12 December 2006

Don Norman outlines three challenges for HCI

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The ever-increasing complexity of everyday things, the ever-increasing burden of security, authentication, and identification and the ever-increasing use of automation are according to Don Norman the three large, overriding issues in the field of human-computer interaction.

After all, he writes in an article in Interactions magazine, “the invisible, ubiquitous computer has arrived, ensnaring almost any conceivable activity within its grasp” and “if the computer is everywhere, then everything is within our domain of study.”

Norman’s main lesson for the field of human-computer interaction:

“Let us learn from the introduction of technology to other domains. Let us work to ensure that the trend toward higher complexity, onerous security demands, and over-automation is stopped. Mind you, the problems faced in these domains are real, so in reducing complexity, we must still figure out how to give people the choices they want and need. In reducing the complexity of security, we must still manage to increase the security, distinguishing when it is necessary to identify someone from when it is simply necessary to know if they are authorized to use a service. And in introducing automation into everyday things, let us provide the benefits but be ever wary of introducing the perils of over-automation.”

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