Designing for Everyday Life:
In past years personal computers became popular, and were mostly used as professional tools, or game machines for the youth. This state has changed radically.
Now everybody—kids, parents, grandparents—uses them every
day, at work, at school, and at home. Thus the design of computer technology has to be different, to make it an extension of the everyday, such as things we own: our clothes, the plates we eat off, etc.
Computer technology needs to be designed as part of everyday culture, to evoke all individuals, so that it has emotive as well as functional qualities.
Three Stages of Technology Use:
David Liddle, led the team that designed the Star graphical user interface, that delineates three stages in the development of a technology—of photography, for instance, or computers—and how people interact with it.
The first stage is the enthusiast stage.
Enthusiasts abnegate if the technology is easy or hard to use, because they’re so excited by the technology itself or its function. They desire it, irrespective of the usability difficulty.
The second stage is the professional stage, when those who use the technology are often not those who buy it. Office computers, for example, are usually chosen by a purchasing department, not by their users; the purchasers don’t care about the difficulty because they don’t experience it, and are anyway more interested in factors like price, performance specifications, or after-sales support.
The third stage is the consumer stage.
Individuals are less interested in the technology in itself than in what it can do for them. Not wanting to spend much time learning how to use it is due to a feeling of subordination. Thus if it is difficult to use, they won’t buy it.
In the past, those who built interactive systems tended to focus on the technology that makes them possible rather than on the interfaces that allow people to use them. Yet a system isn’t complete without the people who use it.
Designing for this diverse humanity is more challenging than devising specialist tools for technical professionals. Arguably, users are not prepared to spend time mastering tricky new systems. And they’re not obliged to use our products: if they can’t make them work, they take them back to the store.