Matt Webb, Director, Schulze & Webb
Date: Thursday, March 17
Time: 1:45pm - 2:30pm
Location: California Ballroom B
What can a better understanding of the human brain offer interaction design?
Neuroscience can be an accessible subject, and a small knowledge of it handy for
There is no computer-like brain that rationally dissects the sights and sounds
emitted by the technology that surrounds us. Rather, the brain is a pragmatic
and complex tangle of heuristics that learned its tricks when speed was of the
- For example, certain changes in the light must be picked up much faster than
others--there are built-in shortcuts to pick out shape and motion. We can take
advantage of these highways into the brain.
- Another example: there are conflict-resolution heuristics to figure out
whether to trust our eyes or ears more in difficult circumstances--and sometimes
these are not best-guesses but second-guesses, assumptions that may prove
faulty. These we have to watch out for.
Psychology has pointed out places where the brain is momentarily confused by
having to jump attention around, or whether to focus in one direction or
another. In the outdoor world this isn't often a problem, but in the world of
dialog boxes and cell phone buttons that change their meanings, this happens all
What was discovered by the observations of psychology has been investigated by
brain imaging and neuroscience. We can now use this knowledge in the building of
better tools and interfaces. It provides us with clues to assist the design of
fluid interactions at the subsecond, almost unconscious, timescale: when the
user is choosing what key to press, or where to look next.
In this session, Webb looks at some illuminating experiments, builds some
understanding about the nature of perception and cognition, and puts these ideas
into practice with a critique or two, with the intention of providing the
attendee with a useful, and intriguing, design tool.