Conceptual Models

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  • Direct Manipulation Interfaces. User Centered System Design. Chapter 5. Hutchins, Hollan & Norman. Read Sections 1 and 2 only. (You'll read the rest for Wednesday).

Reading Responses

Shujing Zhang - 2/9/2013 1:54:35

1) Habits are behaviors that are caused by performing a task repeatedly, and eventually you can do the task without having to think about it.

The advantage of habit formation is that you don’t have to spend too much time consciously thinking about what and how you should do when it comes to the routine of your everyday life. The disadvantage of habit formation is that when it becomes to strong as to approach addiction, it can cause you to loose total conscious control.

You cannot break a habit by an act of violation. You should design a type of interface that does not allow habits to cause problems for the users. An example would be the button position of men and women clothes. The men button is left over right and women button is right over left. Any violation of the design would cause trouble, and it would be very awkward for people to button the shirt. Also in the reading example, the accelerator is put to the left of brake to accommodate user’s habit. If reversed, people will make mistakes.

2) I am often used to keep the music on while I am programming. But when I am too absorbed in the programming process or the debugging, I forgot there is still music on. Sometimes, it was some exciting songs that pull me out of the absorption.

Soo Hyoung Cheong - 2/9/2013 16:06:30

1) By habits, Raskin means unconscious mental processes that do not require your locus of attention, which is created through repetition of task given at hand. An advantage of habit formation is that you can do multiple things at once, while maintaining one locus of attention and additionally doing other habitual things. A disadvantage of habit is that you may ignore or not be able to collect information through habitual actions since you are doing things without focusing on it. Another disadvantage is that if you get into “wrong habits,” it can have negative consequences to your actions, and may be hard to fix that habit.

Personally, I realized that I get too used to Windows/Android platform that even when I use Mac/iOS products, I tend to go with my initial instincts to do what I’ve been doing while using Windows/Android platform. With these kinds of habits coming to mind, I think it is good to incorporate certain universal gestures into the design interface, so that it makes it more convenient for the user to execute certain functions, rather than trying to implement/teach new ways that do the same thing.

2) Once in a while, when I am watching a movie or TV show on my own, it sometimes gets boring just to watch alone, so I play videogame on the side to just to enjoy the moment more. However, it is often the case that I get too focus on the game that I forget that I was watching something else, and realize this when the show/movie comes to an end, and I have no idea what happened in the movie ever since I started playing videogame.

Jeffery Butler - 2/9/2013 17:30:37

1) In terms of habits, Raskin mentions that when a person performs a task repeatedly, the more the task becomes easier to perform. At some point in the process of a user learning a task, the task becomes so easy to perform, that the user does not have to think. When the user reaches a point of not having to think, they have successfully built a habit. An advantage to building a habit is that a habit expends less mental energy than performing a new task. This phenomenon of energy expenditure is due to the brain utilizing the unconscious part of the brain in the process of a habit while on the other hand the brain uses the locus of attention. Another advantage is that a user can perform a task quicker because a user can react rather than think. However, a disadvantage to building a habit can occur in situations where someone accidently drives to an old house when they have recently moved. In this situation, the user has to override their habit by shifting into the locus of attention to avoid driving to their old address. a. I found an interface to be contrary to my previous habit is in my mom’s new car. For some reason the engineers decided to change the gear shifting in the car from the classic pull down 3 notches to drive, 2 notches to neutral and 1 notch to reverse, to a new push up to go forward, push down to backwards and push a button for park. This new shifting makes more sense by the mapping of the controls, why didn’t the engineers built this design decades ago? 2) A common occurrence of when I focus on a task and forget KEY things in my environment is when I either do homework or code. For some reason when I focus on something I cannot hear anyone walking around me. Therefore, my sisters took advantage of this fact and scared me countless times. Now when I go home and do focus intensive activities, I always keep my door shut and locked.

Alvin Yuan - 2/9/2013 17:54:48

Habits are actions or sets of actions that people do automatically to perform tasks, usually learned through performing the same set of actions repeatedly to accomplish the same goal. Habits are good in that they allow us to do many things at once without suffering in performance of any of the tasks. They do not interfere with the current task that our locus of attention is on. They can be problematic when we are forced to fight or unlearn them. It requires significant conscious effort to act against habit and oftentimes we just don't succeed because by nature we relied on the habits to accomplish what we wanted. I think Mozilla Firefox's customizable interface is an amazing example of designing with habits in mind. It's very simple and straightforward to customize (and re-customize) the layout; things you can do include moving where certain buttons (home, back, refresh) are, hiding buttons, changing where feedback (loading bar) is shown, etc. Users can take advantage of this by customizing the UI to fit their existing habits rather than trying to change their existing habits to match a new UI which is much harder. For example, I'm used to having a refresh button to the left of the address bar and not to the right, so I customized my layout to reflect that; someone with the opposite habit can easily position the refresh button on the right. Because of this, I don't have ever make a mistake when I want to refresh; the button is always where I expect it to be and I can do it automatically. This customizability allows users to take full advantage of their habits by making everything positioned where it is expected, thus allowing automatic actions to succeed.

When I play certain computer games (DotA being the worst offender), I often become oblivious to my surroundings, including people that are trying to talk to me. The game requires significant focus and concentration, involving the need to think of long-term strategies, react to surprise attacks, and put forth conscious effort every second to play optimally. While playing, I have in the past failed to notice people walking in, to hold up a conversation with another person, and to hear and remember things that people have told me. For example, more than once my mom has told me to remember to do some chore (wash the dishes is a common one) and I have ended a game with no recollection of ever hearing my mom tell me anything.

