Interaction design for specialised tasks

Mikkel Michelsen discusses the core differences between specialised use contexts and the mainstream use of a mass consumer product, and tries to answer the questions how to design the best possible systems when faced with special contexts, and how to ensure that interactive systems for specialised users do not become needlessly complex and difficult to use.

“A core difference when designing systems for special users is how the user accesses the learning curve of the system. A specialized interaction design can often suppose the end user to enter the interactive system relatively high on its learning curve through pre-training or guidance.

This fact allows the designer to avoid supportive low-barrier entry features that similar systems would require when designed for a broader field of users. The reduction in functional redundancy, that might make sense for exploratory use, appears as noise and friction to the trained user. The very design choice that makes an interactive system seem inaccessible to the untrained eye might be what actually makes it highly usable for prolonged use.”

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