Talk notes: How human abilities define digital experiences

Claudio Guglieri at Awwwards: Digital thinkers.

Jan 6, 2020

In this talk, Claudio discusses how our human abilities, not technology, should define our digital experiences. He reveals how one should address the human-motor system, human vision, and cognitive abilities when designing those experiences.

  • Human-motor system
  • Neck flexion and neck extension: Head can move 30º backward and 45º forward comfortably. Similarly,
  • Wrist flexion and wrist extension: 51º upward and 46º downwards
  • Lateral backbend: 21º sideway
  • Lateral neck bend: can move head sideway by 25º
  • Ulnar and radial deviation: can move your palm sideways by 15º towards your thumb and 25º on the other side
  • Shoulder abduction is 25º towards your body and 60º away from the body
  • The above shows that no matter how fascinating the sci-fi movies showcase the futuristic User Interfaces, it's outside the human comfort zone to control everything with full and dramatic gestures
  • Focus on increasing efficiency and accuracy of what we can do within a comfortable range
  • Designers should not become personal trainers and train their customers
  • For instance, Instagram only adheres to human-computer interaction guidelines for a minimum tappable area in navigation but not in inline comments, etc.
  • How we can use this info at work
  • Consider the direction and ranges that are more comfortable for repeated motion.
  • Design for inaccuracy - make the system forgiving since humans will make mistakes.
  • Use all information available to identify intent. Mix signals received and craft experiences accordingly.
  • Human vision-related abilities
  • Humans recognize images in 1/200th of a second
  • We have 120º binocular vision
  • We have central vision 2º which is where we see things most clearly
  • 900º angular speed which is responsible for content-aware fill
  • Stereoscopic vision 120º: good at recognizing patterns
  • 30º to recognize icons/ symbols
  • Far peripheral vision - just survival skills/ motion identification, etc.
  • How to use it in real life
  • Know when to break the rules
  • Focus the attention on the content
  • Orchestrate your compositions, so the eyes know where to go using your central vision and peripheral skills to complement each other.
  • Human cognitive abilities:
  • About 8 seconds of transient attention
  • 20 seconds sustained attention
  • 10-15 seconds working memory
  • Humans can hold 5 - 9 discrete items at once
  • Cognitive load is the total amount of mental effort being used by our working memory as we complete tasks or learn new things.
  • Cognitive load is both an enhancing element of learning and an inhibitor for it.
  • Intrinsic: how difficult something is
  • Germane: the work put into creating a permanent store of knowledge
  • Extraneous - how it is presented
  • Leveraging relevant past knowledge stored in long-term memory facilitates our learning. For instance, a doctor who has performed the same operation hundreds of times can leverage to identify new insights.
  • There are no limits to our learning capacity, but there is a progression to it.
  • How to use this at work:
  • Leverage user's previous knowledge to minimize content overload and ambiguity.
  • Consider progressive disclosure and learning goals when using unique user interface paradigms.
  • Closing notes:
  • Nothing is impossible
  • Everything can be learned.
  • Abilities change over time.