Everyday usability

I have always had an interest in design and usability, I’m not entirely sure where this came from.

At university I took a module on user interface design as part of my degree, and actually picked this to be my major part of my dissertation looking at design patterns in e-commerce web sites.

It was my tutors opening words which resonated with the way I think. He said “Take a ATM machine, does it matter what order we use the ATM”, as I recall the class didn’t think it really mattered.. The tutor then asked “why do you have to take your card before it will give you cash. The majority of users will forget to take the card if the cash is presented first, so by changing the order you can ensure that the card holder receives their card and their cash”. The customer didn’t lose focus once their goal has been achieved.

No doubt this was found by iteration, instances of people reporting their card lost in the ATM, but it makes you think.

He also explained that our brains are wired such that we focus on certain areas of the screen. And in my career I’ve learned that we observe information around objects more closely, and contrast is important to tracking or seeking core messaging.

To summarise

Successful applications is where technology processes are considered with human  psychology (what we do).

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