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Which clippings match 'Rich User Experience' keyword pg.1 of 1
23 OCTOBER 2014

Describing social and material interactions through formal methods

"To some extent, Formal Methods sit uneasily within interaction design. Human beings are rich, complex, nuanced, engaged in subtle and skilful social and material interactions; reducing this to any sort of formal description seems at best simplistic. And yet that is precisely what we have to do once we create any sort of digital system: whether an iPhone or an elevator, Angry Birds or Facebook, software is embedded in our lives. However much we design devices and products to meet users' needs or enrich their experiences of life, still the software inside is driven by the soulless, precise, and largely deterministic logic of code. If you work with computers, you necessarily work with formalism.

Formal Methods sit in this difficult nexus between logic and life, precision and passion, both highlighting the contradictions inherent in interaction design and offering tools and techniques to help understand and resolve them.

In fact, anyone engaged in interaction design is likely to have used some kind of formal representation, most commonly some sort of arrow and sketch diagram showing screens/pages in an application and the movements between them. While there are many more complex formal notations and methods, these simple networks of screens and links demonstrate the essence of a formal representation. Always, some things are reduced or ignored (the precise contents of screens), whilst others are captured more faithfully (the pattern of links between them). This enables us to focus on certain aspects and understand or analyse those aspects using the representation itself (for example notice that there are some very long interaction paths to quite critical screens)."

(Alan J. Dix, 2013)

Dix, Alan J. (2013): Formal Methods. In: Soegaard, Mads and Dam, Rikke Friis (eds.). "The Encyclopedia of Human–Computer Interaction, 2nd Ed.". Aarhus, Denmark: The Interaction Design Foundation. Available online at https://www.interaction–


abstract system models • Alan Dix • arrow and sketch diagram • context awareness • context-aware interfaces • design methods • design products • deterministic logic • dialogue models • digital devices • digital interactions • digital system • executable models • formal abstraction • formal analysis • formal description • formal design methods • formal methods • formal notation • formal representations • formalised principleshuman-computer interactioninteraction designInteraction Design Foundation • material interactions • notation • physical context • physical interactionphysigrams • product design process • product development methodologyrepresentationrich descriptionsrich user experienceshaping our relationship to the material worldsocial interactionssoftware modellingspace syntax • specification language • state machines • state transition network • structured approach • system behaviour • tangible interfacestechnology affordancesusability testinguser experienceuser-based evaluationworld around us • world representations


Simon Perkins
30 JUNE 2011

Beyond Usability: Process, Outcome and Affect in human computer interactions

"Currently, our best theories are limited in terms of their applicability to design. However, we cannot retreat into the easy empiricism of current usability perspectives where everything is measured in terms of effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction. Theory building must occur if we are to have long term impact and the diversity of experiences users can have with technology are not simply reduced to these operational criteria. We need to stretch our conception of interaction beyond performance and simple likes/dislikes. I argue for a richer sense of user experience, one that allows for aesthetics as much as efficiency and the creation of community discourse forms over time as much as the measurement of effectiveness in a single task. There is much work ahead but unless we embrace these issues as part of our research agenda, then the study of HCI will forever be piecemeal and weak, and its results will find little positive reception among the many designers and consumers who could most benefit from them."

(Andrew Dillon)

Dillon, A. (2001) Beyond usability: process, outcome and affect in human–computer interactions. Canadian Journal of Library and Information Science, 26(4), 57–69.

[Dillon argues for a richer sense of what constitutes web usability and resists the easy empiricism espoused by most usability engineers.]



aestheticsamateurism • Andrew Dillon • crisis of empiricism • cult of the amateur • diversity of experienceseasy empiricism • effectiveness • efficiencyengineeringHCImeasurementoperational criteriaperformanceperformativitypseudo science of web usabilitypseudosciencepsychologyrich user experiencesatisfactionsimple evaluationssingle task • stretch our conceptions • theoretical contexttheoretical reflectionuninformed perspectivesusability • usability perspectives • user experienceusers • web usability • web usability science


Simon Perkins

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