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Subject: Re: UKNM: Ranty philosophy
From: Lois Grayson
Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2000 10:14:31 GMT

With the convergence of "The Web" and "TV", there will be a cross-over
> between the two. You will read text on TV and watch films on PC monitors,
> just as lots of people already do. The technical constraints are, as so
> often in any area of development, the dominant defining element of design.
> And technical convergence with what is/can be displayed on TV or PC
> will lead, inevitably, to a convergence in the way we "experience" each.

> Get with this century, Lois.
> Tom Dussek

Great, you responded Tom

>From Human Factors Methodology for Designing Web Sites, Chapter 12, Human
Factors and Web Development (Forsythe, Grose, Ratner)

"If WebTV is to become popular,Web developers must radically change their
design approach to create Web sites that are optimised for the TV
medium.Changes are necessary as WebTV users are different; their interaction
style is different; their environment is different from (PC) Web users"

Page 170. Submitted by Pawan Vora of US West Communications. Written in 1998
so I agree a tad out of date.

He goes on to state that because it's TV, users may expect to hop from site
to site with the same speed as they change channels - so yes he (and I)
recognise that limited bandwidth is one of the constraints that current
design strategies need to accommodate.

My point is fail to understand comparative psychology of media consumption
at your peril - it isn't just about technical constraints, cognitive
capacities and processes are also important .

If you read *Cowan's soon to be published paper on short term memory you'll
see that he has collated considerable evidence for the actual amount of
information we can process at any one time - the empirical evidence points
to a limit of four chunks. His concept is that we have several memory
buffers that co-exist in a global awareness space: auditory, lexical,
visual, semantic, motor, mood and context. Which come into play at what
point is determined by a control process which allows the most obviously
required buffers into the focus of attention according to the stimuli
received and it's emergent cognition.

Implications for web design? Present too much information simultaneously and
this control process is overwhelmed. Fail to integrate information types as
they present and crash the control system. Don't recognise what constitutes
optimal consumption wrt the medium you work with and the focus of attention
won't take in what is presented effectively.

I suppose all I'm saying is that increasingly we'll need to understand HCI -
especially the human side - in depth if we're to make the most of web
technology and web design to really communicate effectively.

(* Cowan (2001) The Magical Number Four in Short Term Memory: A
reconsideration of mental storage capacity. Behavioural and Brain Sciences
24(1) - download from www.cogsci.soton.ac.uk/bbs/Archive/bbs.cowan.html )

No it hasn't been published yet - get with the future Tom ;-)


Lois xx

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