Goodman et al. + About Face Chapter 4 & 5





Goodman et al. + About Face Chapter 4 & 5

Goodman et al

In the article, Understanding Interaction Design Practices, Goodman et al state that although there has been success in seeing design as an approach for developing new innovative and creative interaction research approaches, much of them have focused on the practitioners and left out the developers of these designs. Much of research today has focused on how practitioners understand and use the methods while there is hardly any research focusing on intentions, principles and goals guiding the developers of the design. This point is quite important as it defines the current problem the research seeks to solve. The research therefore, seeks to focus on the gap between human-computer interactions (HCI) that influence the design and practice and the people that make use of the methods in their daily researches. The article seeks to close the gap.

Goodman et al suggests that, “… this disconnection in part emerges from a persistent failure to adequately address the lived complexity of design practices,” (1061). One point addressed here is the way many studies concentrate on how people utilize technologies while there are very few studies focusing on diversity existing in environments under which the designs are created. It is also interesting to note that the problem dates back many years considering the article indicates that the gap has been known for more than two decades. It cites that expectations of HCI research influencing the practitioners and professional design practices have fallen short. The article identifies three main problems. The first one is portrayal of designers as ignorant or unaware of scholarly methods and theories. The second one is that designers have a lot of knowledge about the theories and methods but not likely to utilize them due time, labor and cost strains. Finally, “they have examined differences in scholarly researchers’ and commercial practitioners’ perspectives on similar problems, such as designing a user interface,” (Goodman et al, 1063).

About Face Chapter 4

One of the most interesting part of this chapter was the introduction where it mentioned that, “The outcome of any design effort must ultimately be judged by how successfully it meets the needs of both the product user and the organization that commissioned it,” (Cooper, Reimann and Cronin 49). Before one conducts a research, it is crucial have a clear knowledge of the users of the research. He or she should consider their goals that are driving the research, problems they are facing and purposes in order to achieve success.

One of the most useful information in the chapter was that deep insight into a topic could not be achieved by quantitative studies. Quantitative studies such as market surveys can help in identifying trends. However, deeper insight can only be gained through qualitative study. This information was very useful for highlighting the importance of qualitative studies in research. The chapter cites that, “Any attempt to reduce human behavior to statistics is likely to overlook important nuances, which can make an enormous difference to the design of products,” (Cooper, Reimann and Cronin 49). While quantitative research only answers questions such as how much or how many, qualitative research seeks a deeper insight such as why, what and how among other things based on social aspects that cannot be achieved by former approach.

The other information that I found quite interesting was on the value of qualitative study in research and other studies. According to Cooper, Reimann and Cronin, “Qualitative research helps us understand the domain, context, and constraints of a product in different, more useful ways than quantitative research do,” (51). Specifically, it helps in behaviors, aptitudes, attitudes of the users of products and the way existing products are performing and progress of design projects. In addition, it provides credibility, as well as authority of the research considering the design decisions are traceable to the results.

About Face Chapter 5

This chapter indicates that after conducting research using the qualitative approach that helps in understanding the customers and users’ motivation, as well as their environment, the question that remains is how to use the results in designing products that will be successful. After collecting data, research provides a lot of information that would be difficult to use every time one needs to design a product. “We solve this problem by applying the powerful concept of a model. Models are used in the natural and social sciences to represent complex phenomena with a useful abstraction,” (Cooper, Reimann and Cronin 75).

Information is on personas where it says that, for a product to satisfy users with different tastes, it has to be designed with broad functionality. However, it cites that this logic is flawed. This was confusing considering that a product with much functionality can serve different kinds of users. The chapter cites that the best way to serve different tastes successfully is to design specific products for individuals. The confusion is cleared by offering examples of different personas and their different tastes in vehicles that are satisfied by specific model. “The persona is a powerful, multipurpose design tool that helps overcome several problems that currently plague the development of digital products,” (Cooper, Reimann and Cronin 75). It specifically helps in determining what a product should be doing to achieve goals of users. Persona also helps in communicating since it can identify the best strategy and in measuring design effectiveness.



Works Cited:

Cooper, Alan, Robert Reimann and Dave Cronin. About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design. Hoboken N.J: Willey Publishing, Inc, 2007. Print.

Goodman, Elizabeth, Eric Stolterman and Ron Wakkary. Understanding Interaction Design Practices. Vancouver, BC Canada, CHI 2011 Session, 2011. Print.

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