A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Soegaard, Mads

10 found.

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The concept of an affordance was coined by the perceptual psychologist James J. Gibson in his seminal book The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. The concept was introduced to the HCI community by Donald Norman in his book The Psychology of Everyday Things from 1988. There has however been ambiguity in Norman's use of the concept, and the concept thus requires a more elaborate explanation.

Soegaard, Mads. Interaction-Design.org (2006). Articles>User Interface>Usability



An artifact simply means any product of human workmanship or any object modified by man. It is used to denote anything from a hammer to a computer system, but it is often used in the meaning 'a tool' in HCI or Interaction Design terminology. The term is also used to denote activities in a design process.

Soegaard, Mads. Interaction-Design.org (2006). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>Usability


Backtalk of a Situation (or Situational Feedback)

Making thoughts, ideas and plans explicit by writing them down or by developing an artifact, we create situations which talk back to us. For example, architects use the backtalk of their work extensively. When sketching, unexpecting patterns emerge, which are incorporated and maybe elaborated on in the drawing. Thus, the act of sketching is not only the conscious act of sketching the intended subject, but an interplay between the sketcher, the materials and possibly other situational constraints.

Soegaard, Mads. Interaction-Design.org (2006). Articles>Human Computer Interaction


Demand Characteristics

Demand Characteristics is a term used in Cognitive Psychology to denote the situation where the results of an experiment are biased because the experimenters' expectancies regarding the performance of the participants on a particular task create an implicit demand for the participants to perform as expected.

Soegaard, Mads. Interaction-Design.org. Articles>Usability>Methods


Featuritis (or Creeping Featurism)

Featuritis or creeping featurism is the tendency for the number of features in a product (usually software product) to rise with each release of the product. What may have been a cohesive and consistent design in the early versions may end up as a patchwork of added features. And with extra features comes extra complexity.

Soegaard, Mads. Interaction-Design.org. Articles>Usability>Interaction Design>Project Management


The History Of Usability: From Simplicity To Complexity

If you expect a “user-friendly” introduction to usability and that the history of usability is full of well-defined concepts and lean methods, you’re in for a surprise. Usability is a messy, ill-defined, and downright confusing concept. The more you think about it—or practice it—the more confusing it becomes. We learned that the history of usability is a “perverse journey from simplicity to complexity”.

Soegaard, Mads. Smashing (2012). Articles>Usability>History



Prototyping is a method used by designers to acquire feedback from users about future designs. Prototypes are similar to mock-ups (see this), but are usually not as low-fidelity as mock-ups and appear slightly later in the design process.

Soegaard, Mads. Interaction-Design.org. Articles>Usability>Prototyping


Reification (to Reify)

In the fields of HCI and interaction design the term is however most often used as 'making something material from something abstract.' In other words 'thingifying' something abstract (like an idea, a work practice, a social relationshiop) or at least making a representation of it.

Soegaard, Mads. Interaction-Design.org. Articles>Human Computer Interaction>Interaction Design



Satisficing describes the situation where people settle with a solution to a problem that is 'good enough.'

Soegaard, Mads. Interaction-Design.org. Articles>Usability>User Experience>Cognitive Psychology


Task-Artifact Cycle

The task-artifact cycle is in other words an iterative process of continuous, mutually dependent development between task and artifact, a process that will never reach an optimum state.

Soegaard, Mads. Interaction-Design.org. Articles>Usability>Methods

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