Lauren Fratamico - 2/10/2013 13:53:55

1) By 'habits', Raskin means tasks that become automatic. For example, when installing a program where you have to continuously click 'next' in order to proceed through the entire setup, the user grows accustomed to just clicking the next button until the install is finished and not necessarily reading the dialogue box (especially if it a program they have set up before). Advantages to habit forming include faster manipulation with familiar formats, and disadvantages include potential extreme side effects and slower manipulation if it is similar but not exactly like the other ones you have trained on (eg if the next and back buttons were switched). Extreme side effects could occur if you do not read the dialogue box and inadvertently agree to delete your whole hard drive or if you do not hear/see the gauge warning you that you do not have your landing gear down because you are not used to that airplane. To design with habits in mind, the designer could conform to norms (eg next button on the right and back button on the left - at least in left-right reading languages) and have very alerting messages if something bad is about to happen (lights flashing, sounds going off, more pop-up boxes that require you to do something that you would not do by habit).

2) An example of being so absorbed in a task is cell phone usage during class. One can become so absorbed in whatever is going on in their cell phone world that they completely miss what they should be learning about in class. It also occurs when people are using their cell phones while walking - they can become so absorbed that they pay no attention while they are walking (or even driving), that they can crash into people or not realize until the last moment (when someone's shoes come into your peripheral vision) that you are about to run into someone.

Timothy Wu - 2/10/2013 14:30:34

1) Raskin mentions that a habit is a performance of a task that, through "repetition, or practice, your competence becomes habitual, and you can do the task without having to think about it." In other words, a habit is a task or sequence of tasks that has been ingrained in the human mind through repetition and can be executed without thinking.

This is especially important given Raskin's description of the human mind only being able to have one conscious process at one time because it allows a person to simulate doing activities in parallel, which leads to the first example of an advantage of habits. Habits are useful because they allow humans to work on tasks seemingly simultaneously, which can increase their productivity. Another advantage is that it helps humans execute every day tasks like walking and driving a car effortlessly, and it allows us to carry out our every day lives safely and effectively.

A disadvantage of habit formation is that it can create bad habits. Raskin made sure to specify that these bad habits are learned habits, not physiological habits like nicotine addiction. Bad habits like gambling can lead to addiction and can cause problems in a person's life. Another disadvantage of habit formation is that habits can be tricked by things that are contrary to expectation. This was illustrated by Raskin's example of the car with the gas and brake pedals reversed. In such a situation, it is difficult for the person to adapt because the person habitually knows the regular placement of the pedals and will make many mistakes. Lastly, another disadvantage of habits are that they are difficult to change. It takes a lot of time and effort to break bad habits.

One example from my own life of how to design interfaces with habits in mind is the design of an application interface, like for FAFSA or college applications. This is in line with Raskin's concept of providing a single way to complete a task because the online application interfaces are very linear. This linearity reduces the amount of thought the user has to put into deciding the best method to complete the task and instead allows the user to focus on completing the task.

2) An example of absorption from my everyday life is when I am intensely focused on programming. For instance, last Saturday I spent time helping develop a feature for a student organization's website at a Hackathon event. I was unfamiliar with the technologies they used, which required me to spend a lot of time learning new things. This required great concentration, both to learn and understand what was going on as well as to try to create a new feature that would add to the existing codebase. This concentration acted to the detriment of the social aspect of a Hackathon, and I often found myself tuning out other people in my environment.

While trying to focus on programming, it is difficult for me to have a conversation or pay attention to other people in my environment. If someone interrupts my flow of concentration, I try to brush it off in order to return to my state of flow. This can cause others to think that I am ignoring them or giving them the cold shoulder, which is a highly negative aspect of absorption. However, absorption is good in this case because it allows me to learn and apply my knowledge in solving a problem.

Samir Makhani - 2/10/2013 16:14:02

Raskin describes a habit as a “surrender of detail control,” meaning that as we repeat activities over and over, we tend to think less about our actions when we conduct this repeated activity. As a habit develops through repetition of a task or activity, our execution of the task becomes non-branching(unconscious) and automatic. One advantage of habit formation is that once something becomes automatic with enough repetition, you can start doing another activity at the same time that requires conscious thought. I think it’s very interesting that it’s possible that one can conduct simultaneous activities at once if those activities are automatic processes. However, one disadvantage of habit formation is if the interface changes, and we have no choice but to break out of that habit. The disadvantage here is that breaking out of a habit cannot happen instantaneously, and that only a time-consuming training process can undo a habit. One example is when the new Mac OS X Lion change the scroll-bar to function in an opposite manner. Even though I noticed it right away, it took a couple of weeks for me to get used to it, and undo the scrolling nature I had developed for the past 10 years.

One example of designing interfaces with habits in mind is to provide multiple ways of accomplishing the same task. For instance, I have a habit to close my browser window by using the command “Command + W” on my macbook. Others may have the habit to close it by pressing the x button on the tab, or the x button on the top left of the browser. What if I switch to a new browser created by Yahoo and it does not support the closing of windows by the “Command + W” command? That would be an example where an interface was designed without keeping habits in mind.

2.) One example of my everyday life of absorption is when I’m focused on programming while I have my noise canceling headphones on(with the radio on the background). I basically live in my own world, and do not notice anything, including people walking by, anyone trying to make contact with me. I do not check my phone either! Sometimes I lose track of time and miss things on my schedule since I cannot hear my phone buzzing or ringing due to my intense focusing on programming.

