Toward developer-focussed Fluid awareness videos
Paul.Zablosky at ubc.ca
Fri Sep 19 18:18:04 UTC 2008
This is a really intriguing proposal and presents some interesting
challenges. Is there a standard set of "ways of forming mental
representations" on which the characters in the grabber video can be
Peter Rowley wrote:
> The subject approximately describes a mini project I've been
> discussing with a few Fluid folks, including Colin and Jess, and some
> people at York. Put in simplest terms, the long-term goal is to
> create material that will encourage large numbers of open-source
> developers to spend more time creating usable and accessible
> interfaces for their software.
> Short-term, the goal is to create:
> - A short video (30-60 seconds is the target) that will be a quick
> way of getting a developer to think "I want to know more". I call it
> - Two somewhat longer (2-3 minutes each) videos, one on UX issues and
> one on accessibility issues, both stressing the value of attending to
> them and a little on how quite a lot can be done with a basic
> - These would then lead the developer into sets of resources
> (content, tools, communities) that will help the developer spend at
> least a little of their time improving the usability of their products
> There are multimedia staff at York that I can work with to create
> these materials, but of course getting the script right is key and
> that's where I'm looking to the Fluid community's expertise.
> My initial approach to creating the "grabber" video is based on:
> - one of the principles of good UI design: make the invisible
> visible. For software, that means creating representations of an
> important part of system state.
> - the belief that one of the principal reasons that, for example, I
> would create some software that you would find unusable is that you
> and I think about the relevant application domain in different ways
> (e.g. with different vocabularies, different sets of tasks, different
> ways of combining tasks, different levels of skill in understanding
> the objects in the domain and how they interact)
> So, I'm thinking that it would make sense to start with a UX segment
> -- that attempts to depict how one person's mental representation of
> an application domain can be very different from someone else's
> representation of that domain. As an example, maybe I think of
> objects in a room as a list of quadruples of coordinates and someone
> else thinks of them as shapes on a surface.
> Cinematically, you could show two people arranging furniture and zoom
> into one head to show lists of coordinate quadruples (OK, this
> example is a little artificial) and into the other to show shapes on
> a surface. You then show the first (coordinate-centered) person
> walking over to a laptop and generating software for that application
> domain, which of course would work in terms of coordinates. You then
> show the second person getting that software and being confused by
> how it works (and ultimately walking away from the software). Then
> you zoom out and see more people on screen -- but just a few of them
> think in terms of coordinates and a lot of people think in terms of
> shapes and then the crowd walks away from the software. I'm thinking
> this would be best done with an animated style of presentation, but
> there might be ways to do it with images of real people.
> Then, you have an accessibility segment that is structured similarly,
> but this time it's the developer's model of *operating* a computer
> that is different in some important ways from the models of others,
> e.g. people who have a hard time seeing the difference between red
> and green or (like me) a small font. Again, the developer writes
> software to operate according to his/her model and the user has
> trouble with it because it doesn't support their model. And, again,
> the result is a crowd of users walking away from the software.
> Then the grabber video could end with something like "There are good
> ways of understanding enough about users so they don't walk away from
> your software. For more, visit www.fluidproject.org/resources "
> So, four big questions:
> - What do you think of the basic idea? Are there ways it could be
> - Which application domain would make sense to use? Something
> specific like learning management systems (or even Sakai) or
> something more general like furniture placement?
> - Do you think a cinematic style that has "real people" -- perhaps
> with cartoon bubbles to show the mental representations -- would be
> more compelling than the approach given above? Are there ways to
> give the segments more emotional impact?
> - Would http://wiki.fluidproject.org/display/fluid/User+Experience be
> the right place on the wiki to anchor material for this effort, e.g.
> script proposals?
> Thanks for your time!
> Peter Rowley
> York University
> prowley at yorku.ca
> fluid-work mailing list
> fluid-work at fluidproject.org
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