Compatibility and User Experience…
May 28, 2008
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On Wikipedia User Experience is defined by those words: “User experience design is a subset of the field of experience design which pertains to the creation of the architecture and interaction models which impact a user’s perception of a device or system. The scope of the field is directed at affecting “all aspects of the user’s interaction with the product: how it is perceived, learned, and used.“… in my opinion that is a great definition and summarize all the aspect that this wonderful field concerns. In the last days I had some happening that made me think how different developments of the same thing makes things extremely complicated.

We all use computers and we all use internet… that’s completely true if you are reading online this post. But the thing that we can do with those meaning are completely different… and what happens when we has to share documents that are made with different softwares on different OS environments? will happen a mess… and the User Experience is in danger, because the user will have to interact with environments that hasn’t been created to work together.

That happens all the time to everyone of us… I create a spreadsheet on Microsoft Excel and I send it to a person that has Apple Numbers… what they do is the same… a Spreadsheet, but sometimes the decoding from a format to an another can create mistakes… that’s what the User doesn’t want to Experience… Things like that can be seen also for example on the software used and also on the protocol used to communicate. I have to say that different softwares are needed… people (users) have the right to choose the software that suits more their needs… that they feel more comfortable and easy to use… but in my opinion those have to share a common base for the file format, in a away that exchanging the files and the informations would be easier. If something like that the Experience of the User would be improved because  would be easier and also there would be the need of less attention to control if the data are in the right format or else.

A typical example of Cross-Software compatibility can be seen in the HTML, the code and the standard was created… than developers started to create browsers. Those browsers are different and there are many available on Internet for free, but they tend to visualize the same code in the same way, no matter what the user is using, the web-professionals wanted to create a common experience for the users regardless of what they are using to surf the net.

In my opinion there is the need to start communicate between different companies to find a common standard about files and protocols, in a way that communication on Internet would be easier for the user and also the fruition of the content… Different software companies would be able to develop something on that common base… A standard base is important but hasn’t to become a monopoly.

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There is 1 comment

  • In the early 90ies the topic of your post was covered by an international standardiSation (S = Z in American English) endeavour called OSE (Open System Envirnment).

    The OSE ToR’ (Terms of Reference) Scope and Objectives included portability and interoperability of applications, data and people.

    A search such as this one may help finding some background information about OSE, but I could not spot any document providing a story of what happened of that endeavour.

    UNINFO (formerly UNIPREA), the Italian ICT Standards Body, might remember that story, I wonder.

    Should they feel free to remember it, some useful directions could be offered … towards the objectives suggested by your post, I believe.

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