THE WELCH COMPANY
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S U M M A R Y
DIARY: September 21, 2000 08:57 PM Thursday;
User interface balances utility and ease of use.
2...Complexity Tolerated for Commonly Used Tools and Methods
3...Complexity Difficult, Frustrating, But Only Fatal If Ignored
4...Respect for User Balances Usefulness with Friendliness
5...Cost Benefits Invest Time for Learning to Improve Productivity
6...20 Minutes is Not Enough Time for Learning to Improve Productivity
7...Trade-off between Time to Produce Benefits and Time to Learn
8...Stable Technology Essential Improve Productivity, Learn New Methods
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0201 - Armstrong Consulting O-00000767 0101
020101 - Mr. Eric Armstrong O-00000767 0101
Usefulness Not Marketing Criteria
Power User Wants Fast Performance Function Keys
Easy to Use Preferred More than Productivity of Function Keys
1205 - ..
1206 - Summary/Objective
120701 - Follow up ref SDS 65 0000, ref SDS 62 0000.
120703 - Received ref DRT 1 0001 from Eric Armonstrong commenting on the user
120704 - friendly/ease of use v. productivty issue.
120706 - Submitted ref DIT 1 0001 linked to this record for analysis.
120708 - Cited Eric's letter on 000811 that objected to using Knowledge
120709 - Space. ref SDS 56 0001
120711 - ..
120712 - Linked to record on 000824 listing SDS improvements. ref SDS 59
120713 - 0001
120715 - [On 000927 Eric submits letter to DKR team asking if any work
120716 - is being done on KM. ref SDS 71 0001
120717 - ..
120718 - Suggest meeting to review action items on DKR project, to
120719 - illustrate how to do KM. ref DIT 1 009J On 000831 Paul Fernhout
120720 - proposed creating KM with open source "termite" management
120721 - methods. ref SDS 63 PR9L
120723 - // [On 000923 notify Pat Lincoln of this idea. ref SDS 67 QP7N
120724 - //
120725 - [On 000922 Jack Park supports AI review. ref SDS 68 X48O
120727 - ..
120728 - [On 000922 ran an AI report. ref SDS 69 0001
120730 - ..
120731 - [On 000924 Eric supports AI review. ref SDS 70 TH6I
120733 - ..
120734 - [On 000927 Eric asks DKR team why email traffic is "quiet,"
120735 - and asks further if development has been occurring in
120736 - background. ref SDS 71 0001
120737 - ..
120738 - Eric cites a quote from Doug Engelbart in an article submitted
120739 - by another contributor....
120741 - "He believes the commercial world's fixation on user-friendliness
120742 - has seriously slowed down the computer revolution. Instead of
120743 - developing the best tools, marketers want products that are easy
120744 - to use, even if they aren't the most productive. So consumers are
120745 - sold inferior products. ref DRT 1 0001
120747 - [On 001207 too many people having too may problems using tools
120748 - that are "user friendly," may suggest productive tools are
120749 - needed. ref SDS 75 0001
120751 - ..
120752 - Eric disagrees with Doug on the crucial area of "user friendliness".
120753 - ref DRT 1 JV5O
Complexity Tolerated Frequently Used Tools Methods
Complexity Requires Uncommon Sense Intelligence Intuitive Solutions D
Integration, Balancing, Visualization
Complexity Requires Integrate Objectives, History, Resources, Need SD
Easy Learn Use Preferred More than Productivity of Function Keys
Learn SDS Difficult Because Integrates Wide Range Functions Dilemma B
20 Minutes Learn Integrated Complex Tools Frequent Use Easy Improve P
Learning Hard, Big Reward, Alphabet, SDS Communication Metrics
Critical Mass Management Practices Must Be Integrated in Order to Imp
Complex Integrated Useful Tools Need Short Term Ramp to Help People G
Transition Gracefully to New Tools Need Interim Support Com Manager
251401 - ..
251402 - Complexity Tolerated for Commonly Used Tools and Methods
251404 - Eric explains the amount of complexity people can tolerate depends on
251405 - the degree to which you use the system. ref DRT 1 7X6H
251407 - Knowledge Management dilemma...
251409 - ..
