»Does one size fit all?« - kognitiv variation och IT

Agneta Gulz


In this article it is proposed that the development of IT interfaces, from a cognitive perspective, has taken the first of two important steps. Command-based IT interfaces, representing a technology centered design, have been replaced by graphical interfaces, representing a more human centered design.

There is however a second important developmental step that we are still waiting for. This second step requires a serious appreciation of the fact that human beings differ as informational creatures – that they are not cognitively alike. Even though the majority of IT users are well served by graphical interfaces as such, it does not mean that all those users are equally comfortable with one and the same design of a particular graphical interface. Some research projects which indicate that this is not the case are presented in the text.

Simply replacing the current »one size fits all« approach to interface design will however not be sufficient. There is also need for more research on what cognitive aspects are most relevant in adpating interfaces and on how this can be done in practice.

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