Technology has had a big impact on society, as it has made many drastic improvements to the way life in general has changed and improved so much. For instance, technology has improved usability of software and hardware in society. In addition specialised interfaces have helped people with disabilities enabling diversity to take place.
Describe the impact of HCI on society, the economy and culture, providing 5 (five) examples of each topic.
Touch screen phones, using phones is now easier because of the touch screens
Game controllers, game controls allow you to play a game and connect with others by sending messages or attaching a microphone to it to talk
Remote control, allows you to remotely control something without being right next to the thing you want to control
Head up Display, would be good for drivers since they won’t have to look away from the road to see how fast they’re going
Text readers, also known as text to speech
Voice input, example telling a lamp to switch off and it switches off
Thought input, wheel chair users will have the ability to control their wheel chair by just thinking about it
Mobile communication, ability to call or text anyone world wide
Reduced complexity of input, everything is simple and requires no more than 2-3 options of input
Games, allow people to connect with each other allowing one another to have an open mind and talk to different people with different opinions and thoughts
Deskilling work, androids/robots will replace the easy things humans do, e.g. at tesco and a few other places you can serve yourself and self-checkout
Mobile entertainment, you’re now able to watch videos about different cultures with your mobile
Laptops, ability to search the internet, interact with others, watch videos
Domestic appliances, things like microwaves & diswashers
Task 2 (P2)
Considering that the HCI design principles create a big impact on a user’s experience of a hardware and software product, explain the Schneiderman (eight rules) and Nielsen’s ten usability heuristics principles. Remember to explain perception, behaviour models and information processing.
Strive for consistency: either it be the consistent same lay out or colours, or the identical terminology used in menus, prompts and help screens, if it is in a similar situation it should all be the same or somewhat similar.
Enable frequent users to use shortcuts: A regular user of a device or a certain type of application should have the ability to have a shortcut to things they use the most; this would speed up the work flow.
Offer informative feedback: When a user is interacting with their device or application, they should receive feedback that gives them a clear representation and is also understandable.
Design dialog to yield closure: A users gets a good feeling when they know there is a flow to what ever they’re doing, that everything is in a chain, one thing has to happen in order for another. For example, sending a message on an application such as ‘whatsapp’ first you need to add the contact, then the message it’s self, and then after you’ve sent the message it shows a ‘D’ letting you know it’s been delivered.
Offer simple error handling: If something goes wrong with a device, a simple type of hint should pop up to help the user with the problem that occurred. If a certain app crashes it should ask the user if they’d like a error report to be sent.
Permit easy reversal of actions: In other words ‘undo’ this is needed in a HCI because it would prevent any permanent mistakes.
Support internal locus of control: a user should receive some what a type of display letting the user know that something is actually happening. Let’s say a user attempts to open a app and the app is taking a few seconds to get ready and open up, the user would instinctually think the app didn’t respond to his/her touch so he/she will attempt to reopen the app multiple times until the app malfunctions.
Reduce short-term memory load: When a user is using a device they shouldn’t be thinking about the amount of times they’ll need to push a button or what not, it should be a simple click of a button, and with menus it shouldn’t require a button push to go up or down it should be a simple scroll bar.
Nielsen’s ten usability heuristics principles
Visibility of System Status: The system should have a certain type of way to let the user know what is happening and with a good time.
Match between system and the real world: The system should be able to speak the users language, with the correct words and the right concepts and with the right time, so it is communicating clearly with the user
User control and freedom: Sometimes when you’re using a device in a rush you tend to open random applications and then you have the ability to instantly abort the application, without having to go through the process of the extended dialogue.
Consistency and standards: The system should always have continuity across the platform.
Error prevention: The better the design is the one with the better error recovery, but also prevents users from making the same errors twice.
Recognition rather than recall: The user shouldn’t have to remember the information from dialogue to another, it should all be recognisable and visible to the user.
Flexibility and efficiency of use: The system should have accelerators, which are unseen to the regular user but they allow the expert user to do things and navigate faster with more frequent actions.
Aesthetic and minimalist design: Dialogues shouldn’t contain information that is not needed in that specific area, you should always make sure your system is efficiently composed.
Help users recognise, diagnose and recover from errors: Error messages and error prompt boxes should explain the problem in plain language without code, and should also precisely indicate whatever the problem may be and also give advice to the user on a solution.
Help and documentation: Although a system is better without documentation, it might be necessary to provide the help and documentation, so that any such information should be easily searched for and found. It should also be focused on what the user’s task is and list the steps to be carried out.
Task 3 (P3)
McCann Phones – a small and up and coming new mobile phone producer – has decided to develop a new mobile phone interface for its next series of mobile phones to replace its highly successful first range. The developers have come up with three possible interfaces and they need to decide which one to use. It has been decided to carry out an investigation on the alternatives prior to production. You have the support of the software engineers and production manager so prototypes will be made available to you. As you are the resident usability evaluator it is your task to carry out any necessary survey work and to come up with proposal.
Here are the three possible interfaces:
The convention qwerty keyboard as used in most computer systems.
An alphabetical keyboard (a, b, c, d, e,…,z)
A keyboard based on frequency of character us (e, t, a, o, n, r…z)
Design the input and output of your mobile prototype. Choose one of the suggested interfaces and explain why.
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Clicking either one of these buttons will open up a certain app/webpage, depending on the one you click, for instance if you click on the one with ‘f’ will open up a ‘Facebook’ app or webpage.
Reason why I’ve added this to my mobile prototype is because people now use these two to communicate with each other, with the button input being there, it’ll allow you to get in contact faster and easier considering all you’d have to do is click a button.