251410 - Integrated design increases productivity by enabling people to
251411 - use tools regularly which maintains skill, explained on 890809,
251412 - ref SDS 1 2U4F, but this takes time to learn, like alphabet
251413 - technology, driving a car, which is resisted, because people like
251414 - to use the things they already know how to do, also, explained on
251415 - 890809 in follow up telecon with Morris. ref SDS 2 2079 and
251416 - ref SDS 2 QF4O
251418 - ..
251419 - If technology is not used a lot nobody can learn all of the stuff
251420 - that makes it fun and productive to use alot. The only solution
251421 - is a stable knowledge capability that enables people over time to
251422 - increase use and skills together, per letter to Mary Keeler on
251423 - 000624. ref SDS 46 QX7N
251425 - ..
251426 - The idea of SDS for Enterprise Management is to provide a core
251427 - set of integrated tasks that can be used 24 7 to think, remember
251428 - and communicate. The degree of use, together with extensible
251429 - assignments, makes it productive and fun to use.
251431 - ..
251432 - The challenge is getting jump started. Spending 20 minutes to an
251433 - hour playing with SDS, as people do with other software and web
251434 - sites, will never impart sufficient understanding to improve
251435 - earnings.
251438 - ..
251439 - Complexity Difficult, Frustrating, But Only Fatal If Ignored
251442 - Eric continues...
251444 - Even when greater complexity is desirable in the long term, a short
251445 - term "ramp" is needed that keeps things simple, so you can get there
251446 - from here. In fact, most complex systems start out simply and become
251447 - complex over time. The people who "grow up" with the system,
251448 - therefore, easily tolerate levels of complexity that new users find
251449 - daunting. But penetration into the user space depends on user
251450 - acceptance. ref DRT 1 0Y6J
251452 - The general point that complex tools require a peroid of
251453 - transition to learn and deploy is well established. On 000327
251454 - Doug Engelbart explained experience at SRI shows advantage of
251455 - providing professional support to transition ("warm up") new
251456 - users. ref SDS 23 1530
251458 - ..
251459 - Tranining and professional support help people learn complex
251460 - skills like alphabet technology, mathematics, engineering,
251461 - computer programming, etc. When business is failing, national
251462 - security is at risk, people need to acquire skills for improving
251463 - the work.
251465 - ..
251466 - What is overlooked in Eric's analysis is the complexity endemic
251467 - to life from compressing time and distance, that is hidden from
251468 - the conscious span of attention, and so comprises a continual
251469 - series of ticking time bombs, cited in POIMS. ref OF 1 3385
251471 - ..
251472 - People are overwhelmed by complexity occurring minute by minute,
251473 - hour by hour every day, per analysis on 991010, ref SDS 12 3066,
251474 - and a few days later on 991014. ref SDS 13 5600 After the third
251475 - meeting, the 4th email and the 5th phone call the mind is jumbled
251476 - in error due to meaning drift, exemplified by the "telephone
251477 - game," as explained in NWO..., ref OF 2 4077 But the mind is not
251478 - aware of this complexity, nor the mistakes it causes and spreads
251479 - to other, as explained on 990924, ref SDS 10 3955, analysing the
251480 - high cost of medical mistakes. ref DIP 1 0001
251482 - ..
251483 - On 950204 people can maintain alignment for about a minute, which
251484 - is about all that is needed for the human mind to survive in a
251485 - natural setting. ref SDS 5 0550
251487 - ..
251488 - The subconscious buffers complexity, so people can function in a
251489 - taking sequential steps in a world with parallel, constantly
251490 - evolving perils and opportunities. Eric expected technology that
251491 - manages a greater share of the connections which comprise daily
251492 - activity would boggle the mind, reported on 000125. ref SDS 16
251493 - 3975 However, the corollary proposition is far worse. Allowing
251494 - critical details to go unnoticed due to complexity of a faster
251495 - paced world, see NWO..., action, ref OF 2 02CV, rather than add
251496 - intelligence that shows cause and effect for taking timely action
251497 - is a sure recipe for bumbling, loss, conflict, crisis and
251498 - calamity, under Murphy's Law, also, cited in NWO. ref OF 2 6156
251499 - and ref OF 2 9449
251501 - ..
