Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 30 Jun 03 15:52
Yes, thanks, and feel free to hang out and talk some more!
Bruce Bartholomew (blackbart) Wed 9 Jul 03 14:25
Hi Jesse, Im sorry I missed the two-week period, however I hope you check your discussion to respond to those who missed listening to James Leftwich expound. I bring technical writing skills along with Web design and an information architecture background. I began designing from Netscape 1.0 and have suffered through the limitations of Html and the evolution of combining Web design with information architecture. My question centers on the virtues of user experience versus a programmers mentality forced on to the user. We have seen the user interface pendulum swing away from a programmers mentality to the user via the GUI. Specifically, how important must the simulation of the user experience compare with the user interface of the Microsoft paradigm? I agree that the period of gaudy Web site design with flashy buttons and cute graphics is not effective. Simulating the look and feel of a book or magazine adds the same background familiarity that simulating the Microsoft interface provides. Yet, sticking to flow charts and logical structures does not necessarily capture human intelligibility. The human experience is characterized by the workshop model. The user looks for standard tools and access to all parts of the Web site from one page. Having experienced the evolution of the user interface from DOS to the Microsoft GUI, you know how difficult it was to switch interfaces from Borland, Lotus, and Microsoft. I remember IBM had to do a complete redesign of their Web site because people were getting lost. Im sure IBM had a logic and flow to their Web site at the time; however it was not a logic or flow that the average user could follow. To summarize, would you comment on the importance of acknowledging: How the user accesses information The merits of standardization Creating an intuitive interface versus Allowing the underlying code dictate both the structure and user experience The implementation of logic and flow charts I do realize there are constraints, for example, the implementation of page layout with tables. However I agree that Flash may be the future of Web interface as the limitations of bandwidth ease up. One last thing, are we still stuck in the illusion that the human mind and the computer can work side by side? The attempt to computerize common sense by Doug Lenat is a programmers wet dream never to be realized. This may be another book in itself, but I hope you will offer some insight to this dilemma for the user suffering from information overload. Thanks
James Leftwich, IDSA (jleft) Wed 9 Jul 03 16:48
Bart, I'll send Jesse an email just to let him know you've posted some interesting issues and questions.
Jesse James Garrett (jjgdotnet) Wed 16 Jul 03 20:24
Bruce, the aspect of my work that really keeps me interested and motivated is the extent to which we can't predict how users think or behave. Information architecture in the real world has surprisingly little to do with logical and precise classification. Humans are messy, fuzzy thinkers, and any architecture designed for humans must reflect that. Interface standards are good and valuable and necessary, but only as long as we understand their limitations. Good interface design doesn't require standardization for its own sake; it requires the intelligent application of standards where appropriate, and the exercise of professional judgment to determine where such standards might not be appropriate. As for artificial intelligence, I wouldn't declare it impossible, but it certainly does seem to be a long way away.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 16 Jul 03 20:43
I don't think we asked this before, Jesse: are you often surprised by usability test results?
Jesse James Garrett (jjgdotnet) Thu 17 Jul 03 16:03
If usability tests didn't surprise us at least a little bit, they wouldn't be worth doing. Sometimes they don't spark great revelations, but they enrich our understanding of user psychology and behavior in ways that inform all our work, not just the current project.
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