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Chapter 10. Designing for Power > Personal and Practical Goals

Personal and Practical Goals

Earlier in this chapter, I stated that the essence of good interaction design is to let users achieve their practical goals without violating their personal goals. Homo logicus, and their apologists, usually find it embarrassing to look too closely at personal goals, so they avoid it. However, the distinction between personal goals and practical goals is critical to success.

I'll use my colleague Ted as an example. He just sent me email complaining about his new television set. He spent an unpleasant hour reading the manual so he could properly set all of the TV's various parameters. He suggested to me that the TV should have provided an on-screen dialog box to step him through the procedure instead of forcing him to read the manual. His solution is fine as far as it goes, but—he is not a designer—he naturally tackled the problem the old mechanical-age way: by focusing on tasks. The on-screen dialogs would simplify the task of setting parameters, but—by examining his goals instead—we use a different approach, which gives us a remarkably better solution.


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