Friday, 14 June 2013

Atom 36: Who cares for the Sightless Objects?

I rarely been on other end of testing products, interfaces, ideas - rather a designer adopts an inbuilt user thinking model to circumnavigate the user's world in several cycles, but being somebody questioning about the implemented idea. 

An application that simply an email newsletter, serving to address upcoming monthly sessions. It's stacked in a table format with columns that speaks of Date, Subject, Time & location. Whereas a title differentiates each grouping, whether it meant for Testing, DotNet or any other similar larger hierarchy. It ain't the greatest looking app, but served for a definite purpose. Now, all these upper level chunks say Testing or Microsoft held a Visual icon to the leftmost extreme of the table. This ideally means the first column is meant for Icons that defined the "Header" in a visual connection. These were simply grey group of icons.

The evaluation mode starts from my end, where am busy browsing or glancing at the content. My benefactor sat opposing to me, looking for my comments on the solution. There were improvements required to add extra column with"day" that stood missing, splitting Time and date columns - more of utilitarian value and user expectation. But the real cog in the wheel or serious deflector that awe-struck me as a design consultant was the "never-consumed" Icon. The Icon on the left never helped me nor ever I noticed whole busy over 2 minutes engrossed in the content part, astonishing though icons is the first row next to Subject of the learning module - the theory of reading in F pattern, or reading it from top to down simply failed - primarily am in searching mode, glancing what quick I may be interested in, rather moving in expected theory based mechanism. 

To note these were in Grey colour, which never was readily noticeable (good though if intended in that way) or consumable. These "Sightless" objects are part of everyday apps, sites and interfaces, either user looks consciously in want of more clarity or they just remain untold, creating borders for content! I eventually had to ask about these icons to the owner of what they trying to convey. Wondered in dismay which by figment of imagination never really mattered or a "sensible" object of care. When Content is King, perfectly as in this situation, all the peripheral objects deemed to be Sightless and immaterial to me. All I care is what is in sight, more over - true meaning of intentions. 

Intentions have to be obvious and be Sighted, any Sightless characters stay in as uninvited guest or remain silent or worst case when sighted later expands mental load of the user. In this case, it more often remained silent and when sighted it reflected a backward thinking, never leading from front. The cure is to be a reductionist, but also to look applications from Sighted or Sightless behavioural notions. Sightless are not meaningless, apparently they are inconsequential to situations and can change character in the event user transcends into differing mode. Certain degree - it turns meaningless with space of time and remains sightless. Necessary checkpoints or care to be ensured in defining Sightless & Sighted elements - and to bring greater essence to design creation process.

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