RAA5: Usability of interactive systems: It will get worse before it gets better.


Johnson, J., & Henderson, A. (2012). Usability of interactive systems: It will get worse before it gets better. Journal of Usability Studies, 7 (3), 88–93.

I think what will be a better article to end this semester than an article about the history on Usability of interactive design and what is the trend for future interactive system. I never think this could be the case for Usability, but the result is surprising to me.

After 30 years of first CHI (Computer Human Interaction) conference, we can assume the world, especially in industry should clearly see the important of user-centered UX design. Many company are rushing to create these own UX design department over the decades. But this article’s literature indicates more and more cases company roll out new product with little or no consideration of interaction between the users and the company products.

Why would company do that? One good example the author listed, a brand new toaster with 14 different button and LED display. Really?! Companies need to roll out new product to drive sale, but companies do not need to scarify the user’s need. Users are not coming to buy a computer, but an useful product to fit their needs. Instead companies are trying to reshape the user’s thinking, if the product is hard to use, oh well it is assume that user made a mistake.

Top or Bottom: Your Choice?

Another cause of producing bad interactive product directly relate to UX designer’s decision making power in the company. In many companies decision making rely on manager or executive level, without a great support on UX design is hard for company to create pleasure to use product. And I can speak from my own experience, many time manager or maybe a project team comes seek help for advise on interactive design, but at the end, most of the suggestions are ignore and create product in their own opinion. Sometime even the same people come for help end up angry on the UX designer.

We should be a team, let UX designers do their part to help creating greater user experience, so that other team members can do what they are best. A great product can become a better product at the end.

[Images thanks to http://4.bp.blogspot.com/__GzFWVCm8Rw/SyjIGa20AdI/AAAAAAAADAY/J58pEVq-fU4/s1600/toaster3.jpg

http://www.cuisinart.com/share/images/products/zoom/cpt-440.jpg%5D

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