HCI is not a unique discipline when it comes to Guru disagreements. Psychology, a big part of where we draw our expertise from, is a great example of a field rife with opposing views. Can personality be used to predict job satisfaction? Guion & Gottier say, “Not at all” then Barrick and Mount come back a couple of decades later and say, “Yes we can.”. Sound familiar? “Download times are important,” says Nielsen. “No they’re not,” responds Spool. In the end, we’re left to form our own opinions based on the data presented to us. At least in Psychology, they seem to have agreed on the job satisfaction question.
Usability and HCI could learn something from that. We are in a young and developing field; a field that intricately deals with the unpredictable facets of human thought, emotion, perception, ultimately – cognition. Ask an experienced HCI practitioner for some advice and the answer is inevitably, “it depends”.
Between the Jobs site, the rap and today’s double sized comic, you’d think we’d be content but we’re chugging along with more. OK/Cancel has been doing pretty well lately. We’ve had Don Norman duke it out with Tom Chi. Steve Krug, Shneiderman and others have stopped by to say “hi” and a lot of other people are participating in discussions that have gone from MC battles to full scale debates. It’s time to take the site and turn the heat up to 8 on your Likert scale. Introducing the OK/Cancel Forums for HCI, Usability and friends at http://forum.ok-cancel.com. As an added incentive, the first thing you can do is vote for how you want this comic strip to end!
Well we’ve got ourselves into quite a situation now. 12 HCI figureheads all with superpowers… I think. Will Lou Rosenfeld unleash a fascinating ontology? Will Brenda Laurel transform the East into a quivering transmedia substrate? (Don’t ask me what that means). Perhaps Tufte will disappear into thin air using his principal of minimal visual difference, or Winograd will apply the priciple of “throwness” literally. I’m getting quite confused trying to figure out exactly how everyone will fight, so I’m opening it up to the readers for suggestions. Which superpowers do you want to see for your favorite HCI star?