Design Probes for Handheld and Ubiquitous Computing

Harold Thimbleby

ABSTRACT Technology doesn't "just get better" on its own - it needs designing. When there are conflicting pressures on designers, from usability to marketability, from feature bouquet to rapid obsolescence, designers need guidelines if they are not to be overwhelmed. This talk presents "design probes" which are intended as initial questions for designers to ask - and to respond to in the context of their design work. Probes range from technological ones about provision for user help, through marketting about how the product will be demonstrated, through to high-level ethical probes: can this technology be "undone". The probes are shown be interrelated, for example undo is a standard feature that makes interaction easier.

Prof. Harold
Harold Thimbleby is Professor of Computing Research at Middlesex University, London, and Research Director for the School of Computing Science. Harold gained his PhD in 1981 in Human-Computer Interaction, and much of his research since then has been concerned with making complex devices easier to use. In 1987 he was awarded the British Computer Society Wilkes Medal. He wrote "User Interface Design" published by Addison-Wesley in 1990. He has over 300 publications. He has held visiting posts in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Switzerland, as well as in industry. He has lectured widely from Norway to New Zealand, and has been widely reported on TV and radio.

Hans-Werner Gellersen
Last modified: Wed Jul 28 17:04:11 MET DST 1999