Giles Colborne of cxpartners gave a great presentation to the UXPA Scotland this week. He talked about the implications of being distracted, and how designers need to be responsible and concious of context of use.
So for example, your phone rings and gives you the option to answer or ignore. Great. But what if you're driving, or in an important meeting? Do we need extra options? Or automated options based on what is in our diary?
He gave some great examples - how road accidents reduced when Blackberry went down for three days.
And what about those apps that are constantly shouting "ME ME ME!" at you? How does that make you feel about the company? Does the app's lack of respect for user priorities or context affect the brand perception?
The concept of watching what users do, not listening to what they say is well established. Giles talked about users asking for any number of bells and whistles that won't get used. A bit like the patient telling the doctor what's wrong and asking for specific treatment, the developer needs to observe and diagnose.
The slides are well worth a flick.
Giles has also written a book recently that was recommended by other attendees:
Simple and usable - book by Giles Colborne
Watching Giles present made me think back to another presentation I'd seen recently - Dark Patterns - which looked at how usability designers could use basic psychological principles to trick users; how honesty needs to prevail. And how it doesn't on any number of sites selling us stuff and sneakily tacking on additional payments and signing us up to newsletters we don't want.
Dark Patterns: Deception vs. Honesty in UI Design - article by Harry Brignull for A List Apart
Dark Patterns presentation and wiki