Last changed 07 Oct 1997 ............... Length about 350 words (2500 bytes).
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The changing focus of user centered design in HCI, CAL, and WWW design.

by Steve Draper, University of Glasgow

A talk to COGS , University of Sussex, 4pm Tues 14 Oct 1997.


In what might now be thought of as classic HCI, the focus of UCSD (user centered system design) was to reduce the usability problems (costs). In CAL, where I have worked on evaluation methods, the focus has turned out to be utility: optimising benefits to learners. Failure to support them successfully is usually the bottleneck, not minimising their keystrokes or puzzlement at labels or icons. ( Laurillard's model seems helpful here, and also replaces the notion of a single user task with that of 12 activities all of which contribute to the single aim of learning.) Recent work on designing web sites for university departments suggests that yet another focus is the key issue here: that of supporting communication between two parties at low costs and high utility for them, on behalf of third parties or "brokers". Thus contrary to what the parties have believed, this is not a problem of writing some HTML code, nor of doing document layout. It is one where serious requirements capture work and end user testing are more, not less, necessary than in many heavy computer applications.

Findings include:


HCI Human Computer Interaction
CAL Computer Assisted Learning, or any use of computers to support learning.
WWW World Wide Web
UCSD User Centered System Design, or (University of California, San Diego)