Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Learning Log 2.1: "The Psychology of Everyday Actions"

Norman talks about the blame game that people play with themselves and interfaces. As I started reading this the first thing I remembered was a classmate who had mention last week that Microsoft Windows programs are badly made. I agree and disagree. Now that I have been a Mac owner for 2 years, I find that when i go back to my parents house and use our desktop PC computer it takes me a little to re-adjust how to use it. It almost shocks me because since I was in 5th or 6th grade we had always had a PC. I basically taught myself how to use a computer and brows the internet. Is that because I was part of generation where technological advances were more common than the flu? Or was it because at the time, Microsoft Windows was actually well-designed and a no brainer to use? I don't think I'll ever know.

I notice the ones who struggle the most with computers is the older generation, my mother in particular. Since we had our computer, my mom wouldn't go near it and if she did, it was only to check her e-mail. And even with that she always needed help. I know for a fact that the only thing my grandma knows how to do on her computer is turn it on & play solitaire. That's it! As technology advanced and computers were being used regularly in the workplace, she had to take classes in order to become familiar enough with the program. Okay so there are manuals for regular everyday products but a manual and a class? How many times have we turned on the TV in the past 10 years to see an infomercial selling a CD-ROM that teaches how to use computers. For this one machine there are countless ways to be taught how to use it. Why so many options though? Because not just one of them works for the majority of the technologically-impaired.

I disagree with Norman in this aspect. The computer is complicated and even before using my Mac computer all students had a 1 hour seminar teaching us how to efficiently use them. But we only needed 1 hour because we as a generation have grown up using this device. Whereas older age-groups are thrown into corner that they are completely unfamiliar with and are almost forced to grasp the concept and learn how to use it. Different generations have different protocols when ti comes to the understanding of new technologies.

Going back to Mac vs. PC, the Mac uses interfaces that are easy to use. The oolbar lines up at the bottom with the programs of your choice that are easily accessed. The method of dragging & dropping all files & programs anywhere is so easy and almost human nature. By placing two fingers on my key pad & moving them up and down to scroll makes totally sense! As humans we want things to work just as they should. Things like up & down, left & right, these are ideas are applied in the design of a good program or device. I found my transition of using a PC for almost 10 years of life to using a Mac was easy & flawless. I will never go back.

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