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Item 2 Q1 – Activities

Automatic Cars are a surprisingly common product found in our every day surroundings. By being an Automatic car, it reduces the Cognitive load placed in the driver, especially in the case of Learner drivers as they do not need to learn how to use gears. Automatic cars also reduce the Kinematic Load placed in drivers as they do not have to physically change gears at any point throughout their drive.

Automatic Driving Lessons Warwick. (2008). Retrieved from Crystal Driving School website: http://www.crystaldrivingschool.co.uk/automatic-warwick-driving-lessons.php

Power steering is a common feature in cars today, many of us won’t buy a car without it as it greatly reduces Kinematic Load whilst driving. Power steering makes driving a car much easier as you are not forced to put any real effort into steering during your drive. It lessens the strain on the driver and makes the drive an easier experience.

VW: Steering wheel suggests counter steering. (2006). Retrieved from Foursprung website:

http://www.foursprung.com/2006/12/vw-steering-wheel-suggests-counter.html

Power Windows are an effective way to reduce Kinematic strain on the driver and passengers of a car. In older models of cars the user would have to manually wind down the window, whereas with Power Windows they need only press a button. It could also be said that Power Windows reduce Cognitive strain on the driver as they are not required to focus on anything more than the road, and the act of pushing a button does not risk breaking concentration.

Isuzu Trucks: N-series features. (2009). Retrieved from Isuzu Trucks website: http://nvisuzutrucks.com/nseries/n_features.html

 
 

Q1 – Summary

This article analyses the importance of consistency in designs and usability in modern day technology. Consistency is an important part of how we function in day to day life as we become conditioned to expect certain consistencies in certain situations or technologies. For example we expect, when driving, that all warning signs and stop signs will be displayed in red as it draws our attention and we are conditioned to view red as a warning colour. However consistency can stretch across several areas and this is most commonly seen in technology, ‘for example, videocassette recorder control symbols, such as for rewind, play, forward, are now used on devices ranging from slide projectors to MP3 music players’ (Lidwell, W. (2003) pp. 46). If someone were to release an MP3 player that was not consistent with the controls of previous models, forcing people to relearn how to use them, this model would sell very poorly. Also touched upon in this article is the use of Aesthetic consistency, when consistent style and appearance are important. This can be seen in many Apple products, as many of their MP3 players have very similar physical qualities and controls and every Apple product is stamped with the Apple symbol. Consistency is also commonly seen in website design to enable the user to more easily and fluently navigate the website and obtain information. Should certain features of a website be constantly shifted around the page, the user will often have to pause and search for the features needed which can create difficulty and frustration, ‘For example, a user who encounters the “Search” at the top right on one page will have problems if it’s arbitrarily moved to different locations on other pages of the site.’ (Gaffney, G. (2005).

Pulman, S. (2010). Aesthetic consistency across platforms.  Retrieved from the Transmythology website: http://transmythology.com/2010/08/24/aesthetic-consistency-across-platforms/

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Aesthetic-Usability Effect. In Universal Principles of Design (pp. 46). Massachusetts: Rockport

 Schmidt, Kristi E (30/06/2009). “Webpage aesthetics, performance and usability: design variables and their effects”. Ergonomics (0014-0139), 52 (6), 631.

Gaffney, G. (2005). Why Consistency is Critical. Retrieved from Site Point website: http://www.sitepoint.com/why-consistency-is-critical/

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2011 in Week 10 Consistency

 

Q2 – Examples

Almost any Apple product is a fine example of consistency within technology with each Apple product following a similar design and with almost identical controls. The appearance and usability of Apple products has become immediately recognisable to users across the globe, with the on screen display and controls remaining consistent with Apple Ipods. Likewise the Apple computer, with its immediately recognisable interface has become favoured by many users for its simplicity and layout. Should Apple computers suddenly choose to change their entire interface this could cause many problems for users as the design will not be consistent with previous models and will force the user to relearn how to operate the system. 

APPLE iPod Classic 160GB Silver. (2011). Retrieved from Dick Smith website:

http://dicksmith.com.au/product/A9075/apple-ipod-classic-160gb-silver

The Microsoft Windows interface is one of the most easily recognisable interfaces in the computing world. Over the years the Microsoft has made quite a few changes in how its operating system works, however these changes have been quite gradual over the years and many of the main features have remained the same. It you were to compare Windows 98 with Windows 7 you would find that Windows 7 has more features, a different layout and different features. However many of the iconic Windows features have remained the same, such as the Windows logo, the ‘start’ icon being present and located at the bottom left of the screen and the organisation and location of files and documents. Should Microsoft choose to suddenly scrap their current Windows layout and interface, abandoning all consistencies with previous versions and create an entirely new one, this new version of Windows would risk being poorly received by users.

Microsoft windows. (2011). Retrieved from Microsoft Windows website:

            http://windows.microsoft.com/en-AU/windows/home

Red is most commonly recognised as a warning sign in our society. It is not unusual for us to see a red sign while driving and, before we have even red it, instantly view it as a warning. This is because we are conditioned to view red as a warning (except on Valentines day). If the colour red was suddenly changed to being a good thing, and the colour green adopted as being the warning colour, it would take some time for people to adapt, and this could be dangerous for many drivers on the road. Because we are conditioned to expect red to mean ‘warning’, this must remain consistent in order to maintain safety in dangerous environments.

