Wired for Interfaces: How an Understanding of Social Psychology Can Inform Design


Date Thursday November 3rd 2005
Time 5:00 PM
Venue George E. Pake Auditorium

PARC Forum

Traditionally, the idea that one can leverage an understanding of how the brain works to improve design has been the province of cognitive science and human factors. In this talk, I’ll demonstrate that an understanding of the SOCIAL aspects of how the brain works can provide remarkable insights into how to improve user interactions. In this talk, I’ll describe a series of experimental studies emerging from the Stanford CHIMe Lab (other than those in the Brave talk), such as how do accents affect user perceptions of interfaces, why does the BMW Five Series have a male voice, what are the effects of individual vs. shared screens, and how does ownership affect collaboration? I will also outline how a social understanding of the growth of multi-tasking and mobile computing forces us to rethink many common assumptions about interface design.


Clifford Nass (Ph.D., Sociology, Princeton University) is a professor of communication at Stanford University, with appointments by courtesy in computer science, sociology, and symbolic systems (cognitive science). He is Director of the CHIMe (Communication between Humans and Interactive Media) Lab and co-Director of the Kozmetsky Global Collaboratory, both at Stanford University.

Clifford is the author of two books -- "The Media Equation" and "Wired for Speech" -- as well as almost 100 papers in human-technology interaction and statistical methodology. He is credited with the founding of the "Computers are Social Actors" paradigm. Nass has consulted on the design of over 200 media products and services for companies including Microsoft, Toyota, Philips, BMW, Hewlett-Packard, AOL, Charles Schwab, and US West.

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