User Error: Why it's not your fault - Professor Tony Mann | Summary and Q&A

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February 4, 2014
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Gresham College
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User Error: Why it's not your fault - Professor Tony Mann

TL;DR

In this lecture, the speaker explores the topic of human error in the context of computer and interaction design, highlighting the difficulties faced by designers in creating systems that are easy to use and effective.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Why do computer systems often lead to frustration and mistakes?

Computer systems can be frustrating due to a mismatch between users' mental models and how the system actually functions. Designers must ensure that the system aligns with users' expectations and minimizes the risk of errors.

Q: How can interaction designers help users avoid mistakes?

Interaction designers can employ strategies such as providing clear instructions, using confirmation prompts for irreversible actions, and designing interfaces that align with users' existing mental models. The goal is to make the system intuitive and easy to navigate.

Q: Why do users often blame themselves for mistakes?

Users tend to blame themselves for errors because they assume they should understand and successfully navigate the system. Additionally, users often think they are the only ones making the mistake and may not provide feedback to designers.

Q: How can users and designers work together to improve system usability?

Users can share their experiences and strategies for avoiding mistakes through platforms like the Error Diary. Designers can actively seek feedback, conduct usability testing, and prioritize user-centered design principles to create systems that minimize errors.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The speaker discusses their upcoming math and computing lectures, but today's talk focuses on human error, particularly in relation to using computers and difficulties faced by interaction designers.

  • The speaker shares personal anecdotes of making frustrating errors with computer systems, highlighting the importance of effective design in preventing common mistakes.

  • They emphasize the need for designers to create systems that align with users' mental models and the challenges of balancing technical knowledge with understanding the user perspective.

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