Question 1: ~1.5 pages Some time during the week, select a one-hour period to be
Question 1: ~1.5 pages Some time during the week, select a one-hour period to be particularly cognizant of the tasks in which you are engaging. During this hour, compose a list or table of the tasks that you are performing, the goals associated with that task, the interfaces with which you interact to perform those tasks, and the object (that is, the thing you are manipulating or transforming from input into output) of your interactions. Note that you have leeway in determining the scope you’re considering for your task; for example, one person might think of “Emptying my inbox” as a task, while another might think of “Responding to this email” as a task. We would expect you to come up with at least 5 tasks (and their associated goals, interfaces, and objects), and we would expect them to be relatively different from one another (e.g. your five tasks shouldn’t be “Answer this email”, “Answer that email”, “Answer the other email”, “Answer another email”, and “Answer yet another email”). Note that for many of these, your interface may not be computational; for example: if your task is driving a car, then the goal would be getting to your destination, the interface would include the steering wheel, gas, and brake pedals, and the object of your task would be the car itself. If your task was adjusting the radio in the car, then the goal might be to find a certain song, the interface would be the knobs and dials on the radio, and the object would be the music currently coming out of the system. The one-hour period you select should not be an hour you spend driving because (a) we’ve used that example to illustrate the assignment above, and (b) please don’t work on homework while driving. Then, for four of the sets you came up with (task, goal, interface, and object), discuss the level of directness and invisibility of the interaction. In terms of directness, how far is your interaction from the object of the interaction? To what extent are you directly manipulating the object rather than manipulating it at a distance through the interface? In terms of invisibility, how much time did you spend thinking about the interface rather than the task? If you focus mostly on the task, did the interface become invisible through learning or through good design? Was there a time when you thought more about the interface than you did now? Hint: We say “carve out an hour” because the challenge with identifying invisible interfaces is often that we take them for granted. By being very deliberate for a predetermined set of time, we hope you can focus more on the tasks that you might not even consider that you do because they’ve become so invisible and automatic. Question 2: ~1.5 pages Select a task (besides driving) that you do on a regular basis that has become invisible by learning; that is, an interface that you used to spend a lot of time thinking about, but now ignore in favor of focusing on the task. Feel free to choose a task you perform that does not currently have a computational interface (such as a cookbook and thermometer or hand-written spreadsheet). First, describe the components of the interface you used to think about a lot. Then, describe your thought process now, and especially explain why you no longer have to spend as much time focusing on the interface. Finally, briefly describe how you might design or redesign the computational interface to get you to the point of invisibility more quickly. Hint: This question is best-suited for an interface with which you are now an expert despite some early difficulty. Many video games demonstrate this type of learning curve, as do many pieces of software for complex tasks. You may also think outside the box: perhaps you used to struggle with cooking or budgeting, but have since gotten better. Question 3 : ~1.5 pages. In the lectures, we discuss three types of human perception that are commonly used in user interface design (visual, auditory, haptic). First, select one of the following five task domains: Using a diet-tracking application to track your daily caloric intake Playing an augmented-reality video game like Pokemon Go Washing the dishes, including rinsing in the sink, placing in the dishwasher, and unloading the dishwasher Using a Bluetooth headset to make and receive calls without ever touching the phone itself Plugging in an electric car to charge, or pumping gas into a gas-powered car Using your chosen task domain, describe how each of these three types of human perception are used to give the user feedback. Then, for each type of these three types of human perception, design how that type of perception could be used to give feedback about something (within your chosen task domain) that does not currently use that modality. For example, what kind of haptic feedback might you give a player in an AR game? What kind of visual feedback might you give a person using a Bluetooth headset? Make sure to design features that you haven’t seen before, but don’t worry if the feature actually does exist on a device you haven’t seen before. Finally, briefly name a different kind of human perception outside these three, and describe one way it is or could be used for feedback in your chosen task domain. Hint: Here’s a list of other senses besides the five we recognize most commonly. Remember, you do not need to focus exclusively on feedback designed into the interface. You could instead discuss feedback that is inherent to the task: for example, if this question was about driving a car, the driver can feel the car itself turning in response to movements to the steering wheel. Question 4: ~1.5 pages In the lecture, we give five suggestions for reducing cognitive load in interface design: using multiple modalities, letting the modalities complement each other, giving the user control of the pace, emphasizing essential content while minimizing clutter, and offloading tasks from the user onto the interface. Select two of these tips. For each tip, select an interface from your everyday life that violates the suggestion. Briefly describe the interface, and then describe violation of the tip. Then, briefly redesign the interface to incorporate the tip into its design. Hint: If you’re stuck, try thinking of an interface that currently follows the tip, and then try to brainstorm a similar interface that does not follow that tip. Be cautious with the fifth tip: if you aim to automate a significant part of the task, then you should focus on the interaction between the user and the interface that triggers the task and captures the user’s input rather than how the task is actually automated.

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