Psychologist’s view of UX

how memory worksImage: Today I Found Out 

Understanding user experience is critical these days. Most of us are connected and using devices. Many of us have been using technology for a very long time. We all come with our habits, views and perceptions of how technology should work. UX (user experience) is about working with real people so they can use your software and can easily access your website. We have all been there. The app which leaves us clueless as to what to do next or find what we are looking for. The website which gets us so frustrated because we are following the links and they are not going to where we want or worse, take us back to exactly where we started. In my opinion a circular website is the equivalent of smacking people in the face. It’s rude. At least put up a message that you are working on something or traffic volume is too high or whatever the truth is.
There’s a very good article by a psychologist which looks at UX from a psychological point of view. There are 10 main areas and each one is explained very efficiently. If you are planning screen services of any sort for anyone then it’s good to look at the psychology of it as well as the visual impact and functionality of it.

1.People don’t want to work or think more than they have to
2.People have limitations
3.People make mistakes
4. Human memory is complicated
5.People are social
6. Attention
7.People crave information
8. Unconscious processing
9. People create mental models
10. Visual system

The article in UX Magazine explains it all really well. It’s worth a look.

Solbot Energy Rush

Solbot Energy Rush is a mobile game where you collect orbs to create renewable energy. It is , at least, a game which focuses on 21st Century energy issues. There is information accessible from within the game to give you tips and ideas for creating a more sustainable planet. To be a true educational game I’d like that information to be coming up as I play. The little robot changes colour as you go through the game levels and you collect the energy orbs which match the colour of the robot. It’s a drop down and collect game and then you need the navigational skills to be able to avoid the energy balls you don’t want to collect.

It’s a good game to have on your phone to fill in time if you are having to wait for something. It didn’t work so well on my iPad Air which I have had since 2015. It kept hanging. That might not be the game’s problem. I am on an Australian nbn connection which can drift in and out at times and then create lag on some apps. We are still putting in the infrastructure for our nbn and these sorts of things cause band width problems.

On my phone Solbot Energy Rush has worked perfectly fine and has been advantageous to me to build up my thumb skills. I don’t naturally use my thumbs on my phone as some people do. One of the advantages of playing different games is they get you good at screen skills. There are times when the robot moves of its own accord and I have been blown up by bad energy. That doesn’t bother me because its’ part of the repetitious learning in games to enhance your skills.

I quite like the graphics. I think they are well designed for a phone screen which has such a small screen real estate. Everything stands out well and is placed appropriately. You don’t make inadvertent clicks because the graphics are in the wrong place. I haven’t minded the adverts either. There have been things I have seen which have interested me and I have already downloaded one of the games which was advertised. For me  it’s good because I won’t naturally go looking for that type of information.

My favourite phone game is Bejewelled Blitz and I find Solbot Energy Rush to be another good option. It’s a Unity built game by Freakout games.  They  have a Facebook page  and are on Twitter @freakoutgames. They are pleasant and polite to deal with. They were keen to resolve my iPad issues with the game so they take user experience seriously. There’s another review of this game on XNVR. In the end, you find the games which suit your needs but this one is worth a try.

You can get the Apple version for iPad and iPhone from the App Store here and the android version  for  other tablets and phones  from the Google Play store here.

 

 

Puzzle Craft 2

Puzzle Craft 2Last time I blogged about Puzzle Craft 2 was 5th May and I said then it would take me the rest of the year to collect all the thousands of resources to achieve the next castle upgrade. 6000 of this, 8000 of that. Drudgery at its finest and a massive challenge. I’ve done it , though. I collected all those countless thousands of salt and water and who knows what. I was so over it. I got my castle upgrade and the game was kind enough to give me an easy upgrade for which I already had all the resources and now I am on a reasonable upgrade which I have nearly finished. On the other side of that huge amount of resource collection I am wiser, I do not like the game any less and I have been able to complete those next upgrades comfortably. I had to keep myself going through all that drudgery. Collecting coins and runes became important. I had to use coins to buy resources to bulk up my own collections which were pretty paltry. I had to use the runes to initially buy more coins to then buy more resources but about half way through I started buying more workers to increase the resource and assets output of the game. I have since celebrated my big achievement by paying cash to get 10 workers to invest in the game.

