Ute och cyklar…

My degree is in “human-computer interaction”, but I've never really liked the term, as computers are present in so many items we don't normally think of as computers, so I've tended to speak about human-machine interaction instead.

Today I was out biking and, as so often happens, I followed the signs and suddenly found myself in what seemed to be a cul-de-sac with no idea how to continue to my target. (In fact there was an exit further down the street, it just wasn't very visible.)

I found myself mumbling: “Is the appropriate action visible to the user?” And so it is: Nobody has performed a cognitive walkthrough of the bike lanes in Stockholm and that's why you so often end up in the wrong direction up a one-way street, on the wrong side of the road when the bike-lane is on the other side, etc. And indeed, it also indicated a weakness of cognitive walkthroughs as evaluative method—doing it on a map quite possibly would not have indicated how difficult it was to see the continuation of the street behind trees and houses, but would have required an inspection of the actual interface in action, so to speak.

So, maybe not even “human-machine interaction” is sufficiently descriptive and I should claim to work with human-artefact interaction.

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