Last week, I mentioned the problems HCI and programmers often have in communication. I posed the same question last Friday to Don Norman to get his views when he was visiting and giving a talk to a class. Paraphrasing Norman, his view was that these issues would become minimal problems if you started off on the right foot. In other words, get the whole team aligned in their goals. If everybody is working towards the same goal, communication will naturally happen. He also mentioned Alan Cooperís User Personas as a good way to achieve that alignment.
Beauty. Usability. The discussion goes back a long way. I mean a REALLY long way.
Usability has been around since we started making tools… at least a million years and likely longer since chimps and even some birds use them. And as for beauty, we’re looking at more like 100 million years as finding a mate involves some sense of “beauty” (defined as the happy end of any scale of aesthetic evaluation).
So we have these two very old concepts coming together because we gotta sell things for cash (a relatively new concept), and the upshot of this is that we have at least 3 things to optimize for: usability (U), beauty (B), and revenue. Optimizing for revenue could also be called marketing/advertising (A). Oh, and for completeness, we’ll need to add one more axis: technical innovation (T). Now just rate each of these attributes from 0-9, toss in a fondness for brass instruments, and we’ll call the whole thing the TUBA score.
Tech : Usability : Beauty : Advertising
Let’s see what we can do with this.
Continuing Tom’s TUBA discussion. Tom and I had a few more conversations about extending and applying the system. We’re exploring this idea as we go so these thoughts and processes are by no means formalized.
The questions we wanted to answer were:
- Who would want to use this system?
- When should you do the scoring?
- How would you get the score?
- What do you do with the score?
and just to be complete,
- Why use this scoring scheme?
I think Tom has covered the Why to some degree so let’s look at the rest of the questions.
So a number of people have weighed in on my TUBA model including Don Norman himself(!) Here is a digest of the points so far: