Issues Related to Awareness and Thought

The following issues are related to awareness and thinking. This section focuses on areas where detailed considerations are necessary, since users are not always logical and are distracted by external factors.

Can't think clearly/can't remain attentive

People's concentration fades when they repeat a monotonous task. When people are in a rush, they often make mistakes even in uncomplicated procedures. Therefore, products must be designed to vary tasks and to allow users to easily recover from mistakes.

Repeat same mistakes

People get confused when a product uses different methods or terms from what they are used to. When a usage method is at odds with what they imagine it to be, users will not come to grips with the actual usage method. It is important, then, to adopt, wherever possible, usage methods and terms that are generally recognized and to employ consistent usage methods.

Doesn't work as expected

Users have problems with unfamiliar operations or complex operations even when they have the instructions in front of them. In other cases, users may understand what is needed but cannot physically carry the operations out. Products must be designed to avoid wherever possible using complex and detailed operations or combination operations (i.e., do A while doing B).

Can't remember

Users sometimes can't remember an operation they did in the past when it comes time to do the operation again. It is difficult to recall unfamiliar symbols or operations that you muddled through the first time. Therefore, operations, diagrams, and terms must be devised to be easy to remember, following normal thought patterns wherever possible.

Learning curve is long / can't memorize

Complex mechanisms are difficult to understand, and information without knowing the context is difficult to remember. Therefore, designs must be easy to recall or else be useable without memorization.

Not inclined to learn

Users want results; their goal is not using the product itself. Users are not inclined to try to learn how to use products, especially office devices. Therefore, products must come with easy-to-follow manuals or be designed so users can easily learn by trial and error (mistakes can be easily corrected).

Can't distinguish words/symbols

Users do not immediately comprehend differences in unfamiliar foreign words or technical terms. In other cases, you may read some instructions without comprehending them if you don't understand the meaning of the words. Therefore, familiar terms and diagrams must be used wherever possible, and important information must be repeated.

Can't figure out causal relationships

Wondering "why did it do this?" is the cause of much stress. Clearly demonstrating and conveying cause and effect is required so that users know what to do to recover from problems.

Distracted by surroundings

Users cannot always focus on operating the product, as they attend to telephone calls and other sudden interruptions. Products must be designed to provide users with the ability to quickly recall and resume an operation where they left off for some reason.

Ignore periphery

Users concentrating on a control screen, for example, may overlook information or buttons located off the screen. Users frequently ignore information they are not interested in even if they see it. Products must be designed to guide the user's eyes and get the user's attention in various ways using sound or light.