Protoypes can help designers meet user needs
Before Jeff Hawkins ever started making the original Palm Pilot digital organizer he prototyped it as a block of wood with fake buttons and a paper screen. To this day the Palm Pilot is a successful design of human and computer interaction that remains all too rare, says Stanford computer science Assistant Professor Scott Klemmer. Every time a person uses a computer--a desktop, a cell phone or even a chip-enabled coffee maker--the interaction is specified by an interface designer. These interfaces often fall short or even fail, Klemmer says, because designers overlook the physical nature of human beings and the real world. As computers become ubiquitous, designers must take everyday users into account from the beginning, prototyping extensively to stay attuned human needs and capabilities.
"In naïve techno-utopianism, we just put everything into the land of bits without really thinking about it," says Klemmer, who will speak Feb. 18 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in St. Louis. "Weve lost a lot of the things that we had in the physical world--a lot of the intuitions, a lot of the fidelity of control that our bodies offer."
David Orenstein | EurekAlert!
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