Christine Loh - 2/10/2013 16:41:25

1) Raskin defines habits as practices that form with repetition or practice; any habit is a "surrender of detail control," and are sometimes unable to avoid. Some advantages are that habits allow you to do things like drive without thinking about each specific, detailed step. For example, Raskins describes in his article that you don't have to think about the car's transitioning of kinetic energy into heat. However, there are certain disadvantages to habits, like how habits are difficult to break; you often cannot break it by an "act of volition." According to Raskins, if on a certain day, your car interchanges its brake and accelerator pedals, it would be extremely hard to break you habit. As for how to design interfaces with habits in mind, an example from the reading is the one I just gave previously; also, a good rule of thumb is to not design an interface with nasty traps over common habits (such as driving with the brake pedal on the left and the accelerator on the right).

2) An example from my life is actually from last semester during finals. I really enjoyed my CS184 class, and was extremely focused on my last project during dead week -- to the point where I forgot about everyone around me (I was wearing headphones and listening to music), and when I looked up again after working on something for a few hours, everyone was gone and I had to go home by myself. This is an example of my being much too intensely focused on my CS184 project, to the point where I certainly forgot about everyone else in my environment... And then had to return home alone.

Erika Delk - 2/10/2013 17:02:07

1. By "habits" Raskin is referring to a task that you repeat often enough such that doing it becomes an unconscious process. Some of the advantages of habit formation is that tasks become less thought-intensive the longer you do them. One example of this is driving; when you first learn to drive every action is thought out, but once you have been driving for long enough, your responses become unconscious and automatic. One disadvantage of habit formation is that sometimes we become so accustomed to doing things a certain way that when a change is required, we continue to do things the way we are used to doing them. One example from user interfaces is that people are accustomed to clicking on an "X" symbol to close the current window. If you were to design a user interface, you should take advantage of this and provide an "X" symbol that closes the window. Having a different symbol or having an "X" that doesn't close the window would just confuse the user.

2. Many times when something is cooking or in the oven, I will start to do something else and forget about the food completely, until the point that it is burned. I become so wrapped up in the task at hand that even though I know in the back of my mind that I'm waiting for my cookies to be done, I forget to pay attention to the clock. This is why kitchen timers are a useful device, they make an annoying enough sound that they will break your focus from the task at hand and draw your attention back to your food.

Kimberly White - 2/10/2013 17:05:39

1. Habits are things that users do, well, habitually. It's like an automatic response to something. For example, if every time a user tries to delete a file, they need to enter a Y, soon they'll think of the two actions as an atomic one, always pressing Y after a delete. The user no longer has to think about pressing Y, they just do it whether they mean to or not. One way to design with habits in mind is to keep conventions from other software (plagiarize?). If a when a user wants to undo something, they press Ctrl+Z, writing Ctrl+Z to be undo in new software will work well with previous habits. Habits could also work against the user, as in the deletion dialog case. Users are so used to pressing Y, the dialog becomes useless in stopping accidental deletions.

2. An example of only being conscious of one task at a time would be doing the reading for this assignment. Most things that are not the reading, such as brainstorming or remembering to go get lunch (whoops), get pushed into the unconscious part of the mind, as reading and typing up a response are in focus. Interruptions, such as a window popping up or an email notification, temporarily draw focus away from the assignment, sometimes require rereading to remember what the paragraph was about. And, while only one activity is conscious, other activities (such as breathing, or eating a snack) still continue unconsciously, as they are habitual enough that they do not require a conscious effort.

Winston Hsu - 2/10/2013 17:15:00

For Raskin, habits mean tasks that are performed often enough that they have become automatic to the user. When a task becomes automatic, it takes less attention away from where the user's locus of attention is. Users can generally perform habits very quickly with very little thought, and often in parallel with other tasks. However, it is also possible to form bad habits such as biting your nails. One of the bad ways of designing and interface is the idea of a confirmation dialog for important tasks. If these tasks are performed commonly, the confirmation can become an automatic habit part of the task, and users will click through without double checking. If we understand that habit forming will render such confirmations useless, we can design other features to prevent mistakes, such as the ability to undo actions.

One example of absorption that I recently encountered was when I was watching a movie. I had a meeting to go to after, and there was a possibility that the movie wouldn't finish in time, so I decided that I would keep and eye on the clock, and leave if it started to get too late. I watched the time fairly closely at first, but eventually I became too absorbed in the movie to be aware of the time, and was late to the meeting.

Linda Cai - 2/10/2013 18:13:21

By habits, he means tasks you can do without having to think about. In developing habits, you surrender detail control and can sometimes cause loss of conscious control. One advantage of habit formation is that a difficult task can become effortless and automatic. For example, driving a bus or car can be a daunting task at first, with the vehicles many buttons, levers, and dashboard icons, but as a person drives more frequently, the fact that you have to push down a certain pedal to brake or flick a handle to turn on the turn signal becomes knowledge of the cognitive unconscious. You can easy know what to do with the interface in the common situation and no longer need to use much cognitive effort to operate the vehicle or other interface. It allows us the ability to learn and retain operational concepts of a much larger number of system interfaces than we could if we were unable to form habits regarding the interface. Some disadvantages of habit formation are the tendency to overlook important error messages and accidents resulting from lack of consistency across interfaces. For example, before deleting anything, interfaces usually ask “Are you sure you wish to permanently delete ___” with Yes or No as your options. Soon, pressing ‘Yes’ right after deleting the object becomes habitual and you will no longer pay attention to the warning message. And on different operating systems, certain buttons on the keyboard can mean different actions in the system, so it can be difficult to switch between different operating systems when habits cause you to press a certain key but an unintended action results. With the natural development of human habit-forming in mind, we can design interfaces that rarely need error messages and allow the effects of any actions to be readily reversible, instead of notifying users of the potential consequences of their actions. Direct manipulation interfaces for example have qualities that complement habits, since error messages are seldom needed. They also have incremental reversible operations with immediate feedback.

