You might think augmented reality is the way of the future, but really, it has its roots in the 20th century. Morton Heilig, the “Father of Virtual Reality,” patented the Sensorama Stimulator, which he called an “experience theater,” on Aug. 28, 1962. Over time, the idea of using technology to create a layer over the real world has been honed and refined and put in our palms, thanks to the proliferation of smartphones.
Summary: Hidden features, reduced discoverability, cognitive overhead from dual environments, and reduced power from a single-window UI and low information density. Too bad.
With the recent launch of Windows 8 and the Surface tablets, Microsoft has reversed its user interface strategy. From a traditional Gates-driven GUI style that emphasized powerful commands to the point of featuritis, Microsoft has gone soft and now smothers usability with big colorful tiles while hiding needed features.
Image: Anoka-Hennepin school district technical support staffers interact from Andover High School with teachers at Blaine High School on the large wall monitors in a telepresence technology presentation Aug. 23, 2012. (Pioneer Press: John Doman)
Anoka-Hennepin ‘telepresence’ allows low-demand subjects to be offered
A handful of classrooms in Anoka-Hennepin high schools might appear equipped for surveillance rather than teaching to students returning from summer vacation next week.
Six giant flat-screens span the space where a podium might otherwise be, and long, semi-circular tables outfitted with built-in microphones stand in place of traditional desks. The rest of the space is empty, devoid of even a single poster on the walls.
Summary: When a multinational company produces a localized country site, usability is often lost. Local advertising agencies design good-looking sites that don’t communicate.
Something was gnawing at me as I observed our last several rounds of international usability studies. Many of the websites we tested around the world had uncommonly low quality — not unlike what we saw in the United States during the 1990s.
Reflecting on this observation, I realized that the worst sites were usually not the truly local sites designed by local businesses or government agencies. Instead, the offenders often came from huge multinational corporations that fielded country sites with horrible usability.
[The following is the second of two articles by college professor and researcher Ben Lewis-Evans on games user research methodology (see Part 1, which covered focus groups, heuristics, and questionnaires, as well as giving a grounding in the topic of user research in general. In this article, Lewis-Evans covers interviews, observational methods (including think out loud and contextual inquiry), game metrics, and biometrics.]
Much like a questionnaire — a topic covered in the last installment — an interview is for collecting subjective data. However, the face-to-face nature of an interview means that you can be more interactive in your data collection, which if done correctly, can lead to very rich data. However, it is also obviously quite time-consuming, and it is harder to analyze and quantify the data you get at the end.
The quality of what you get out of an interview will also depend greatly on your own skill as an interviewer, so here are some tips.
[In this first article in a new series, college professor and user research Ben Lewis-Evans takes a look at different methods of game user research, offering up a handy guide to different ways you can collect useful information about your game.]
This article, and its forthcoming followup, is intended to give a rough idea to developers of several different methods that can be used in games user research.
However, many, many books have been written on research methodology and I cannot cover everything. Therefore these two articles cannot be taken as completely comprehensive.
In the first of the articles I will be covering a few general points about Games User Research and then discussing three methods, focus groups, heuristic evaluation and questionnaires in some detail.
System gives a screen test on how you’ll look with the latest designer eyewear
Window shopping is taking on a new meaning at Bloomingdale’s.
As they get ready for summer, busy New Yorkers now can try on sunglasses without stepping inside the store.
Virtual-reality technology projects designer shades onto shoppers who simply stand in front of the Lexington Ave. windows.
A research group at the University of Tokyo are creating a new paradigm in Human Computer Interaction. Dubbed ‘Invoked Computing’ the idea is to turn everyday objects into computer interfaces and communication devices.
“For example, if you make a gesture, the computer should be able to recognize this as “I want to use the telephone”. So with an iPhone for example, you have everything in a small device and you have to learn how to use it, here we want to do the opposite, the computer will have to learn what you want to do.”