Home > Geek stuff > Researchers Delve into the Human Factor Researchers Delve into the Human Factor Eugenia Loli 2003-07-16 Geek stuff 8 Comments Researchers are trying to get a grip on one of the problems with computers:the human on the other end. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 8 Comments 2003-07-16 7:07 pm make them less intimidating. people who are not intimidated by computers (a la those who don’t think an alert box means the computer is broken) don’t have problems with them. 2003-07-16 7:22 pm For me, the problem has never been the End User but the lack of skills in User Interface design from programmers (and how they do not want to improve). Even in the strongest compagny (MS), this problem exists. Have a look at Office team and how they never followed the HID guidelines for windows. 2003-07-16 8:03 pm Seeing how the 40-something woman working behind me was lost when she couldn’t see the OK button because the windows needed to be moved-up… Or how this other person was having a about to have a heart attack because she could not figure out how to deposit money using the Automatic teller machine (is that how it’s called?)… I’d said we still have a very long way to go if we want to educate people on using technology… 2003-07-16 8:25 pm make them less intimidating. Hmm, this is what I’ve been thinking for a long time. I’ve never been intimidated by computers and funnily enough I don’t have problems with them. Every geek knows that computers are dumb machines (their ‘intelligence’ comes only from those who programmed them), but some people have the illusion that they are some kind of magic boxes that know all the answers, and fear that they will be shown to be stupid. I think the best way to learn computers is to experiment, try anything, try applying knowledge across different programs and see what happens. But fear kills curiosity. 2003-07-16 10:08 pm I’m glad to see some comments here that support the user’s perspective. Because a user knows nothing about technical stuff is no reason to treat them as idiots. Education would help. There are tons of people in my school that never get a really basic introduction to computer usage. They never learn the vocabulary or the common functions. Why is this so? You have to learn new terms and actions to do anything that is a specialist task (such as driving a vehicle, using a VCR, being a painter, etc). Reading the article left me concerned that it’s still just a group of people thinking about what new gadgets they can market under the guise of making computers better for people. That’s not the answer. What you folks said above, is the answer: make computers less intimidating. Moreso, simply them; take away the complexity. Take away 80% of the functionality that most people don’t use (and make those parts modular so that the geeks can turn them on if they want them). Make hardware less geeky (if the person has to do something inside the case, they will turn to a tech, no matter how easy it seems to us to add or remove PCI cards). Simplify software. Don’t add features just to win a feature war. Oops… We just encountered the REAL problem. The marketing and money making interests of the computer industry. The industry sees no market for such easy to use computers (or we’d have them now) and has no desire to re-engineer them from the bottom-up in order to, once and for all, make computers into tools and appliances instead of “confusing technical things” (because any cost to re-engineer and restart the market would cut into their steady flow of profit). 2003-07-16 10:59 pm heh…yeah, the first PC I owned my buddie had come over to help me install stuff…get rid of the stupid pacard bell interface..take out all the cruft they put on etc….I then began to look around the file system….delete…woops!!!…ring….hey can you come over to help me I did someting….2 weeks later…my buddie would not come over any more becasue I had done so much crap…so I learned on my own. I did the same thing to my dad’s ppc mac 75 MHz(the first new computer in the house since the Apple ][ e :-p. the lucky thing with the mac was that you could recover the OS realy easy 🙂 2003-07-17 2:24 am … look at who makes them. Almost all people in technology fields like programming are on the autistic spectrum. I think what this means for the “human” factor is self-explainatory. 2003-07-17 12:24 pm Hmm, this is what I’ve been thinking for a long time. I’ve never been intimidated by computers and funnily enough I don’t have problems with them. Every geek knows that computers are dumb machines (their ‘intelligence’ comes only from those who programmed them), but some people have the illusion that they are some kind of magic boxes that know all the answers, and fear that they will be shown to be stupid. I think the best way to learn computers is to experiment, try anything, try applying knowledge across different programs and see what happens. But fear kills curiosity. The one thing I say to people is this. Experiment. The worst possible thing you can do is lose your information which can easily be reloaded again. Stuff around with the different parts. Load up different applications and find out what they do. Buy books, read them then try some of the examples. Ultimately I think people need to realise that when they use a computer THEY are in control and not the computer. What THEY need to do is learn how to interact with the computer more efficient and effectively so that work can be done quicker. As for hardware, well, just go down the road and have a look. What do most people buy? most people buy external hardware. Why? because they can take it home, install it and work with it straight away. 2 years ago when “legacy free” computers roamed the computer wilderness there was some mocking, however, considering that most devices today are either Firewire or USB, the need for those legacy ports is pretty much nill.