Digital Times forum I attended in the past


In 2002, the Digital Times published a UI feature article as a serialist, and the newspaper wanted to end this series with a discussion of UI experts.

It seemed that I invited the Korean HCI Research Society to be the first person to attend.

[Planning-UI Era](20);UI is the point of contact between computer and human...

Jihyung Chae dream@dt.co.kr 2002/10/28

<Planning-UI Era>, which examines the importance of user interface (UI), which is emerging as a key competitive factor in cutting-edge digital products and services, from various angles, enhances national competitiveness by raising the general interest and awareness of UI. It is a planning series to contribute to. In addition, this effort of the Digital Times was recognized as a meaningful attempt by many readers.

In the 21st century digital economy, UI is recognized as 'quality' as well as convenience in use, and it is a major factor in shaping the image of the entire company by defining the characteristics of products. In particular, today, UI is recognized as a means that can ultimately bring happiness by satisfying users' emotions and desires beyond the level of technology and function, and there is a high demand for investment and interest in UI in terms of national competitiveness. As the final part of <Planning-UI Era>, this paper invited UI experts from all walks of life to discuss the importance of UI and the level of awareness among governments and companies, and discuss ways to enhance UI competitiveness.

<Editor's Note>

 

 

◈ Date: October 2002, 10

◈ Venue: Digital Times conference room

◈ Attendee: Prof. Wan-Cheol Yoon (Department of Industrial Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology)

Professor Young-mok Park (Department of Digital Media Design, Graduate School of Techno Design, Kookmin University)

Dr. Jinsoo Kim (Yahoo Korea UED Team)

Youngwan Choi (First President of HCI Research Society, Usability Engineer, Intranet Improvement Team, Samsung Group)

Pyeonggi Jeong, Team Leader (LG Telecom UI Team)

Seong-Hye Lee, President (Team Interface)

◈ Moderator: Reporter Changshin Park, Planning and Reporting Team, Digital Times Editorial Bureau

Moderator: I'll start with the basic question. Today, it is said that UI is a key competitive factor for companies, industries, and even countries. Why is UI important?

Regular review: An in-house survey showed that the average time a person stayed on the WAP for 2001 months from January 1 was about 6 minute and the number of hits was about 1. Then, I thought about why the usage time is only 50 minute, and whether there is any way to increase the usage time and increase sales. And while it is important to increase the use time of one person, the UI was approached in the direction of making the wireless Internet easier to use and allowing many people to enter. They pursued UI innovation as a way to increase sales. These days, I am thinking about UI while thinking of 'easy-to-use service' before sales.

The reason why UI is important in mobile is that among information devices, there are no devices with as complex and diverse customers as mobile communication terminals, and there are not many customers who actually know how to properly utilize the functions of terminals. Even as a developer, there are many features that I do not know well. Isn't the UI important for customers to use such complex devices well?

Society: What is the level of awareness of domestic companies about UI? Also, can the UI be viewed as a key element of national competitiveness?

Seonghye Lee: From the standpoint of a UI specialized company, I meet various corporate officials. In general, people in charge of business are aware of the importance of UI. They think UI is so important, but they don't seem to think so the higher up you go. Decision makers often do not know the UI. UI is quality. The most important thing for any product is quality. In order for users to use the product properly, investment must be made in many ways, and UI is the key area among them. Therefore, UI should be recognized from the perspective of the entire company process, but Korea is not yet at that level.

Park Young-mok: Of course (UI level) fatally affects national competitiveness. In the case of American airplanes, chairs are designed to fit the body shape of Americans. UI is about human cognitive standards. If those people (Americans) standardize the interface standards globally for them, that means we have to follow their logic. This indicates the possibility that UI can act as an element that protects the economic block in the future.

You asked why UI is important, and tools, or interfaces, contain culture. Let's see the water cup. Cups have been handed down unconsciously and the wisdom of our ancestors over the past thousands of years. However, there was not enough time for information equipment to contain culture. Korea is just accepting it, but it can be said that advanced foreign countries are making new ones now. Therefore, UI work is very basic in advanced countries, but Korea is now at an early stage where large corporations are showing interest. It's kind of late.

Jinsoo Kim: UI is the interface between computer and human. How computers work and how humans perceive are different. Therefore, the medium that connects the two between the computer and the human is important. In the past, engineers created the interface (interface). Engineers focused on implementing various functions, and the resulting design was not good. So, visual designers came forward and created a cool and beautiful result as much as possible. But at this point, a fundamental problem was overlooked. Designing interfaces around people is missing.

In the case of Yahoo Headquarters (Yahoo.com), there is a clear goal of making the Yahoo site a highly usable site. Therefore, about 10 master's and doctoral level UI experts are working at the headquarters, and they have a lab well equipped with usability testing equipment such as eye trackers (equipment that measures usability by tracking eye movements).

Society: Isn't UI important not only for websites but also for corporate information systems?

Jinsoo Kim: The website has mainly talked about UI. In system integration (SI), UI was not considered very much. Isn't integration more important than usability in SI? However, with the introduction of systems such as the Enterprise Portal (EP), UI became important. If all employees share different data and use it conveniently, shouldn't usability be considered?

Yun Wan-cheol: When Korea's national income reached $1, 'quality' was once highlighted as an important issue. It has been said that if we do not solve the quality problem, we cannot go to the age of 2 dollars. At that time, 'quality management' became an important trend among large corporations. If so, does that mean that Korean companies did not conduct quality control before then? Not like that. Many companies have continued to perform statistical quality control. Nevertheless, what was recognized as more important was the recognition that the quality control level of the past was not enough to become a world-class company. It was necessary to improve the process and change the corporate culture and mindset. In the past, if the quality problem was considered defensively, that is, if the quality problem was approached at the level of avoiding claims, now it is thought that if the quality cannot be raised to the best, it is impossible to differentiate it from latecomers.