One example (for me) would be watching an engaging television show. While watching, I forget about my surroundings and miss important information. On countless occasions, I do not notice people talking to me as I am watching, because I am so immersed in situations the characters are acting out in the television show. Paying attention to environment would cause interference due to the singularity of the locus of attention. One time, I forgot to check the time as I was cooking pastries in the oven while watching television in-between, because I was engaged in the show. As a result, my pastries were burnt when I rushed to the oven after the show had completed.

Tananun Songdechakraiwut - 2/10/2013 18:14:13

1) Habits are when a person's capability to do task(s) naturally without thinking and can be acquired by repetition or practice.

Advantages: 1. Habits allow you to do multitasking. In particular, if there are more than one task not automatic, the performance degrades and the two compete for the locus of attention. 2. It lets you finish tasks that you have been perform repeatedly faster than others. In particular, it makes you just like a automatic machine in some sense. So habitual working is more productive. 3. A person is not required to be educated or intelligent to learn to do a habitual task. In particular, a habitual job doesn't need to be done by highly educated person and it is also cost-saving.

Disadvantages: 1. When things become habitual, it is hard to undo it such as breaking the habits by ways of volition is often not successful. And it is time-consuming. Thus, having developed a bad habit, you might have a hard time undoing it. 2. Habitual behavior can prevent you from developing or gaining intelligence since you only perform tasks the same way every time and thus don't try better ones. 3. It causes boredom, in some case. Since you are just following the same pattern, there is no variety of it.

With habits in mind, interface should be designed so a user is absorbed in one's task not depending on the user's state of absorption and thus any attempts to communicate with the user may fail.

2) Always happens during midterms and finals. Basically, I intensively put my attention on the exam itself and completely forget about my surrounding environment such as time remaining, mistakes on the exam paper, and person sitting next to me. Usually I don't hear people around me talking(in this case ,TA's or a professor), and thus miss important information about the errors on the exam. I eventually back from my own state of absorption when I cannot make sense out of the problem and later realize it with the errors.

Christina Hang - 2/10/2013 19:59:28

Raskin’s definition of “habits” is the tasks that a person does without realizing or thinking about it. He also says that habits are “surrender[s] of detail control”, which I take to mean that when people are doing things out of habit they do not pay attention to the environment or situation. For instance, a waitress may out of habit give every body at the table a menu even to a young child, who cannot read the menu, or a blind customer. Habit formation may be advantageous for designing interfaces that people will be accustomed to using. Also, since people naturally develop habits through repetition of the tasks, this will allow people to easily and quickly become accustomed to the interface. However, just as habits can be easily developed, it is very difficult to break these habits. Habit formation is disadvantageous for designs that do not take into account these habits and require people to readjust their actions and need to think about what they do before physically doing it, because people don’t naturally oppose their habits. An example of designing with habits in mind, from the reading, is the car brake and acceleration pedals; in all cars, the brake pedal is centered in front of you where as the acceleration is off to the side, because people have developed the habit of stomping on the pedal in the middle when an object injects itself in front of the vehicle. If these functions were switched, then the consequences may be fatal as people will step on the pedal that accelerates and cause an accident. An example of being so absorbed in one task that I miss important information in the environment is during exams. I am so focused on the exam itself that time flies by more quickly than I perceived. I may not realize that over half the test time has gone by until an instructor announces it, which prompts me to look at the clock or board where the time is written.

Colin Chang - 2/10/2013 20:13:20

1) "Our mandate as designers is to create interfaces that do not allow habits to cause problems for the user.[...] No amount of training of training can teach a user NOT to develop habits when she uses an interface repeatedly." What does Raskin precisely mean by habits? What are some advantages and disadvantages of habit formation? Give one example from the reading (or your own experience) of how to design interfaces with habits in mind.

By 'habits' Raskin means procedure memorization. This occurs when a users does the same procedure repeatedly (like pressing 'Ok' to the trashcan empty prompt). One advantage is that the amount of time it takes to do the process decreases as the habit forms. For instance, if we are manually entering information in an excel sheet, we'll eventually get faster and faster due to our accustomization to it - habit formation. One disadvantage is the loss of 'locus of attention', so the user won't 'pay attention' or 'be focused' on a task they've formed a habit for. The example they gave of pressing 'y' for emptying the computer's trashcan is a great example of this. The prompt's purpose is to ensure that the user is consciously ('consciously' in the way that Raskin defines) wants to empty the trash. Habit formation bypasses the conscious aspect of the decision, rendering the prompt's original purpose useless.

2) "You cannot be conscious of more than one task at any moment." Give an example from your own everyday life of absorption - being intensely focused on one task, to the point where you forget about your environment and miss important information in the environment.

On Cal Day (or some such new student Berkeley intiation) a group of new students (me included) were being showed around campus in the form of a casual tour. I was talking to a very pretty girl. And I walked into a pole.

Claire Tuna - 2/10/2013 21:33:28

"Our mandate as designers is to create interfaces that do not allow habits to cause problems for the user.[...] No amount of training of training can teach a user NOT to develop habits when she uses an interface repeatedly." What does Raskin precisely mean by habits? What are some advantages and disadvantages of habit formation? Give one example from the reading (or your own experience) of how to design interfaces with habits in mind.

