First #chikul13 week: pinteresting

As I believe that evaluation is really important in HCI, we started the course, after a few introduction talks, with an evaluation of Pinterest: somewhat to my surprise, most students had never heard of it – so much for ‘digital natives’… 😉

Also somewhat to my surprise, there were quite a few technical glitches with signing up to the service: not from the usability point of view, where the process actually went rather smoothly, but because of technical problems. At least we think so, because we received rather uninformative error messages. I would have thought that a mainstream site like pinterest would not suffer from these… Quelle naiveté…

One more surprise: the pinterest site (for non-logged-in users) seems to have changed since we had the face-to-face session. I doubt that this is because of the feedback blogged by my students, but it does seem rather coincidental 😉

After an initial exploration, all 9 groups of three students were asked to identify what they considered the one and three most important user interface issues. Strikingly, each group identified a most important issue that did not appear in the top three of any of the other groups! I wonder whether this would also be the case if I had asked nine usability experts…

A bit less of a surprise: my students really worry about privacy and signing up for new services. I have the impression it relates to the ‘image’ they want to project of themselves: ‘studying engineering’ somehow doesn’t resonate well with a pinterest account. There also seems to be a bit of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt involved. O, and some genuine privacy concerns too, maybe.

Anyway, as one of the student blogs noted: “this little experiment gave us an immediate raw experience of how usability is a complex issue with many facets”. If that experience is shared by most students, then it looks like the first week achieved its main goal…

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One Response to First #chikul13 week: pinteresting

  1. bramluyten says:

    Interesting to hear that students weren’t aware of Pinterest prior to the course. What’s the percentage of female students?

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