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ucsd design lab daniel jackson MIT

Abstract

Rethinking Software Design

How does design thinking apply to software? Until now, most work on software design has focused on the design of the internal structure — not on the design that the user experiences. We’ve made a lot of progress in making software more usable with better design processes and heuristic guidelines, but we still lack a fundamental theory that could provide a more focused and constructive way to design software.

In this talk, I’ll explain the elements of a candidate theory that I’ve been working on. The behavior of a software app is structured as a collection of “concepts”, each of which is a state machine with its own motivating purpose. By examining the mapping between concepts and purposes, subtle design flaws are exposed that can have major impacts on usability.

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