What Is the Relationship Between HCI Research and UX Practice? by Stuart Reeves
From the post:
Human-computer interaction (HCI) is a rapidly expanding academic research domain. Academic institutions conduct most HCI research—in the US, UK, Europe, Australasia, and Japan, with growth in Southeast Asia and China. HCI research often occurs in Computer Science departments, but retains its historically strong relationship to Psychology and Human Factors. Plus, there are several large, prominent corporations that both conduct HCI research themselves and engage with the academic research community—for example, Microsoft Research, PARC, and Google.
If you aren’t concerned with the relationship between HCI research and UX practice you should be.
I was in a meeting discussing the addition of RDFa to ODF when a W3C expert commented that the difficulty users have with RDFa syntax was a “user problem.”
Not to pick on RDFa, I think many of us in the topic map camp felt that users weren’t putting enough effort into learning topic maps. (I will only confess that for myself. Others can speak for themselves.)
Anytime an advocate and/or developer takes the view that syntax, interfaces or interaction with a program is a “user problem,” they pointing the wrong way with the stick.
They should be pointing at the developers, designers, advocates who have not made interaction with their program/software intuitive for the “targeted audience.”
If your program is a LaTeX macro targeted at physicists who eat LaTeX for breakfast, lunch and dinner, that’s one audience.
If your program is an editing application is targeted at users crippled by the typical office suite menus, then you had best make different choices.
That is assuming that use of your application is your measure of success.
Otherwise you can strive to be the second longest running non-profitable software project (Xandu, started in 1960 has first place) in history.
Rather than being right, or saving the world, or any of the other …ologies, I would prefer to have software that users find useful and do in fact use.
Use is pre-condition to any software or paradigm changing the world.
PS: Don’t get me wrong, Xandu is a great project but its adoption of web browsers as means of delivery is a mistake. True, they are everywhere but also subject to the crippled design of web security which prevents transclusion. Which ties you to a server where the NSA can more conveniently scoop up your content.
Better would be a document browser that uses web protocols and ignores web security rules, thus enabling client-side transclusion. Fork one of the open source browsers and be done with it. Only use digitally signed PDFs or from particular sources. Once utility is demonstrated in a PDF-only universe, the demand will grow for extending it to other sources as well.
True, some EU/US trade delegates and others will get caught in phishing schemes but I consider that grounds for dismissal and forfeiture of all retirement benefits. (Yes, I retain a certain degree of users be damned but not about UI/UX experiences. 😉 )
My method of avoiding phishing schemes is to never follow links in emails. If there is an offer I want to look at, I log directly into the site from my browser and not via email. Even for valid messages, which they rarely are.
I first saw this in a tweet by Raffaele Boiano.