By “habits”, Raskin means the activities people have done repeatedly and do without thinking about how they are doing them. An advantage of habit formation is that the user can glide through certain things without conscious effort (like typing in a password), while perhaps paying attention to something else. For example, I am a beginning skier. When I ski with my more experienced friend Katie, who has been skiing since she was a child, her locus of attention is the scenery, the feeling of the wind in her hair, etc, whereas my locus of attention is my feet. Because she has skied so many times, she doesn’t think of her feet or what they are doing and can enjoy the mountains. A disadvantage of habits the same thing-- you don’t always think about habitual actions. I have the 3-finger scroll in the reverse direction as most people on my MacBook. People who use my computer always get frustrated when they scroll up when they mean to scroll down. Even though they know my trackpad is the opposite of theirs, when they are reading a website in the moment, they don’t remember to scroll in the opposite direction.

"You cannot be conscious of more than one task at any moment." Give an example from your own everyday life of absorption - being intensely focused on one task, to the point where you forget about your environment and miss important information in the environment.

When I bike around busy parts of campus, I always have to avoid walkers who are looking at their phones. Even the ones without headphones often do not flinch or try to get out of my way, even though they should hear me coming (because my bike makes lots of squeaky noises). People can walk straight ahead unconsciously while their locus of attention is their cell phone.

Marco Grigolo - 2/10/2013 22:22:49

Habits are action that through repetition because part of our subconscious. Therefore those actions are easier and faster to perform, but give us a bit less control over them. Moreover few actions can become a habit, since we cannot use intellectual abilities to influence too much the outcome of the action. The advantage of those habits is that are much easier and faster to perform. Moreover, we can undertake multiple actions that do involve habits, making us better at multitasking. They are also much less demanding to our mental abilities. The disadvantage is that they are very difficult to un-learn, so if we have a new device that force us to change our habit, we will have very hard time to change and do many mistakes in the meantime. Moreover, habits are not flexible at all, since the minimum variation would force us to leave the subconscious and enter in a conscious state in order to decide what to do next. One habit is for example driving: we do not think how to drive, we simply drive.

When I play videogames (especially online ones with other persons), I cannot hear when my wife calls me to help her. Most of the time I don't even realize if there are other persons in the same room, unless they pass strait in front of me and catch my attention.

Tiffany Lee - 2/10/2013 23:04:03

1) Reskin's definition of habits is being able to do something without thinking about it. Some advantages of habit formation include: making tasks easy and efficient to accomplish and limiting the mistakes the user will make if they develop the right habits. Some disadvantages is that it takes time to develop habits and also if bad habits form, they take a long time to break. One example of how to design interfaces with habits in mind is allowing people to undo actions because habits of doing tasks will develop and people might accidentally do things they didn't intend on doing.

2) There have been times when I am really into a TV show I am watching and have not listened to someone talking to me. I just heard noise; I didn't actually notice what that person was saying to me.

Zeeshan Javed - 2/10/2013 23:17:45

1) "Our mandate as designers is to create interfaces that do not allow habits to cause problems for the user.[...] No amount of training of training can teach a user NOT to develop habits when she uses an interface repeatedly." What does Raskin precisely mean by habits? What are some advantages and disadvantages of habit formation? Give one example from the reading (or your own experience) of how to design interfaces with habits in mind.

When Raskin talks about habit, he means the ability to act without thinking. Raskin continues to talk about how no matter what, if a task is repeated over and over again, it becomes a habit; an act without thought. He further claims that the designer can never prevent the user from forming habits, because that is what humans do. So he says that the designer must take this into account and make the habits that the user develop, smooth and easy as opposed to troublesome and challenging. The advantage to habit formation is that if the design is made correctly than the user can easily adapt to the interface that is being used without trouble and without thinking. The negative part of habits revolves around the idea that if your interface is bad, than you are forcing the user to form a habit that they may not like. Furthermore, there it is likely that they will not use your platform anymore when another more easily adaptable interface comes to fruition. An example of a design interface habit that I personally have is slidng to unlock my smartphone. It is my habit to slide to unlock my phone even when I am not using an Apple smartphone. Therefore when I use other smartphones that have a different process of unlocking the phone, I have to change my habit which can be uncomfortable to me as a user.

2) "You cannot be conscious of more than one task at any moment." Give an example from your own everyday life of absorption - being intensely focused on one task, to the point where you forget about your environment and miss important information in the environment

While it is difficult for me to admit, sending an email from my smart phone makes me “conscious” of only that one task and dilutes whatever else is happening around me. When I am sending an email from my phone I am only thinking about what I am writing and matching my thoughts to the keypad to properly form words that express my intent clearly. If I am in public around friends and I am sending an email, I stop paying attention to the words around me. If I am in a lecture and am forced to send an urgent email, I become only focused on the email and miss important information around me.

Zhaochen "JJ" Liu - 2/10/2013 23:25:29


What is habit?

Habits are something you usually do. They are formed because of repetition or practice. Habits are the task you can perform without having to think about it.

Advantages and Disadvantages

  • Advantage:
  1. It makes us accomplish some normal tasks easily, such as walking, eating and driving cars.
  2. A lot of everyday things are designed according to most of people’s habits, such as a mouse and a keyboard. They make people manipulate the computer without thinking too much.
  3. Life is full of habits: habits are essential to the earth’s higher life of form


  • Disadvantage:
  1. Surrender to details
  2. When habits become so strong, they become a sign of total loss of conscious control. Habits become additions at that time and it is very hard to ‘cease’ the habits from then.
  3. People may have different habits. Your design based on your habit may not necessary be suitable for other people’s habits.

