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let’s dev Blog | „Mensch und Computer“ 2018
by Judith
24. September 2018

„Mensch und Computer“ 2018

The "Mensch und Computer" is a specialist conference and is currently sponsored by the "Mensch-Computer-Interaktion (MCI)" department of the "Gesellschaft für Informatik" and the "German UPA ( Professional Association of German Usability and User Experience Professionals)". The conference combines scientific lectures with practical presentations in the field of usability professionals.

About the Mensch und Computer

Under the motto "Interaction - Connects - All", the 18th "Mensch und Computer" took place in Dresden this year. Workshops, talks, tutorials as well as exhibitions and live demonstrations offered participants the opportunity to learn about the current state of research and to discuss with like-minded people.

This year's "People and Computers" focused on the ubiquity of computers (ubiquitous computing) and how people interact and network with technology - regardless of age, gender, ability or background. The scientific tracks of "MCI" as well as the practical tracks of "UPA" dealt with topics such as automotive UI, UX in digitalized work contexts, human-robot interaction or virtual reality. Among other things, research statuses and studies on the topic of VR/AR and smart wearables for areas such as care and industry were presented and discussed. Through workshops, talks and tutorials on a wide range of topics, each visitor was able to put together his or her own individual program. The evening event also offered a great opportunity to exchange ideas with experts from the industry and to establish new, interesting contacts beyond the borders of the country.

let's dev on the "Mensch und Computer"

We were also represented this year with a technical paper on "Microinteractions and UX - Investigating the impact of microinteractions feedback methods on app UX". In this paper, different types of microinteractions in an app were examined with regard to possible effects on the user experience. The conducted study shows in particular the impact of feedback methods, which are applied to microinteractions in various forms.

Representation Microinteractions Graphic

Figure 1: Representation Microinteractions graphic

What is meant by microinteractions?

A microinteraction is a single interaction between a user and a product or user interface within an application. It revolves around a single use case and is the smallest interaction. An example of such an interaction would be the "Like" function on the app "Instagram"

A microinteraction is divided into four components:

Structure of a microinteraction

Figure 2: Structure of a microinteraction

Trigger

The trigger is the first component that triggers a microinteraction. For example, when a ring tone is turned off, the trigger is the switch on the smartphone.

Rules

This second component determines how a microinteraction runs or what causes it to fail. It defines the goal of a microinteraction and guides the user through the microinteractions.

Feedback

The triggering of a microinteraction brings about a change of state, this is the third component, the feedback.

Modes and Loops

Microinteractions are short and must be designed for repeated use. Loops are cycles defined over a period of time. Modes can be settings where the user specifies something. Both together form the fourth component.

Do microinteractions have a positive effect on the UX?

A realized prototype served as the basis for conducting the study. This application, which is used to post photos and display them in a timeline. The prototype was designed in such a way that different tasks of the study can be fulfilled with different feedback methods. A deliberate emphasis was placed on a simple design in order to focus on the feedback methods used. The feedback methods haptic, visual and acoustic feedback were used as feedback methods.

There was a tendency that a combination of haptic and visual feedback as well as acoustic and visual feedback were evaluated more positively than purely visual feedback and thus the user experience can be improved.

Presentation of the prototype on which the study is based with the feedback methods taken into account

Figure 3: Presentation of the prototype on which the study is based with the feedback methods taken into account

In summary, the use of well-applied microinteractions plays an important role in shaping the user experience. Microinteractions are about the critical details that make the difference between a good user experience and a disappointing experience. Often, these are so deeply embedded that a lack of attention to them can lead to dissatisfaction and ultimately negative effects on the user experience. When designing Mircointeractions, it is recommended to consider the possibilities of multimodal feedback.

The video shows the prototype underlying the study with three different microinteractions:

All three microinteractions were each equipped with all feedback modalities as well as bimodal feedback consisting of visual and audio or vibration.

Representation of three different microinteractions

Figure 4: Representation of three different microinteractions

From Lean to Large

There were also exciting presentations in the areas of UX: Under the motto "Crazy UX", Thomas Immich gave an insight into a UX management framework that serves the current buzzwords "Lean" and "Large" at the same time. The whole thing is called "Continuous UX".

How does a Minimum Viable Product become a finished system?

The question that arises with Lean UX is how do you scale "Lean" to "Large"? How do you turn multiple MVPs, i.e. individual performance goals for individual user groups, into a common system? Thomas Immich introduced the following scenario:

"Imagine you are in a desert. It is hot and you are thirsty. Your first thought is, 'Now for an ice-cold Coke, that'll do it!' After a while and with an even greater thirst, you can definitely be made happy with a sip of water, this one can also be warm. If a little more time passes, the liquid from the cactus across the street is the best thing you've ever drunk in your life."

Means that Agile creates user stories and from them features and thus have their starting point with the requirements of the users. Conversely, some user requirements only emerge in the course of the process. The combination of both is therefore important.

Representation of three different microinteractions

Figure 5: Representation of a user need

Agile and UX belong together like users and needs

The approach is that UX and Agile belong together and a solution without an existing user problem becomes a problem itself. A feature that has no underlying user need is unnecessary, in the worst case even harmful for the UX. User needs and features must therefore be synchronized.

„Continuous UX“ - a tried and tested process

The process of field-tested "Continuous UX" is designed to prevent an MVP from becoming an FDP, i.e. a fat dead product.

The process discourages a strict separation between Design and Engineers and the associated hard "handoff" to Development. Both developers and designers should participate in daily meetings. A mutual understanding of users and technologies must be created.

User Story Process at "Continuous UX"

Right at the beginning, "real user stories" should be defined. These are distinguished by their clearly defined context. A good example of this is the save button. The need here is not to have a button that saves the work, but to be able to interrupt the work and then continue working at the same point.

The user story process looks like this:

Representation of the user story process in Continuous UX

Figure 6: Representation of the user story process in "Continuous UX"

"Lean" becomes "Large"

Another approach is a "scoping workshop" in which an MVP is defined based on a concrete business objective in an interdisciplinary team. This creates a true user-oriented feature and saves unnecessary development work, i.e., truly "lean." Features can be used and tested earlier. The individual MVPs thus become a viable product. In order not to lose sight of the overall process, a growing scenario map is created in parallel. This contains all user roles and goals and thus unifies the entire system landscape.

The next "Mensch und Computer" will take place in Hamburg in 2019 and will again feature exciting contributions and research results from the field of human-machine interaction.

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