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ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)

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Keith Instone <[log in to unmask]>
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Mon, 8 Nov 1999 16:21:47 -0500
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(Resending for Challis to overcome a technical glitch - KEI)

At 02:17 PM 11/5/99 -0800, Peter Merholz wrote:
 >[snip]
 >Continuing this thoughtwander, what frustrates me so much about typical
 >usability engineering is a lack of empathy. Users aren't seen as people, but
 >as subjects, as an Other. Usability engineers don't endeavor to truly
 >empathize with the user's needs and desires. Instead they use accepted
 >methodology (time-to-completion studies, think-aloud user tests, heuristic
 >evaluation) to create an abstract model of the user that neglects the
 >audience's true humanity.

Peter et al,

A agree very much with your thoughts. This is something I have been
frustrated with for quite some time. Another piece to the puzzle is the
"my-discipline-centricness" that many designers, developers, usability
professionals, strategists, etc. bring to their work. There are many
talented people out there who genuinely care about users but at the same
time believe that their skills, processes, and competency are the tools
that make the difference.

In looking around the industry one can find user-centered processes based
on a wide range of methodologies from a designer's ability to "be" the
users and design accordingly, to a usability professional with a checklist
and a white lab, to a user researcher with a video camera and a skate
board. </over simplification> :-)

We've found the reality to be quite simple and quite difficult at the same
time. Designing the best user experiences requires not only empathy but a
process and a culture that assumes every discipline/competency is important
and that every decision, line of code and graphic created impacts the user
experience. User Experience Design is not a discipline as many are now
trying to establish, rather it's a process, a methodology, and a culture.
It takes very special people and they're not easy to find. I know because
we're building a business around this process, methodology, and culture--
one person at a time!

-challis

            Challis D. Hodge, CEO & Co-Founder
H A N N A H O D G E
            u s e r   e x p e r i e n c e   a r c h i t e c t s

            312.397.9020  fax 312.397.9019
            [ [log in to unmask] | www.hannahodge.com ]

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