How to design with habits in mind

For example, one of people’s habits of viewing web pages is to use the website logo to go back to the home screen (for example, the CS 160 class wiki, Facebook or Gmail). Therefore, when design a website, it is a rule of thumb to have the logo on the upper left corner and make it links to the homepage of this website because that conforms to most of users’ habits.


When I am driving, I am very focused on the road. Especially when I am near a highway exit and I am trying to figure out which exit should I take, I become intensely focused on driving. At that moment, I always stop talking to other people inside the car and or over the cell phone. I will miss some of the important information they are discussing. It is also likely that I will ignore what the radio is saying.

Lishan Zhang - 2/10/2013 23:56:58


  1. Habits are something that people do frequently or repeatedly, so that they can do the tasks without thinking about it. Habits are usually formed with repetition or practice.
  1. Advantages of habit formation:
  • Habits make things easier to do.
  • Habits are essential to the earth’s higher life forms.
  1. Disadvantages:
  • Bad habits do develop and it is strong to approach addiction and make a total loss of conscious control.
  • It is a time-consuming training process rather than any single act of willpower to undo a habit.
  1. My example od designing interfaces with habits in mind:

When people using touch screen in their smartphones to make a phone call, they will assume that the keypad for touch screen is designed the same as the traditional telephone so that people can easily remember the relative location of certain key. In this case, the interface should be designed deliberately for people’s habits.

2) When I am in the last ten minutes of an exam but I still have several questions left unsolved, I will forget everything but the remaining questions. I will only focus on the questions and miss out the announcement that the teacher talks about or the words of my friends’. In this circumstance, I am intensely focus on only one task and forget about the environment.

Alice Huynh - 2/11/2013 0:10:12

“Any habit is a surrender of detail control, but habits are essential to the earth’s higher life forms.” What Raskin means behind habits is the transition between consciously noticing one’s bodily movements to one of not knowing. When actions are done repeatedly for a long period of time a person will not even need to pay attention to still be able to get the action done. One benefit of habit formation is the automatic behavior that results from habit formation. This allows a person to be able to potentially do many things at once. One example of this is typing without looking at a keyboard on a computer. Many students can type without looking at the keyboard, due to habit formation, and their eyes are free to look at other things on the computer screen.

One disadvantage of habit formation is when a habit of one action carries over to another action, which results in unwanted behavior. This is explained very well in Raskin’s example of if a car company were to switch the brake and gas pedals in a car. A lot of mistakes will be made purely from habit of many drivers from many years of driving.

One design interface with habits in mind, utilizing Raskin’s example, is if someone is trying to develop a new driving game the designer must keep in mind that in America, forward traffic is usually on the right side of the road and backwards traffic is usually the left side of the road. (One must keep in mind that this is not the case in Europe) If the game developer is designing the game for an American audience it would be hard to Americans to get out of the habit of driving on the right side of the road if the developer were to flip the directions of traffic.

Another example where design interfaces have to deal with habit is the creation of a keyboard. There are other keyboards that exist in the market (AZERTY, QWERTY, etc.), but in the US many customers are used to the QWERTY keyboard. A computer or laptop company would have to design around this QWERTY keyboard so as not to confuse the habits of customers who are used the QWERTY layout. If a single letter is misplaced the design can lead to a lot of mistakes due to habit formations.

2) "You cannot be conscious of more than one task at any moment." Give an example from your own everyday life of absorption - being intensely focused on one task, to the point where you forget about your environment and miss important information in the environment.

One example is when I’m watching a television show and someone talks to me, I won’t hear the other person talking. It’s almost as if my mind blocks all other sound from my ears. Sometimes my family members or friends will have to scream my name 10 times before I will respond. Another example is when I am attempting to do homework while watching television. The end result is that I will eventually focus on one task more than the other without doing either of the tasks successfully.

I cannot write an email while carrying a conversation with a person. I’ll need to stop the conversation and finish writing the email before I am able to fully interact in a conversation.

Another example is a situation that happens in football. If a player has just caught the ball and is running towards the goal he will most likely not realize any players that are running towards him. This situation may only ring true for me because many professional football players have the ability to run and pay attention to tacklers at the same time. Another football example is when a quarterback is trying to focus on who to pass the ball to that they may get tackled from the back without their knowledge. This is a result of the quarterback not paying attention to his surroundings.

Elizabeth Hartoog - 2/11/2013 0:14:45

Habits according to Raskin are tasks that can be completed without consciously thinking about it. You can talk to someone while walking because walking has been a habit and you do not have to consciously think "first lift your left leg, now put it down, lean forward, pick up your right leg...". This task can be completed while focusing your attention on the person you are talking to. An advantage of habit formation is it allows the person to complete multiple tasks as long as there is only one task that requires subconscious thought. This is the only efficient way for humans to multitask because if the human must switch conscious thought processes between two or more tasks, he becomes inefficient at both those tasks. If one is a habit and therefore unconscious, then he can place the locus of his attention on that one task. A disadvantage of habits is that because the user has placed the task into the unconscious, when a disruption occurs in the habitual task, suddenly the person is unable to react in a timely fashion since they need to shift the locus of their attention to the new task that has disrupted their train of thought. His example with a child running out into the street exemplifies this because the driver may be on the phone and driving habitually when suddenly he needs to shift his focus from the phone and to the fact there is now a child in the middle of the street. Because his unconscious mind does not know how to react and his conscious has trouble shifting, he may not react appropriately or quickly enough.

