DonnaM » 2003 » December

Archive for December, 2003

My brain filled up

Thursday, December 11th, 2003

I wrote a report today. A big, long, complicated report. I sat at my desk for a long time writing it. By 3pm, I couldn’t figure out whether this phrase was correct: “Issues to consider includes:”

So why did my brain do this – why is it that I stopped being able to do something that I usually do easily. Is it just tiredness, or do our brains actually ‘fill up’ (to use a silly metaphor)? The reason I think it is more than tiredness is because I had a 10 minute telephone conversation and afterwards could immediately tell that my phrase was wrong. It was like the act of talking ‘reset’ my writing abilities.

I’ve encountered this before. After a day of usability testing or doing contextual interviews, I’m completely shattered – I feel like I’m somewhere else. But having a conversation or tutoring (rather than concentrating on listening) ‘resets’ me and I’m fine for the rest of the evening.

OK, this is probably basic cognitive psychology and something I should know. But hey – even though I’m a HCI girl, there’s still an awful lot I don’t know about the H, the C and the I ;)

Uni results in

Tuesday, December 9th, 2003

I got my university results for this semester. For ‘Web Design and Delivery’, I got a HD.

Usually I’m pretty excited by a HD (as you can imagine). This time it just reinforces that I should be changing degree – I put in little real effort and learned nothing getting that mark.

User research is still tiring

Tuesday, December 9th, 2003

I’ve mentioned before that doing user research (usually contextual interviews) is very tiring – after a day of it, I’m completely brain dead and not up to doing anything.

I realised today that listening to tapes of contextual interviews is almost as tiring. I had previously thought that it was not only the concentration but the emotional energy of empathising with someone and drawing them out during the discussion. Now I think it’s just the concentration that makes me tired.

So how do I get better at concentrating – I vaguely remember reading something about practicing ‘bare attention’. I’m too tired to even google it tonight ;)

Keyboard support is disappearing

Thursday, December 4th, 2003

I’ve been using my laptop a lot lately without using a mouse. It does have a touchpad but I’ve been starting to use the keyboard a lot more again, and on my desk computer as well.

I’ve only just noticed how poor keyboard support is getting (you probably know this already, but…). Today alone I noticed:

  • a dialog box with 4 buttons where using the left and right arrows didn’t just cycle through the buttons in the expected direction, it followed some strange pattern
  • dialog boxes with no focus
  • dialog boxes with inconsistent focus within an application (eg some boxes with the focus on cancel, some with OK)

And how on earth do I log into Windows XP without using the mouse???

Peter’s IA book

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2003

I recieved my copy of Peter’s IA book today.

This book is sooooo attractive. Nice hard cover, thick paper, attractive graphics and well-balanced pages.

But what about the content, you say? Content? I haven’t read the book yet – just skimmed through looking for my own name against quotes (it’s there 3 times – go look!)…

Eudora got tired

Monday, December 1st, 2003

I always keep my eye out for funny error messages. Today Eudora told me:

“Error writing to network. Eudora got tired of waiting for the server”.

Perhaps that’s why it’s been asleep all day!