SIGIA-L Mail Archives: Re: SIGIA-L: IA > usability > envi
Re: SIGIA-L: IA > usability > environment definition
Date: Mon Aug 14 2000 - 15:26:03 EDT
I'm new to the list and have just come into this thread, but I'd like to put in my two cents worth.
Although a photograph or, indeed, any image, may not have a "mechancal" function, depending on its application, it may or even should be usable.
An image which is used just for something to look at really has no requirements placed on its "usability." It relies on the user to bring his or her own "use" to it.
However, an image which is intended to illustrate or explain something had better be useful in doing so.
However, again, an image which is just "for pretty" had better not be so riveting, ugly, beautiful, controversial etc. that it prevents the user from using whatever he/she is there to use.
I don't think the artistic quality or impression is an aspect of usability except as it enhances or interferes with that usability.
marijke_at_interfacility.com wrote on 8/14/00 11:11:53 AM
It is meaningless to claim that photographs should be
designed to be usable - that's just an easy cop-out.
"Usability," whatever it may mean to each of us on this
list, is a term that was originally defined in connection
with functionality - can a user figure out how to operate
a designed object in the way it was designed to be
Clearly, there are large areas of our experience that
escape the realm of functionality in that sense. Not that
they don't have any "function" in our lives. Not that we
don't "use" them. But there are things we do not operate,
that are not designed to be operated by us. And if we do
attempt to operate them, we have already misunderstood them.
Clearly, we do not operate photographs. And their value
may in fact lie exactly in their difficulty, in our
inability to "use" them, to make sense of them in cozy,
There is no inherent dynamic - or even edict by usability
guru - that outlaws the use of the web as a medium analogous
to photography, as well as a medium analogous to a supermarket,
to mention just one of the many functionally applications
of the web.
Gordon Montgomery wrote:
> All photographs should be designed to be usable for their human audience.
> The analogy to the "bricks and mortar" environment does not support user
> experience in the web environment. This has been heavily documented
> elsewhere and as such forms a daily part of the work experience challenges
> faced by many on this list.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Gunnar Swanson [mailto:gunnar_at_pobox.com]
> Sent: Monday, August 14, 2000 11:46 AM
> To: sigia-l_at_asis.org
> Subject: RE: SIGIA-L: IA > credentials
> I mistakenly sent my reply to Gordon rather than the list. I'll now bring
> the conversation back.
> >are you saying that websites should be designed to be "fun to look at" as
> >opposed to intrinsically functional?
> 1) No. That would be making the same mistake that I accuse Flanders and
> Nielsen of. It would be as stupid to say "websites should be designed to be
> x" as it would be to say "photographs should be y."
> Should all photographs be colorful? Serious? In sharp focus? Examples of
> tight grain structure? Evenly lit? Good color matches to the original
> subject? Easy to reproduce on a printing press? Of course some photos
> should be some of those but only an idiot would assume that, say, the goals
> of a police evidence photo, the goals of a fashion magazine photo, the
> goals of a gay porno image, the goals of a wedding photo, and the goals of
> a family's vacation snapshots were or should be one and the same.
> Is there a cute Latin phrase that means "QED by analogy"? QEDBA--Flanders
> and Nielsen are idiots.
> 2) What do you mean by "intrinsically functional"? Isn't functionality by
> definition extrinsic? Both of the gentlemen in question seem to have your
> assumption, that there is a single function and that the job of web
> designers is serve it.
> As pompous as quoting oneself might seem--"Yeah, and people go to the
> Armani store because the tags in the clothes are easy to read."
> >-----Original Message-----
> >From: Gunnar Swanson [mailto:gunnar_at_pobox.com]
> >Sent: Saturday, August 12, 2000 4:20 PM
> >To: Gordon Montgomery
> >Subject: RE: SIGIA-L: IA > credentials
> >Gordon Montgomery wrote:
> >>kinda what I feel too...
> >in reply to John Grotting's:
> >>I would put Vincent into the category of "self-proclaimed-experts".
> >In repsones to Gordon Montgomery's:
> >>Anybody have any input on Vincent Flanders credentials?
> >>I'm thinking of getting him as a guest speaker on Usability and IA.
> >While often amusing, Vincent Flanders makes the same mistake that Jacob
> >Nielsen makes which is the same mistake they often accuse the suckmeisters
> >of--forgetting that the user is not necessarily like you. Flanders' main
> >warning for quite some time was against any sort of cryptic navigation,
> >dubbed "saturnic" after its use on Saturn's site. He, like Nielsen, assumed
> >that anyone going to a website wants to get a specific piece of information
> >which, if delivered promptly and clearly will result in a purchase.
> >Yeah, and people go to the Armani store because the tags in the clothes are
> >easy to read.
> >I don't remember if the Saturn site had a search function to let someone
> >who just wanted to find out engine displacement or tire brand (there's no
> >reason that a website can't address more than one problem), but buying a
> >car is not a simple, rational choice. Involving people is vital. My
> >suspicion is that the part of Saturn's market that would shop on the web
> >was not disturbed or confused by "saturnic navigation."
> >note new information:
> >Gunnar Swanson Design Office
> >536 Catalina Street
> >Ventura CA 93001-3625
> >v: +1 805 444 4532
> >f: +1 805 715 2005
> >e: gunnar_at_pobox.com
> >director, multimedia program
> >California Lutheran University
> >v: +1 805 493 3241
> >e: gswanson_at_clunet.edu
> note new information:
> Gunnar Swanson Design Office
> 536 Catalina Street
> Ventura CA 93001-3625
> v: +1 805 444 4532
> f: +1 805 715 2005
> e: gunnar_at_pobox.com
> director, multimedia program
> California Lutheran University
> v: +1 805 493 3241
> e: gswanson_at_clunet.edu
Marijke Rijsberman marijke_at_interfacility.com 650-493-5201
- Interfacility - - - - - - - - - - - - http://www.interfacility.com/
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