Task 4 (P4)
The knob in the centre of this washing machine system controls the different fabric washing systems and the settings for rinse and spin. The control does not have a stop in either direction; in other words it continues to go all the way round to the next cycle.
Create input and output for this machine which would be best for adjusting the cycle according to the fabric, temperature, speed and timer. You could draw a picture to help you explain the reasons. Provide two new ideas that are not available in the industry.
Below is what my design would look like and I will be explaining the two things that I’ve implemented into my design that haven’t been used in the industry.
2. Touch screen, everything you input will be touch done via the new sleek touch screen design.
Child lock passcode, this will be programmed in a way that it will be child proof, for example if you want to lock your machine after it has started and keep every button locked, you’ll enter the child lock. It is designed in a way so that no matter what you push nothing will be happening but to deactivate the lock you’ll first have to enter the first 2 digits right, this will then enable you to see what you’re inputting and then you enter the rest of your passlock to unlock the machine. G:Unit 23 – HCITask 4 – Design 1.png
Task 5 (P5)
Based on the case scenario before, explain how you would test your system according to its functionality. Comment on the usefulness of such system and point out any drawbacks.
Testing the system child lock
To test the system you’ll first have to enter a child lock pass lock and then attempt to push any of the touch screen buttons and see if anything happens, and nothing should happen if the system is correctly made. This will be useful considering little children love to stand beside the washing machine when it’s spinning and tend to push buttons, but with the child lock they won’t be able to push any buttons.
The downside to this system is that the password is 4 digits long and to have half access to the system you’ll have to correctly enter the first 2 digits otherwise you’d just be pushing the keys and nothing would be happening, so the drawback would be if you forgot the passcode you would have to end up calling the company to come and reset your password.
Testing the touch screen
To test this you’ll have to push what you want, for example, cotton, with 50 degrees Celsius and then on high spin, if the system is working properly it would input the material first and then the temperature and then lastly the amount of spins it will be doing. The touch screen with the options is useful because it’s simple to use and you can adjust it to the way you want it and won’t have to clock the washing machine knob to the way you want it, you just have to input the things you want with a touch of a button.
The big drawback to having a touch screen is that if it is dented or broken it will be not be operating properly, it probably won’t even be operating at all, so you won’t be able to input anything.
Task 6 (P6)
Bionic vision was once the preserve of futuristic technology shows. However, those “Tomorrow’s World” days could soon be reality with a pair of glasses linked to a computer offering hope to thousands of visually impaired people in Britain.
Current technology that can give profoundly visually impaired people a form of sight through a retinal implant is expensive and invasive, so developing an affordable, non-invasive alternative would be a welcome improvement.
And this is exactly what scientists at the University of Oxford are working on. The technology works by having a tiny video camera mounted on to a pair of glasses, which relays information to a small computer in the user’s pocket. The computer recognises objects or people and relays the information to the lenses via tiny LED lights. (Light-emitting diode).
“People would see a bright light within the lenses themselves to indicate an object. The brightness of the light would then indicate how close, or how far away the object was and that may be enough for the wearer to navigate their way around. Using a computer to interpret the world on behalf of the wearer means we could use different coloured lights in the lenses to allow different types of information to be fed back to the wearer” explains Dr. Stephen Hicks, research associate in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Oxford.
“The advances in mobile phone and computer game technology, such as face recognition, tracking software and depth sensors enable the visually impaired to access a whole new host of possibilities”. (Extract from Metro, September 19, 2001)
Explain how you would design the device and document how you would consider the input, output, the quantitative measures and qualitative measures of effectiveness of your product.
This would be designed on a pair of glasses with a lens that is 5cm thick, it would need to be sort of thick to fit in a pair of small LCD screen into each of the lens.
The input and out put would work in a way with different bright colours, for example if the area is clear of objects and people it would be a black light with a blue light highlighting the walls so that the user of the glasses doesn’t bump into the walls, and if the user is near people it would be a black light with green light highlighting approximately where the object or person is so that the user doesn’t bump into them.
If it’s dark at night instead of the backgrounds being black they would be white and objects, people and walls would be highlighted with purple.
The glasses would also be implemented with a vibrator and a sound card to make beeping noises when someone gets close to an object within a close radius of 50 centre meters, and depending on how low/high the object is, it will make a beep & vibrate, the user has the ability to switch one of these of. Each beep and vibrate will have a different meaning for example if a object is really close to the person and they can walk over it, it would simple beep twice and vibrate twice, just in case they didn’t hear the beep.
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Ear piece attached to the glasses that goes into the users ear, it sends beeping signals depending on the diameter of how close they are to a object, they can get the settings changed from where they where given the product, just in case the beeping gets annoying or they want to change the frequency of the beeping.
LCD screen projecting lights, black background, with green to represent a object. If the person that is vision impaired isn’t impaired badly, then they can ask someone to change the settings of the screen so that the black background is taken away and it is just see through but it would still highlight objects as green.
If the person that is vision impaired is badly impaired, no need to worry their is a ear piece that also helps, with beeping when coming in close contact to a object.
Submission Date: Week commencing, 22nd October 2012 in class
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Grbich, C. (2007). Qualitative Data Analysis: an introduction. London, Sage Publications Ltd.
Hart, C. (2005). Doing your Masters Dissertation. London, Sage Publications Ltd.
Abdullah, F. (2006). “Measuring Service Quality in higher education: HEdPERF versus SERVPERF.” Marketing Intelligence and Planning 24(1): 31-47.
Bignold, D. (2006). “Schooled and Tooled.” Caterer & Hotelkeeper 10th August 2006: 23-26.