One example of habits causing problems they mentioned is that deleting files was extremely difficult to design prorperly since no matter what the humans would develop a habit that would cause them to delete without thinking. One suggestion was to force the user to type the reason for deleting the file, but that only caused users to spew out canned reasons. Instead, you can force the user to type in the name of the file they are deleting. This makes the user focus his attention on the name since now he must perform the task of reading and then typing out the name of the file again (which works now that we use a GUI instead of command line). This brings him out his habit that normally causes the careless deletions.

An example of having my locus of attention so fixated in my mind that I don't pay attention to things around me is when I'm reading on my android phone or reading out of a book. I will be walking in a certain direction trying to get somewhere while at the same time reading the book. I will be so engrossed in the information that I will continue walking but stop paying attention to where I am walking. I usually end up walking into someone or into something because I don't see things outside of the book or phone.

Sihyun Park - 2/11/2013 0:57:08

1. Habit refers to one's ability to perform a task almost unconsciously as a result of repetitive practices of the task. Habits behave like a dual-sided sword, as there are both good and bad habits. For example, you might develop a bad habit as a designer that might potentially risk your life, perhaps as a result of a badly designed interface of a car. At the same time, a mobile application interface might be designed to take advantage of a user's habit, so that the user can operate the device without even thinking about. One good example of applying habits to user interfaces is the location of the buttons. For example, when we browse the internet, we generally start from the top-left, scan to the top-right, then go to the bottom-left, and finally bottom-right. In essence, we read in a zig-zag motion, or formulate a shape of z, as our eyes scan across web pages. As a result, many web designers create websites in a F-style layout. In a F-style layout, the most important element is on the top-left, as this is the area of the page where users' attention is likely to be at, and possibly a horizontal navigation from top-left to top-right, and contents running from top-left to bottom-left. For the bottom-right, there would be trivial contents, such as advertisements. More explanation for F-style layout can be found at

2. I often call my brain a single-threaded machine, since I can only do one task at once though I may be very capable at doing that one task. My single-threadedness really shows off when I am designing websites. As I am really passionate about designing websites, I am extremely focused on the task to the point I lose the sense of what's happening in my surroundings. For example, I might start working on a website at 6PM and realize it's 11PM by the time I am done implementing one section of the website. As a result, I lost the track of time, and I had skipped dinner - meaning I had lost the sense of hunger at the same time! A similar effect applies when I am playing computer games. When I play League of Legends, for example, I get extremely frustrated when others try to gain my attention. By looking at the case of web design and computer games, it seems that I miss important information in the environment especially when I am really passionate or enjoying the activity that I am currently working on. Although this might be a good sign for the makers of the product that I am immersed in (b.c. the product is addicting and I find it very entertaining), this might have negative consequence for the user, or the product, in the long-run.

Cory Chen - 2/11/2013 1:20:13

1. For Raskin, a habit is basically a task that one can do without consciously thinking about it. He also defines a habit as the surrender of detail control. The advantages of habits are that they allow you to perform certain tasks with ease and efficiency without even using your mind on them. By forming habits, we are able to multitask effectively as long as at most one of the tasks are done consciously. The disadvantages to habits are that it is very hard to turn them off for good (you sometimes accidentally drive to work on Saturday) and that for certain tasks, you should be more conscious of the task even though it is already a habit (deleting a file and then pressing yes). In the text, Raskin gives the example of having the dialogue box that pops up when you try to permanently delete a file change each time you try to delete something. You have to perform a more complicated and random task in order to break up the habit formation that would normally occur in the file deleting process. Though this may be annoying, it definitely combats with an interesting use of the interface

2. Forgetting to eat is pretty common for me. A lot of the time I'll be so engrossed in homework, reading, or hanging out that I'll completely forget about my hunger until the next meal or hours and hours later. The hunger might distract me for a moment, but the task in front of me immediately overpowers the hunger and it becomes unconscious again

Brian L. Chang - 2/11/2013 1:26:12

Raskin defines habits as a surrender of detail controls. A habit is something that you can do without thinking about it. Habits can be advantageous because they allow us to multi-task and do things quickly, but can be disadvantageous when they are bad habits like nail biting or smoking. One way of keeping habits in mind while designing interfaces is by not having multiple ways of accomplishing the same task. The example in the reading is of a car that switches pedals when the red light is on. It is better to keep tasks consistant in order to remain aligned the habits that we build.

     An example of being focused on one task while missing important information in the environment is sometimes when doing homework for another class in lecture, I miss out at the lecture at hand and am no longer paying attention.

Scott Stewart - 2/11/2013 1:32:47

When Raskin talks about habits, he is referring to any action that can be accomplished without conscious thought. There are two main advantages to habit formation: users can perform many actions with their unconscious mind, so habit formation allows parallelization; and users can accomplish individual tasks more easily because they do not have to think about every single step. Both of these advantages allow users to accomplish common tasks more efficiently. One of the main advantages of habit formation is also a disadvantage: when users are performing a habit, they are not consciously thinking about every single step. This means that they may make mistakes if the user interface does something unexpected in response to a common task or allows unsafe actions within a common task, such as deleting files. In the reading, an example of designing with habits in mind is the random input required to delete a file. Though this case is extreme, it is an example of stopping the user from forming a habit by making a task that cannot be performed as a simple routine but requires conscious thought.

An example of absorption is when I am working on homework and listening to music at the same time. If I am concentrating on a homework problem, I will commonly reach the end of an album, but not notice that the music has stopped. I will continue working in silence until my attention shifts back to the music and I realize that there is no music playing

Mukul Murthy - 2/11/2013 1:57:21

1) Habits are a way of performing tasks without consciously thinking about them. When someone first does a task, he has to think through it, but after doing it over and over and over again, he can do it when prompted without thinking through it or giving it any attention. For example, when I take out my phone from my pocket, I have to slide the bar down to unlock it. I never think to myself "oh, it says slide down to unlock, I should do that"; I pull it out of my pocket, hit the power button, and unlock it all in one motion without ever thinking about it.

