Monthly Archives: August 2011

Developers work slower on programs that are slow

After about 10 seconds of waiting, a person’s attention begins to drift to other things. Others have written articles on the subject in the context of computer systems, but the same things has been observed by psychologists in a range … Continue reading

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Strange interaction models are convenient for developers, but costly to users

When users want to pay cash at a self-checkout lane, the machine asks them to enter coins first, followed by bills. From the perspective of the user, this is counter-intuitive: when paying a cashier, typically the largest denominations are given … Continue reading

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Self-checkout systems are slower than cashiers, especially for novices

One of the best ways to study the usability of an existing system is to watch real users using it. The techniques are most often discussed in the context of software, but usability plays a role in designing other types … Continue reading

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