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Questioning conventions : are product conventions trading off the usability of products for short term user satisfaction

Young, Bryan Gough and Wodehouse, Andrew and Sheridan, Marion (2015) Questioning conventions : are product conventions trading off the usability of products for short term user satisfaction. International Journal of Cognitive Research in Science, Engineering and Education, 3 (2). pp. 47-58. ISSN 2334-8496

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Mapping conventions are a key aspect of user centered design as they present users with familiar interactions in unfamiliar products. Conventions evolve over time and are slow to be adopted, requiring a high percentage of acceptance within a society, ensuring that conventions exhibit a sufficient level of usability. However this paper argues that while usability is a necessary condition for good interactions it is not a sufficient one. Therefore user centered design which accents individuals bias towards conventions my in fact be hindering the innovation of product interactions. This paper argues that a cognitive approach should be adopted in order understand and reassess product interactions. An experiment was carried out that demonstrates the influence that simple mappings can have on cognitive load. The results showed that basic mappings of the types that are found throughout product conventions can have a substantial impact on mental load and subsequently product interaction.