Why high-tech products drive us crazy and how to restore the sanity
by Alan Cooper, SAMS, 1999
Part I: Computer Obliteracy
Cognitive friction is the term used by Cooper to describe the difficulty and barriers we all have experienced at certain times when using interfaces, or as he puts it the resistance encountered by a human intellect when it engages with a complex system of rules… Examples that are citedare remote controls, alarm clocks etc. One has to invest time and attention to break through this barrier, and in the process of going through this, he points out that users will feel stupid, frustrated and/or even angry.
Interaction design is not “program” design, in which programmers decide upon routines, structures etc, and which basically does not affect the user; and also not “interface” design which tells how to dress up an existing behaviour with borders etc. Interaction designis the design that tells how the elements of software should act and communicate with its user.
Why all this poor design exists is explained by a metaphor of a dancing bear : the ease-of-use and attractiveness of using a product is lacking because the creators were already content when the product delivers the functionality at all. Hence the dancing bear : the wonder isn’ t that the bear dances well but that the bear dances at all. Industry professionals toss around terms like “computer literacy”, assuming that people need to acquire some fundamental level of training. They see this as a simple demand that isn’t hard and is only right and proper. But itis too much to ask.
Continues @ http://www.techopath.com