Friday, December 26, 2014

This Week in EID - Episode 34

Holiday season is giving us a bunch of short weeks this year.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s weeks each have/will have just three posts.  I think we had three pretty good ones this week and I am pretty sure most of you missed at least one.  Especially the one on smartwatches on Wednesday because I didn’t cross post them on social media.

Monday I promoted the new HFES initiative called Scouting the Future.  The idea is to identify long term trends in design, culture, or user experience and position the discipline of human factors to get in early in the game.  I am a member of the Scouts and I am looking forward to sharing these ideas with the others.

Tuesday’s post looked at the reliability of our off-line memory storage (to-do lists, smartphones, or asking your friend Joe to remind you when it is 7pm).  The research we cited found that if that offline resource is reliable, we open up our working memory so we can concentrate on other things. But if we don’t offload it, or if we offload it to something for which we are not 100% sure it will really remember the information for us (or won’t remind us to check at the right time), our brains instinctively save the information anyway.  So we get no benefit from unreliable storage.  I keep lots of to-do lists and I can appreciate this personally.  When I save a file on my computer (and also a summary in Evernote), I have a sneaky suspicion that I won’t be able to find it later.  So I can’t recycle the original and my brain can’t let the information go. 

The Wednesday post discussed the only smartwatch that I might actually want.  It is from Martian watches, which I had never even heard of before. But the design looks like a real watch.  Not too fancy – more like a Timex or Casio – but the display is really subtle.  And it leverages some interesting haptic UI that I am curious about.