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Dissertation zugänglich unter
URN: urn:nbn:de:gbv:18-36977
URL: http://ediss.sub.uni-hamburg.de/volltexte/2008/3697/


Where »less« is »more« – notions of minimalism and the design of interactive systems: A constructive analysis of products & processes of human-computer-interaction design from a minimalist standpoint

Obendorf, Hartmut

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 Dokument 1.pdf (9.184 KB) 


SWD-Schlagwörter: Benutzerfreundlichkeit , Agile Softwareentwicklung , Softwareentwicklung , Design
Freie Schlagwörter (Deutsch): Usability , Minimalismus
Freie Schlagwörter (Englisch): Usability , Minimalism
Basisklassifikation: 54.80
Institut: Informatik
DDC-Sachgruppe: Informatik
Dokumentart: Dissertation
Hauptberichter: Oberquelle, Horst (Prof. Dr.)
Sprache: Englisch
Tag der mündlichen Prüfung: 04.04.2007
Erstellungsjahr: 2007
Publikationsdatum: 12.06.2008
Kurzfassung auf Englisch: This thesis assumes scientific transdisciplinary work is possible. Consequently, it is torn between a ‚rigid‘ logical tradition, which even in the purely mathematic proof is actually based on convention, empirical ‚evidence‘, that risks choosing chance over truth, and scholarly argument, where generalization is based on the transparency of personal bias. It presents a mixture of scientific work from the liberal arts, from design and from computer science. For some, it will not be detailed enough in its treatment of design, for others, principles of engineering will fall short. Yet, the marriage of different disciplines might appeal to those who believe it is the friction between different fields that makes the craft of designing interactive systems so interesting. This thesis tries to differentiate meanings of simplicity—when we build something, we often want it simple, yet seldom know how. It is a thesis about minimalism, a concept from art, music and literature, and about its use in human-computer interaction. It documents a process rather than presenting a result, as the connection from the liberal arts to computer science is not immediate, and transferring a concept from one realm to another will need some argumentative support to hold the weight of argument. We can well build (fairly) usable interactive systems. Experience tells us how to get things right—most of the time. Guidelines and rules help us to build good interfaces. Design processes, methods and techniques aid us in developing use-centred design. This thesis does not attempt to teach how to design better products in a better way; the author knows others with more practical experience, and is afraid to teach others on this subject. Instead, this thesis establishes perspectives on the why. Why do some products work better than others? Why do guidelines lead to simple designs? Why do methods work? Minimalism is part of this answer. Reduction lies at the heart of design. Identifying key users and key tasks and limiting immediate functionality to the essential produces simple, yet powerful products. Selecting, structuring and modularizing functionality, fitting tools to a specific task, configuring complex work environments, and crafting tools for useful misuse are all important parts of design. Reduction implicitly guides designers, design rules and design methodology. Minimalism is used here to differentiate between these design goals and design activities, it is used as a tool to identify the benefits of reduction, and the trade-offs involved. But it also makes explicit the dangers and shortcomings of an approach following ‚less is more‘, of less becoming a bore.

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