Foundations of UX: Logic and Content
Illustration by John Hersey
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How we communicate


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Foundations of UX: Logic and Content

with Morten Rand-Hendriksen

Video: How we communicate

Before we talk about logic in user experience and design, let's take a big step back and look at how we communicate. If you think about it, it's pretty amazing that we can understand each other at all. Consider what happens when we communicate with each other. I have an idea. And I want to share it with you. To do so, I need to transfer that idea to you. But I can't actually take the idea out of my head and place it into yours. Instead, I have to describe the idea using a common or natural language and hope that you will interpret that description the way I intended.

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Watch the Online Video Course Foundations of UX: Logic and Content
1h 45m Beginner Dec 02, 2013

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Foundations of UX: Logic and Content looks at how designers, developers, and content creators can use the ancient art of logic and reasoning to improve user experiences and facilitate communication. Morten Rand-Hendriksen looks at the principles of logic, how computer logic and human logic differ, and how these differences can be used to improve communication.

The core idea of logic is to create a system in which communication is clear, precise, and unambiguous, which is (or at least should be) the goal of any website or other communication.

Topics include:
  • How humans communicate
  • Comparing human and computer communication
  • Speaking logically
  • Using logical arguments
  • Understanding the limits of computer logic
  • Formatting information for humans
  • Communicating with logic
Subject:
Web
Author:
Morten Rand-Hendriksen

How we communicate

Before we talk about logic in user experience and design, let's take a big step back and look at how we communicate. If you think about it, it's pretty amazing that we can understand each other at all. Consider what happens when we communicate with each other. I have an idea. And I want to share it with you. To do so, I need to transfer that idea to you. But I can't actually take the idea out of my head and place it into yours. Instead, I have to describe the idea using a common or natural language and hope that you will interpret that description the way I intended.

And that's far from certain. Each of us interprets what is communicated to us based on our own experiences and understanding of the world. And while we may seem like we come from the same place, we might in reality be from fundamentally different places both in literal and figurative terms. Take me as an example. While I live and work in North America, I was born and raised in Norway. As a result, my understanding of the world from geopolitical concepts down to things as seemingly ubiquitous as trust and love.

Is often vastly different from those who are born and raised on this continent. And this unobservable difference in worldview and values can produce some pretty interesting and often perplexing errors of communication. While it's easy and comfortable to assume that as long as we both speak the same language, we'll be able to communicate freely, the reality is far more complex. Let' me illustrate this with a simple example. Take out a pen and paper and pause this video while you draw a tree for me.

When you're done drawing, start the video again. Now let's look at my drawing and some drawings done by some of my friends. Here's my drawing. And notice how they're all different. They're all different because, though we used the same word for the idea of a tree, the actual image in our minds we associate with that word, differs from person to person. From this, we can draw a simple conclusion. Words alone, are not enough to ensure that complex ideas are clearly communicated.

For that, we need something more robust. To ensure as clear a communication as possible, we resort to logic and sound arguments.

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