Saturday 5 June 2021

7 stages of action

In the book the design of everyday things, the author Donald A. Norman modals how people act when they are pursuing a goal. this modal has seven stages:

  1. Forming a goal: decide on something you want to accomplish 
  2. Forming the intention: decide if you want to pursue your goal
  3. Selecting the action: pick the "best" thing to do to accomplish your goal
  4. Executing the action: do the "best" thing you chose to do to accomplish your goal
  5. Perceive the state of the world: take in the information of the result of the "best" thing you chose to do
  6. Interpret the state of the world: use the information you gained to see how your "best" action changed the world
  7. evaluate the world: decide if your action accomplished your goal, moved you closer to your goal, or further from your goal.
this is an iterative process that people follow to complete their minor goals to reach their major goal

if you look at the first three steps after forming the goal:
  1. Form the intention
  2. Select the action
  3. Execute the action
they make up the Execution path, deciding to act, selecting the action and performing the action. Whereas the following three steps:
  1. Perceive the result
  2. Interpret the result
  3. Evaluate the result
make up the Evaluation path, seeing what changed, interpreting it, deciding if the change moved the user closer to his or her goal.

the space between the user's goal and the execution path is referred to as "The gulf of Execution" the challenge for the user to map their goals on the possibilities in their environment, whereas on the other hand the user faces "The gulf of Evaluation" this occurs when the user tries to see what their action changed, interpret their change, and decide if their change moved them closer to their goal.

When designing systems we want to bridge these two gulfs, the gulf of execution and the gulf of evaluation. To bridge the Gulf of execution we want to make it clear and obvious for the user as to what they're suppose to do, and as for the gulf of evaluation we want to give them a clear indication via feedback that their action has been received and is moving them towards or away from their goal in order for the user to keep on their present course or pivot to move towards their goal.

Users need to be able to know what the system can do, how to do it.

The Gulf of execution: Users can figure out what they can do
The Gulf of evaluation: Users can see if they where successful 

Aids in discovery 
  • Affordances: a feature of an object or environment that indicates the possibility of action, it'll communicate that something can be done intuitivly  
  • Signifiers: an indication of what will occur and where it can occur. Signifiers are often required when you have many options but you need to differentiate them.
  • Feedback: lets the user know that their input was recieved and what it did with that input
  • Constraints: limit the number of options the user has, things the user can't do should be disabled or hidden. Limit the number of options making the selection easier.
  • Conceptual Models: support future actions, they are paradigms that will clearly communicate to a user what their action will accomplish, they are supported by the previous aids.
a designers conceptual modal is how the system functions and can be used, however every system is clear and obvious to the designer, the user however can really only use their past experiences and the visual cues available to form their course of action to accomplish a goal

there are two more aids that can be leveraged for building a Cohesive Conceptual modal:
  • Consistency: things should work the same way throughout the user experience
  • Metaphor:  things should function the same way between different user experiences, that is if a paradigm has been defined for example 3 horizontal bars for a hamburger menu, that's exactuly what your experience should do