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Keynote (Monday), October 8, 2007, 9:30 - 10:30 am
Institute for Ergonomics, The Ohio State University
The various fields associated with interactive software systems engage in design activities to enable people who would use the resulting systems to meet goals, coordinate with others, find meaning, and express themselves in myriad ways. Yet many development projects fail, and we all have contact with clumsy software-based systems that force work-arounds and impose substantial attentional, knowledge and workload burdens. On the other hand, field observations reveal people re-shaping the artifacts they encounter and interact with as resources to cope with the demands of the situations they face as they seek to meet their goals. In this process some new devices are quickly seized upon and exploited in ways that transform the nature of human activity, connections, and expression.
The software intensive interactive systems and devices under development around us are valuable to the degree that they expand what people in various roles and organizations can achieve. How can we measure this value provided to others? Are current measures of usability adequate? Does creeping complexity wipe out incremental gains as products evolve? Do designers and developers mis-project the impact when systems-to-be-realized are fielded? Which technology changes will trigger waves of expansive adaptations that transform what people do and even why they do it?
Sponsors of projects to develop new interactive software systems are asking developers for tangible evidence of the value to be delivered to those people responsible for activities and goals in the world. Traditional measures of usability and human performance seem inadequate. Cycles of inflation in the claims development organizations make (and the legacy of disappointment and surprise) have left sponsors numb and eroded trust. Thus, we need to provide new forms of evidence about the potential of new interactive systems and devices to enhance human capability.
Luckily, this need has been accompanied by a period of innovation in ways to measure the impact of new designs on:
- growth of expertise in roles,
- synchronizing activities over wider scopes and ranges,
- expanding adaptive capacities.
This talk reviews a few of the new measures being tested in each of these categories, points to some of the underlying science, and uses these examples to trigger discussion about how design of future interactive software provides will provide value to stakeholders.
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