24″ x 24″ Reflective Aluminum STOP sign: Stop Do Not Enter. (2011). Retrieved from Stop Sign Xpress website:http://www.stopsignxpress.com/Stop-Signs-EG/Stop-Do-Not-Enter-Sign/SKU-K-2105.aspx

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2011 in Week 10 Consistency

 

Q1 – Summary

The article Aesthetic-Usability and effect speaks about the relevance and importance of aesthetically and visually appealing technology and information. A simple definition of the Aesthetic-Usability effect is given by Mark Boulton in his article Aesthetic Usability effect: ‘The Aesthetic-Usability Effect is a condition whereby users perceive more aesthetically pleasing designs to be easier to use than less aesthetically pleasing designs.’ (Boulton. 2005) Items that are visually appealing are better received and sold than those that are not visually appealing, even if they are in fact more difficult to use. This article sheds light on the peculiar effect of visually appealing technologies and our acceptance of them, even if the technology is flawed – ‘Aesthetic designs are more effective at fostering positive attitudes than unaesthetic designs, and make people more tolerant of design problems.’ (Lidwell, W. 2003) The same principle applies to Web Pages, as stated by Yili Liu’s Webpage aesthetics, performance and usability. Web pages that are not cluttered with useless images and information are easier for the reader to scan for information, as according to Yili Liu’s article ‘users spend 46 s viewing each page’ (Liu, 2009. p. 631-643). With this small window of opportunity, web pages must be able to swiftly communicate important information that can be ‘scanned’ by the reader within this time frame. As a result if a webpage is cluttered with information, the reader is less likely to engage with the information presented. The more simple the layout of a form of technology or webpage, the more appealing it is to the consumer, and in David Lawrence’s book Balanced website design : optimising aesthetics, usability and purpose it is stated thatstructured, stepped, and iterative approaches and a sharp focus on defining and achieving the desired characteristics of purpose, usability and aesthetics – absolutely essential requirements for any website’ (Lawrence, 2007) By making technology and information aesthetically pleasing to the consumer there is a greater chance of positive reception and success.

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Aesthetic‐Usability Effect. In Universal Principles of Design (pp.

18‐19). Massachusetts: Rockport 

Lawrence, David. (2007). Balanced website design: optimising aesthetics, usability and purpose. London:

Springer.  http://library.ecu.edu.au/record=b1742540 

Liu, Yili. (2009). Webpage aesthetics, performance and usability: design variables and their effects

http://0-www.tandfonline.com.library.ecu.edu.au/doi/full/10.1080/00140130802558995 

 Boulton, M. (2005). Aesthetic Usability Effect. Retrieved from Mark Boulton website:

http://www.markboulton.co.uk/journal/comments/aesthetic-usability-effect

 Towers, A. (2010). Aesthetic-Usability Effect. Retrieved from Usability Friction website:

http://usabilityfriction.com/2010/03/30/aesthetic-usability-effect/

 
 

Q2 – Examples

The Apple Ipod ‘Classic’ can be viewed as an example of an everyday technology which meets the aesthetic-usability effect. The simplistic design of the Ipod Classic gives the appearance that it is easy to use, and the wide list of features makes it more appealing to users. The ‘sleek’ look of the Ipod, despite its many features makes it appealing because it gives the impression that anyone can use it with ease. Despite many of the known problems with the Ipod (screen freezing, etc.) It is still widely favoured over other MP3 players simply for its image. It is seen as more favourable to have an Ipod rather than an Iriver, even though the Iriver is believed to have fewer problems.

APPLE iPod Classic 160GB Silver. (2011). Retrieved from Dick Smith website:http://dicksmith.com.au/product/A9075/apple-ipod-classic-160gb-silver

Aesthetic usability does not just apply to small pieces of technology. The Ferrari has been a long time favourite to car enthusiasts because of its sleek and somewhat simple outer design. However in this case the aesthetic qualities are actually useful and not just for show. By having the outer surface of the car smooth and flowing it increases the air flow around the car enabling it to travel faster with little wind resistance. If you were to compare this car to an old pickup truck, many people would still choose the Ferrari simply because of the iconic style and physical appearance of the car, even though the pickup truck may prove to be more useful.

Apples new Macbook Air laptop. (2010). Retrieved from Primo! Magazine website: http://primomag.com.au/2010/10/22/apples-new-macbook-air-laptop/

Aesthetic usability does not just apply to small pieces of technology. The Ferrari has been a long time favourite to car enthusiasts because of its sleek and somewhat simple outer design. However in this case the aesthetic qualities are actually useful and not just for show. By having the outer surface of the car smooth and flowing it increases the air flow around the car enabling it to travel faster with little wind resistance. If you were to compare this car to an old pickup truck, which do you think would be more aesthetically pleasing, even if the pickup truck may be more useful?

 Scuderia Ferarri Insurance. (2011). Retrieved from Ride your insurance website: http://rideyourinsurance.com/scuderia-ferrari-insurance/