251502 - SDS provides an F3 function to get a Diary that empowers people
251503 - to manage complexity by understanding context of related events
251504 - in Knowledge Space. People don't have to use F3. People can use
251505 - the mouse to click a menu option for this in several different
251506 - ways; but, F3 is pretty simple and easy to use. On 000811 Eric
251507 - objected to links that provide context, ref SDS 56 0001; however,
251508 - on 000920 a vendor reported context provided by SDS links
251509 - expedited the work. ref SDS 66 NO8H On 981104 an engineer on
251510 - another matter said the links were helpful. ref SDS 9 4320
251512 - ..
251513 - In any case, whether context is helpful or not, some people feel
251514 - that pressing F3 is too complex a task to obtain context, and so
251515 - prefer instead to live with the complexity of being mixed up and
251516 - losing a few million dollars, so long as someone else pays for
251517 - it, see examples on 950327. ref SDS 6 0200
Usefulness Balanced with User Friendliness
Interface Balance Ease of Use Productivity Usefulness Respect Custome
340501 - ..
340502 - Respect for User Balances Usefulness with Friendliness
340504 - Eric explains that "User friendliness" is simply respect for the user
340505 - -- mostly by limiting the cognitive demands imposed by the system, but
340506 - also by limiting the requirements for motor skills, coordination, and
340507 - physical movement. ref DRT 1 2Z7I
340509 - Eric strengthens this point in the next segment by balancing
340510 - usefulness and ease of use with user friendly GUI. ref SDS 0 5W4N
340512 - [On 001130 Jack Park reported SDS has user interface for
340513 - turning the structure of knowledge into useful tools for
340514 - people ref SDS 74 1O4L
340516 - ..
340517 - Leveraging and aiding cognitive strength (Eric called for
340518 - augmenting human intelligence on 000423, ref SDS 26 5096) by
340519 - making initial demands to learn a few new keys to press on a
340520 - keyboard and places to click on a screen might be a good
340521 - investment. For example, learning to use the alphabet aids human
340522 - thinking. Learning calculus can help in some cases, and so on.
340523 - POIMS explains how SDS technology lifts the capacity to think,
340524 - remember and communicate. ref OF 1 3742
340526 - ..
340527 - If the product is to improve human cognition, then this must be
340528 - provided whether it is user friendly or not, because otherwise
340529 - customers who want to improve the work will be disappointed. On
340530 - 940603 research at Stanford reported GUI does not improve
340531 - productivity hampered by information overload. ref SDS 4 T16K
340532 - ..
340533 - Respect for the User means imputing to the user a respect
340534 - for improving productivity by working fast and accurately to save
340535 - time and money. Eric reported on 000227 customers, including
340536 - business, don't care about improving the work. They want to make
340537 - more money using what they already know. ref SDS 18 5810
340538 - Marketing likely must balance at the least subliminal desire to
340539 - improve, based on the experience of civilization that this is a
340540 - successful strategy.
340542 - ..
340543 - People who invest time to improve skills and expertise, are often
340544 - respected for putting in extra effort to pull themselves up by
340545 - the bootstraps, for example, taking a night class in engineering
340546 - or management adds value to work practice.
340548 - ..
340549 - If it takes a few days of training to learn how to be prepared
340550 - for meetings, and how to generate useful intelligence that saves
340551 - a lot of money, this could be a respected investment.
20 Minutes Not Enough Time Improve Productivity Earnings Stock Prices
GUI Ease Learning 20 Minutes
GUI Menus, Mouse, Speech Learn 20 Minutes
GUI Usability Others Easy to Learn Intuitive 20 Minutes
Interface SDS Enables Intelligence KM Fast Easy Learn Unique
460801 - ..
460802 - Cost Benefits Invest Time for Learning to Improve Productivity
460803 - 20 Minutes is Not Enough Time for Learning to Improve Productivity
460805 - Eric notes the bottom line is *time*. Complex systems take time to
460806 - learn. The reward for traveling the learning curve depends on the
460807 - utility of the system, and on its longevity. A system that is
460808 - inordinately hard to learn and not very rewarding will be neither
460809 - wide-spread nor long lived, so the payoff for the initial investment
460810 - becomes a dubious prospect. ref DRT 1 YN7N
460812 - Eric's point about investing time to learn based on perceived
460813 - costs and benefits was presented at Cal Tech on 921021.
460814 - ref SDS 3 1661
460816 - ..
