personally, I don't really mind.
The short version of the answer is that the roles you name are specialist
roles, and lots of people play more than one of them as part of their
job. I practice and know stuff about usability, HCI, Information
Architecture, Interface Design, Information Design, etc. But to me that's
interesting as something to talk to my colleagues about, but not really
necessary to make clear to the rest of the world: the most important thing
to show them is how your skills can improve the product at hand.
Of course, some people get very passionate about it. Takes all types etc.
This is a really good essay on the whole IA / role definition thing, for
anyone who's interested:
and this is an
older essay on
Sorry for the ramblingness.