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Happy together: sensors and users

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This issue of IEEE Internet Computing is focused on data-driven applications in sensor networks, which, in a literal sense, might not seem to have much to do with user experience (UE). We are hoping to offer some insights into how UE people might think about this problem area and others like it, what issues they might raise, and what opportunities could arise by considering those issues. The final message is that, although sensor-network management presents a unique set of challenges, the usual rules of user-centered design still apply: know your users; know their tasks; design, test, and repeat. In some highly technical domains, you might be designing for skilled, experienced users with a clear foundation of domain knowledge and expertise. From a UE design perspective, this means that the designers can assume the presence of this knowledge about the domain, and design the system around it. The interface that results could well be impenetrable to anybody outside the domain, but that might be okay - there's nothing wrong with building interfaces for experts if that's who your users are. The catch is that the UI designers has to learn enough about the domain that they can do the design, because so much of what makes it an effective interface is bound up in the domain's details. That's the route that gets you a great interface, and a great user experience.

Published in:

Internet Computing, IEEE  (Volume:10 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

March-April 2006

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