It is easy to think that UI is a matter of adding a little added value to an already created object, but it is by no means the case. From the user's point of view, UI is a matter of quality of use. It is difficult to say that it is the user's fault just because the user does not read the manual and cannot use the function properly. If 10 out of 3 product users do not use the product properly, it means the product is of low quality. The UI is now recognized as a user's right. If there's a machine that's hard to write, today's users say they're not stupid, the machine is stupid. We are at this stage now.

Korea is a so-called 'IT powerhouse'. But let's put our hands on our chests and think. If Koreans are really smart, they should become the number one software exporting country, but the reality is that it is not. Of course, there are success stories, but Korea is not able to sell even a single package of software to the overseas market.

There is no hill to beat (in overseas markets) without fixing the UI. The UI is the part where you risk your life and work hard.

If we talked about quality from a defensive point of view, UI should be approached from an innovation point of view. Creativity doesn't come from a single idea. Creativity comes from insight, and insight comes from deep understanding. It is important to understand users, needs and culture and incorporate them into the interface.

An interface can be said to be a 'holistic environment in which people work'. In addition to electronic devices and websites, intranets, power plants, and corporate portals are, after all, an environment and interface for people to work. More than 90% of human activity today is cognitive activity. Interfaces are what make people work in the best environment possible.

Park Young-mok: When I was asked, 'Why is UI important?', I thought of an answer I could give. When it comes to making bags or clothes, you have to research trendy colors in advance to make products that sell well. If so, it would be better to call this (all the work done to make a product that sells well) an interface. Isn't the application area different?

There is a story I heard from a Fuji Xerox engineer in Japan. The company once tried to incorporate all kinds of functions such as number of copies, magnification adjustment, and paper size in the control panel of the copier, and as a result, the length of the control panel was 1m30cm, which is larger than the length of the copier itself. This is because all the buttons for all functions are placed on the control panel. However, the copier did not sell well.

After doing research, people thought it was difficult to write, but there was a problem. Therefore, it is said that for the first time, resources to improve operability were put in. After making an investment such as making an LCD panel to increase usability, an additional 30% of the cost of making a copier was added. Of course it got expensive. However, this improved usability product sold well despite the high price. It was then that I realized that the product function is important, but it is also necessary to make it usable.

In mid-1995, when Nomura Research Institute in Japan asked buyers who visited Akiaba, Japan what they value most when buying home appliances, I heard that they ranked ease of use as the number one priority.

Jinsoo Kim: There seems to be a dilemma for home appliances. You have to make a new model and raise the price, but to do that, you have to add more functions, and as a result, the usability decreases. It seems that the direction of the company's pursuit of new products is the opposite of usability performance. Looking at the VCR, it seems that only about 20% of the many functions are used. I make a lot of mistakes when I try to use functions I don't use often.

Wancheol Yun: Generally, if you make a mistake, you don't want to use that function again. Even if there is a manual, I don't want to look at it.

I also think that Korea does not yet regard usability as important. Why don't you buy a product after looking at its shape? When buying a cell phone, choose a pretty one. The website is like a 'knights restaurant'. If you don't like it, move it to another site right away.

To use an analogy, I got married because I had a pretty face (I bought it because I liked the design), but I think UI is what I regret over and over because my personality doesn't match. The question is how continuously to maintain and improve the UI. Too often, after making one product good, the quality of another product deteriorates. Companies must make continuous investments to give them a high-quality image.

Park Young-mok: If a person's face is an appearance or a feature, then the interface is his personality.

The interface seems to be moving from the level of achieving the purpose of use to the direction of defining the nature of the product.

Jinsoo Kim: In my personal opinion, the Yahoo screen seems to give the image that data is more reliable than other search sites. Now, rather than whether or not information can be found on a search site, the site that people find depends on the image provided by the interface. Interface has developed as a means of forming an image for a certain product, and it can be said that it affects corporate culture.

Seong-Hye Lee: Among UIs, especially in the software field, the recognition level seems to be low. And the software UI is also difficult.

Wancheol Yun: The reason is that Korean software companies are small and software development time is always tight. It will be difficult to even consider the UI at a time when it is difficult to eliminate bugs.

Society: Recently, Samsung and LG are increasing their investment in UI. Isn't it encouraging to see these two companies representing Korea?

Choi Young-wan: I joined Samsung SDS in 1996. At that time, there was a Samsung HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) research group. It was a meeting with people interested in UI from Samsung Electronics and Samsung SDS. Even at Samsung, in the early days, people who did HCI were looked down on. So we asked each other to come together, and we relied on each other. But now, interest in UI has increased. Now, more and more masters and doctorates are coming from abroad. The power of the UI team has become much stronger. As a result, there is talk of sharing a usability test lab within Samsung. Overall, the atmosphere has improved, but it seems that there is still a lack of interest from the superiors. The process cannot be seen as established. So it seems we have more work to do.

Pyeonggi: I am not in a position to speak about the entire LG group, but it is true that the awareness of UI has increased. While we are reorganizing our UI-related organization, the number of team members continues to increase. I think it's a positive change.

Jinsoo Kim: First of all, I think it's important for seniors to recognize the expertise of UI experts. We need to create a climate in which managers give decisions to people who are more specialized than themselves. Wouldn't that be an improvement?

Society: What do you think of the point that standardization is important for UI as well?

Regular review: Korean content providers (CPs) are developing content for each of the three mobile carriers. So there are many difficulties. In addition, since the UI of mobile phone terminals differs from manufacturer to manufacturer, it is necessary to customize them one by one. This puts a lot of pressure on developers. the government







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