460817 - On 000227 Eric presented powerful analysis showing people make
460818 - subconscous cost and benefit calculation on investing time for
460819 - learning to use new technology relative to spending time on
460820 - activity that seems fun and rewarding. Only very limited time is
460821 - invested where the reward is perceived to be low. ref SDS 18 5952
460823 - ..
460824 - 20 minutes to an hour is allocated for pilot testing and learning
460825 - software, reported on 890809. ref SDS 1 QY6L This is not enough
460826 - time for learning integrated technology to improve productivity,
460827 - earnings and stock prices. Advancing civilization by lifting the
460828 - capacity to think, remember and communicate is complex because it
460829 - manages the complexity of daily life. This takes more than 20
460830 - minutes to learn. ref SDS 1 2U4F and ref SDS 1 7499
460832 - ..
460833 - Henry van Eykan commented on 000812 about the need for a stable
460834 - knowledge capability, that encourages investing time to learn new
460835 - skills. ref SDS 57 GP3N If people perceive a big reward, but
460836 - feel time learning new skills will be lost by changes in a short
460837 - while, then willingness to make the investment declines,
460838 - discussed further below.
460840 - ..
460841 - People spend 12 years learning to manipulte the alphabet, because
460842 - the track record says it is a stable environment over a long
460843 - time. If we are going to tinker with that system, as SDS does,
460844 - then there is a need for SDS to be stable, as well.
460848 - ..
460849 - Trade-off between Time to Produce Benefits and Time to Learn
460850 - Stable Technology Essential Improve Productivity, Learn New Methods
460852 - There is a complex tradeoff between the time-to-produce benefits
460853 - of complex systems, and the time-to-learn benefits of simple systems.
460854 - Getting the mix just right is a bit of science, and quite a lot of
460855 - art. And in the Darwinian struggle for system survival, it is
460856 - difficult for any user to invest large amounts of time in a system
460857 - that is as likely to be replaced by something better in a year or two
460858 - -- by the system's authors, if not by a competitor. ref DRT 1 5O8K
460860 - ..
460861 - This subject was discussed with Doug Engelbart on 000327.
460862 - ref SDS 23 8484
460864 - ..
460865 - Henry van Eykan commented on 000812 about the need for a stable
460866 - knowledge capability. ref SDS 57 GP3N
460868 - ..
460869 - The balance is in continual flux. During good times there is
460870 - less urgency to invest time for improvement; people become
460871 - satisfied with making a good living with minimal effort, so there
460872 - is more time for home life. During difficult times of recession
460873 - and conflict, greater attention is given to productivity and
460874 - usefulness.
460876 - ..
460877 - Pilot testing is a good way to discover the trade-off; however,
460878 - it goes to the heart of Eric's analysis. If you invest a lot of
460879 - time to learn a methodology, then it changes, or is replaced, the
460880 - investment is lost.
460882 - ..
460883 - On 000920 letter to DKR team explains advantage of stable tools,
460884 - ref SDS 65 2V5F, that overcomes overwhelming desire to technology
460885 - that enables bad management to succeed. ref SDS 65 T33H
460887 - ..
460888 - Constantly changing technology never provides reward for
460889 - investing time to learn, per analysis above. ref SDS 0 TY9M
460891 - ..
460892 - The challenge is to maintain stability of tools long enough for
460893 - people to realize benefits from learning new methodology. This
460894 - takes more than 20 - 60 minutes people have available for pilot
460895 - testing.
460897 - [On 001004 letter to DKR team cites KM dilemma. ref SDS 72
460898 - WV4K
460900 - ..
460901 - [On 001102 analysis shows fear of learning that takes more
460902 - than 20 minutes drives people toward relying on bad
460903 - management. ref SDS 73 RF7M
460905 - ..
460906 - [On 010924 fear of investing more than 20 minutes to learn how
460907 - to advance civilization, prevents people from discovering
460908 - value of organizational memory, ref SDS 76 XT5F, and that it
460909 - is fast and easy to create and use. ref SDS 76 QX6K
460911 - ..
460912 - POIMS aims to prescribe a core capability, that permits a race
460913 - for better ways to implement.
460915 - ..
460916 - The issue can be seen from the years doctors, lawyers, engineers
460917 - and others invest to learn their trade. Once on the job, new
460918 - tools and methods have to be constantly learned, but an
460919 - underlying understanding of the craft remains, and the ability to
460920 - learn new methods is tested by academic experience.
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