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Re: FW: UI Design Update newsletter - December, 1999

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2000 07:58:39 -0500 (EST)
To: Michael_Muller@lotus.com
cc: po@trace.wisc.edu, w3c-wai-gl@w3.org, hfi@humanfactors.com
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.20.0001040753420.28267-100000@tux.w3.org>
Michael has made some very valuable points here - in particular the idea of
participatory design. I think that the original paper leans far too heavily
towards making things work for the average user, which while imortant is not
actually something that people are terrribly bad at. What is lost in this is
the idea that it is important to design for the diversity of users and user
needs out there on the Web. (90 million people with disabilities in the EU,
55 million in the US, 280 million mobile phones in the world and increasing
rapidly particularly outsidethe US, low capacity systems being widely
distributed in developing countries using second-hand equipment...)

Charles McCN

On Mon, 3 Jan 2000 Michael_Muller@lotus.com wrote:

  
  I have a number of concerns with Bob Bailey's advices.  I'll note them
  below, with excerpts from Bob.  Each of my comments begins with the string
  "<<<" and ends with the string ">>>".
  
  In general, my concerns with Bob's work (here and historically) are that he
  takes a particular engineering approach that emphasizes efficiency and
  productivity for a "typical" user.  I have several problems with this
  approach:
  
  - Efficiency and productivity are not necessarily desirable attributes.
  Taken to extremes, they can lead to the "electronic sweatshops" that Garson
  described in her book, "The Electronic Sweatshop."  Some applications will
  work better (for users, for providers, for businesses) if the design
  emphasizes quality of outcome (e.g., process control or safety systems), or
  pleasurableness of experience (e.g., games), or completeness of coverage
  (e.g., on-line searches), or privacy (e.g., medical or financial
  transactions). Some of these values may compete directly with productivity
  and efficiency.   We need to know what people value, before we know what to
  emphasize in our design.
  
  - My second point is probably obvious to this list.  A focus on "the"
  "typical" user is to me a *big* problem in accommodating diversity in
  general, and disability access in particular.  I am concerned that this
  kind of thinking underlies much of Bob's advices.
  
  --michael
Received on Tuesday, 4 January 2000 08:01:29 GMT

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