The game is very fair in that sense. It is not a game which bullies you for money. It is not a game which bullies you into a certain way of playing. It is not a game which will stop your progress because you don’t have cash to invest in it. It’s not a game which limits you. It pushes you into situations which force you to think your way out. You have to concentrate on strategy and deployment of game technique. There are no easy outs and no artificial ways of playing. You have to do your homework on  the game and work out how to best manage any given situation. It is important to change game play to suit what you are trying to achieve. Sometimes I was playing all the villages to get what I needed. Other times I am playing the last three villages to get the best returns. Currently I am back to playing all the villages to get access to the treasure chests. I have run down coins, runes and experience points with the castle upgrades. I need to build those up as well as collect what I need for the next castle upgrade.

Then there is the first seaboard village with the unattainable mandrake. As I blogged before , the official site tells you the mandrake is not available. So why have it? You can never use that village to get experience points is what it means. You can use it , though, to get resources and built up runes and coins. For me , it’s always been a good village to go to as well when I just want to play and be left alone and away from the frustration of the game. Everything can be done in an uncomplicated, satisfying way and then when I have had a break I go back into the thick of it. There is a lot to think about, to manage and then there are all sorts of boards to play. They all play out differently and that’s one of the reasons I don’t tire of the game.  Besides, I want to see where this all ends up…

Keyboard biometrics

Authenticating people online is used for all sorts of reasons. Tracking you on a website gives marketers an idea of what to tailor to your needs. It is good to know that someone enrolled in an online course is actually the person completing the course or that if you are logged into a bank account you are entitled to that access because you are you. Keyboard biometrics/keyboard dynamics are becoming increasingly important as part of an authentication method. Artificial Intelligence has made it easier to quantify a user’s keyboard habits and each person is unique in how they use a keyboard. I am different from standard keyboard to iPad keyboard to touch screen keyboard. Sometimes I use a stylus on a touch screen so I am not sure at this point how easy it is to track me across devices. Apparently how you type in a password is unique. How you swap between keys is unique. There is a whole lot to learn about keyboard biometrics.

The video gives you a good overview of what keyboard biometrics entails. PCWorld looks at it form an AI point of view. Tripwire looks at the security and privacy issues in particular. If your behavioural dynamics are being shared and utilised without your knowledge then that goes into the arena of what exactly is being collected as we use our devices , what does it entail and how is that information being used. It’s not unreasonable to want to know what we are unwittingly divulging just because we want to be on the internet. There is a balance between collecting information for the common good – like, for instance,  treatments of specific cases of illnesses, conditions and diseases and then collecting something which is our own personal data (keyboard biometrics) and not tell us. If it is protecting us, then that is a good thing. If it’s being used for something else it’s not. If it involves us, we need to know.

In any case, this is the way authentication is going to go and it’s important we know about it, discuss it and look at what it actually means in practical terms for us.

Working on your privacy

Two things you can do without going any further are switching off bluetooth unless you need it and turning off location if you  don’t need it. Location is still detected via Google but  you  do not need to go out of your way to tell everyone where you are. Turn location on when you really need it. For some reason my Linux Mint 17.2 has bluetooth on by default. For privacy’s sake it should be the other way around.

Now for some links which will help you to make some good decisions about privacy and know how to manage it:

Lifewire has 10 things for you to look at to help improve your privacy.

spreadprivacy has tips for iPad and iPhone users.

wired   has tips for managing privacy on android devices.

PC Mag has some good information to help you manage Google privacy.

The video gives you security information about Safari.

On websites and accounts you use, check your settings. Look at the privacy policy for the websites and accounts. None of this is perfect at the moment. Privacy and security are ongoing issues. You also need to be prepared to let key people know what you think are acceptable and unacceptable terms of privacy. If they don’t know they will do what they think is right.

 

 

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