exercises

1. the human

EXERCISE 1.9 [extra - not in book]

"A little psychology is worse than none at all". Do you agree with this statement? Justify your stand in the context of designing usable interactive systems.

answer available for tutors only

There are different ways of answering this question depending on the stand you take. One problem with knowing "a little" psychology is the danger of applying psychological principles out of context and making simplistic judgements. Principles and guidelines that derive from psychology are context dependent. For example, predictability is a principle that might not apply to a computer game. So it is important that the underlying theory is interpreted appropriately and that the context in which the rule is applied is comparable to that of the theory. An example of misuse of psychology is in the application of the 7+/- 2 short term memory limit to menu design. Menus support recognition by presenting the options to the user - this is not a task that relies on short term memory. Therefore the oft-heard recommendation to limit menu items to 7+/- 2 is a misapplication of psychology. Try to find more examples of well and badly applied psychology for yourself.

Other exercises in this chapter

ex.1.1 (ans), ex.1.2 (ans), ex.1.3 (ans), ex.1.4 (tut), ex.1.5 (tut), ex.1.6 (open), ex.1.7 (open), ex.1.8 (tut), ex.1.9 (tut), ex.1.10 (tut), ex.1.11 (tut), ex.1.12 (tut), ex.1.13 (tut), ex.1.14 (tut)

all exercises for this chapter