a digital common place book | an @s_m_i production | one of a few

The problem, however, is that HCD has developed as a limited view of design. Instead of looking at a person’s entire activity, it has primarily focused upon page-by-page analysis, screen-by-screen. As a result, sequences, interruptions, ill-defined goals — all the aspects of real activities, have been ignored. And error messages — there should not be any error messages. All messages should contain explanations and offer alternative ways of proceeding from the message itself.

To me, error analysis is the sweet spot for improvement. Usually, designers do think of the order in which activities will be done. But they seldom think properly about what should be done when the person encounters problems, or when the situation is novel.

One way to do this is to look at all the error messages, determine why they might arise, and redesign so that they either never appear, or if they might, that they are transformed into assistance. Not “help” which tells the person what should have been done, but “assistance” which offers the proper action and makes it so easy to proceed that the person might deliberately type incomplete information to get the guidance.

Every decade, the Internet startup community latches onto “the thing” that will make them successful. In the ’90s the focus was all on marketing and biz folks. Come up with an idea, raise tons of cash, market the hell out of it and grow fast. Come the first decade of the millennium and the focus shifted to the developers. The philosophy was to get some great hackers, put them in a room and allow them to create something great.

This decade, the in-thing is design. Everywhere you look, the mantra is about using design as the differentiator that will catapult the startup to greatness. Nothing wrong with that – design really does make a difference. Unfortunately, far too many people are confusing simplicity with good design. Sure, there are way too many bloated products out there, but there are now increasingly many products that are extremely shallow, in the name of good design.

If we take the post written by Google UX Researcher Aaron Sedley as Google’s philosophy on why users get upset at design changes, then we can easily understand why users get upset when Google makes changes to their design. From what we know about how users think about the designs they are using, it’s clear Google doesn’t understand why they get the reactions they do…When the change happens, often the benefits aren’t clear or obvious. Even when they are, the team hasn’t made it clear why the user has to learn how to do everything over again. Sure, there’s new stuff, but was it worth all the hassle of the learning to do the same things a different way.
- 'In most cases, people hate change because they don’t like to suddenly become stupid.'

Google’s Take on “Change Aversion” Misses the Point » UIE Brain Sparks