EuroIA 2015

Madrid, 24 – 26 September

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On Messages

A talk by Dimiter Simov

We interact with websites, applications, and devices. Our productivity depends on robustness, speed, load tolerance, connectivity… Things that we can and often do measure and monitor.

This talk is about a core attribute of quality – performance. We will however take a slightly non-orthodox and very specific, human-centric point of view: messages.

Error messages, system messages, status messages, informational messages, warning messages, feedback messages, inline messages… interactions with websites, applications, and devices are peppered with messages – the things communicate with their users. Sometimes people understand the messages, and sometimes they don’t. It is surprising how often a message does not serve its purpose of letting users know how to handle a particular situation with the product.

In this presentation I will take a look at messages and will: 1) Illustrate through examples that messages have a strong effect on how humans perform with software. 2) Discuss the points of view of users, developers, designers, architects, and businesses. 3) Place the responsibility for messages with information architects and interaction designers because the single factor that defines a message as successful or not is the information that it carries for the user who receives and reads that message. 4) Present my own recipe for writing (or not) messages: design interactions, do not write messages.

The presentation is designed to entertain, provoke questions and discussions, and give a practical take-away.

Dimiter Simov

I am Dimiter Simov (Jimmy) and work in the field of information development since 1997. I have stepped in the roles of usability analyst, usability consultant, interaction and UI designer, QA, and user documentation writer.

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