5 random links about design

Written on 6 February 2017, 10:31pm

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1. When bad design leads to catastrophes

The Three Mile Island accident was a partial nuclear meltdown that occurred on March 28, 1979, in reactor number 2 of Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station (TMI-2) in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, United States. It was the most significant accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant history. […]
The mechanical failures were compounded by the initial failure of plant operators to recognize the situation as a loss-of-coolant accident due to inadequate training and human factors, such as human-computer interaction design oversights relating to ambiguous control room indicators in the power plant’s user interface. […]
Despite the valve being stuck open, a light on the control panel ostensibly indicated that the valve was closed. In fact the light did not indicate the position of the valve, only the status of the solenoid being powered or not, thus giving false evidence of a closed valve.
Three Mile Island accident

2. How to deal with the paradox of choice

Reducing the number of choices for a user has, therefore, become the focus for many of today’s apps. This has been done in a number of ways:
1. Make the options more relevant (personalized recommendations)
2. or go a step further by making decisions on the user’s behalf, totally removing the burden of choice (ex. Google Now)
This notion of making decisions for users has been called “anticipatory design” and has become a topic of debate because of the ethics involved in making decisions on behalf of users
How To Build Honest UIs And Help Users Make Better Decisions

3. Anticipatory Design: Design that’s one step ahead of you

Through great design, no instruction is needed and everything is intuitive. But at its core, user experience has been about presenting the user with information and options so she can make a decision.
Anticipatory design is fundamentally different: decisions are made and executed on behalf of the user. The goal is not to help the user make a decision, but to create an ecosystem where a decision is never made—it happens automatically and without user input.

Take booking a flight as an example. Rather than being given options—airline, time, seat location—an anticipatory approach would be to automatically monitor the user’s calendar, and book a ticket when a meeting is scheduled in a location that requires air travel. Seat preference, preferred airlines, the decision between price and a specific flight time are all based on prior travel behavior and payment information can be electronically transmitted. Since anticipation is based on prior knowledge, the user may initially be asked for feedback on the choice before or after booking, but once the system is reasonably accurate the job will be done without question. The result is a fully designed system that performs a powerful set of functionality without the need for step-by-step interaction.

We can see the beginning stages of anticipatory design hitting the mainstream market in the form of greater personalization. Amazon’s recommended products and Netflix’s top picks offer us choices based on previous purchases and viewing habits, are shaping what we expect from online services.

The Next Big Thing In Design? Less Choice

4. Design for emotion vs design to deceive

These dark patterns trick unsuspecting users into a gamut of actions: setting up recurring payments, purchasing items surreptitiously added to a shopping cart, or spamming all contacts through prechecked forms on Facebook games.
Dark Patterns are designed to trick you (and they’re all over the Web)

5. The Art of Design

The Art of Design follows eight creative thinkers through their philosophy and creative process to the end product – from cars to photographs to shoes. Each episode is a free-standing documentary from a different director, and hopes to relieve the boredom found so often in other design documentaries: unintelligible conversations, long shots of a sculpture or building, and not much else.
Netflix’s new eight part documentary series – February 10, 2017

Credit: interfacelift.com

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