There are many advantages of forming habits. One of these is that in many cases, it makes tasks smoother and easier and negates the need for thinking about them. This also gives people the ability to multitask - I don't need to pause a conversation I'm having with someone while I unlock my phone because it is a habitual gesture. Another advantage of forming habits is that it increases efficiency and speed at which tasks are performed, such as my phone unlocking. However, habits do have their downsides. One of which is that habits can be hard to break, which is a problem if it is a bad habit. My mom never originally learned how to type properly and would use two fingers to type (hunt and peck), which for a long time hampered her typing speed. Even when she was learning how to touch type with all her fingers, she would occasionally default back to hunt-and-peck out of habit. Another disadvantage of habits is that they could let you perform behaviors unconsciously that you really should think about, such as the Y/N confirmation on some shell commands. Everyone hits Y after they use a command that they know will require confirmation, when in reality these are often serious commands that one should consciously think about to confirm.

One example of designing interfaces with habits in mind is the use of keyboard shortcuts. Each keyboard shortcut is some weird finger configuration that no one knows about before they first use it, but if they use it over and over they can perform these tasks extremely quickly without thinking about it. For example, my web browser's interface is designed with keyboard habits in mind - instead of clicking the new tab button at the top and typing in, I can simply hit Ctrl+T3 (T for new tab, 3 for speed dial 3) and accomplish the same thing in a fraction of the time. All programs use keyboard shortcuts to take advantage of habits.

2) I can tend to become very absorbed when I am playing video games. In some situations, I am so focused that I lose track of everything else going on around me. There have been times where my roommate tries to ask me something and I don't even realize I am being spoken to, and then maybe thirty seconds later I suddenly respond with "wait, were you trying to say something to me?" This is not just true for conversations; I've missed phone calls or people at the door because I was so absorbed that I was not conscious of these background noises.

Thomas Yun - 2/11/2013 2:30:51

Raskin says that when you perform a task repeatedly, it tends to become easier to do and that with repetition, the action becomes habitual and you can do the task without thinking about it. Basically a habit is something that forms as you start doing similar things over and over. I kind of think of it as muscle memory to an extent. There are of course some advantages and disadvantages and that mainly lies in how the person develops the habit. If the person develops a good habit, of course it is completely beneficial to the person as the person would not have to think about what they are doing anymore. One example I can think of is typing. Typing quickly is something developed from repetition and won't require you to look at the keyboard when hitting a key. Basically, muscle memory (which also links to what Raskin mentions about the unconcious. You do things you're accustomed to doing. Of course, some disadvantages of habits include learning bad habits and being unable to leave the habit. There's nothing much to say about developing a bad habit but the fact that it is hard to leave the habit is a somewhat huge disadvantage. Raskin gives the example of having the brake and gas switched in a car with only a light as a notification. It's a habit to press the left pedal for brake so when it is switched, you would still press the left pedal for brake because it is what you are accustomed to. One way to design interfaces with habits in mind is to take into mind the habits of the target users and either exploit the habit or build upon it. Keep the interface similar to something the users are used to. For example, have certain buttons perform the same action as in another interface.

One pretty easy example is watching a video or something. I get pretty focused on the video that I don't really notice things around me unless it is fairly obvious. I've also tried to read while watching a show, and the sounds from the show constantly distract me from reading efficiently. I feel that would be a good example of how we can only have one locus of attention at a time. One more example I can give is when I'm playing rhythm games. So much focus is required to hit keys correctly that things around me just become "silent". So I would have to agree with Raskin that the more demanding a task is, the less likely you are to attain a focus from something else.

David Seeto - 2/11/2013 3:28:47

Habits form when doing a task becomes automatic and the locus of attention is no longer required to be directed at that task. This occurs when you perform the same tasks repeatedly. When a user uses an interface repeatedly, the sets of tasks to do something become muddled together and becomes one thing, no longer requiring the focus of the user's locus of attention. Forming a habit can be good in that it allows for your locus of attention to be on something else. An example would be how developing habits while driving allow you to also have a conversation with a passenger in the car. Also, forming habits make the habitual tasks seem welcoming and easier to perform. Habits allow us to feel like performing a task becomes easier. In addition, performing tasks that are habits increase the efficiency at which you perform those tasks. In contrast, habits make performing infrequent variations of a task difficult. Additionally, some performing some tasks could be harmful, but if it becomes a habit, the user will be automatically cause that harm. Allowing users to amend past actions is an example of designing interfaces with habits in mind. Because many users develop a habit to click "yes" to the question "are you sure you want to delete these items," if that action was the final means of protection, users can potentially permanently lose a lot of data.

One particular example of absorption is texting while walking. There have been many a times when I was so focused on texting that I would run into people. Because the keyboard is so small and difficult to type with, especially when on the move, my locus of attention is completely directed at my phone and my environment, or more importantly, the people walking towards my direction, get neglected.

Eun Sun (Annie) Shin - 2/11/2013 6:54:43

1) According to Raskin, habits are tendencies that people developed over time with repetition that no longer requires thought. While an advantage to habit formation is that people learn shortcuts to save time and complete tasks more efficiently or quickly, a disadvantages of habit formation is that people who develop bad habits face difficulty in breaking out of their bad tendencies. Taking into consideration habits, an interface that wants users to click on ads should not have ads in the same location in every page. Users will remember that ads are always in that location and will eventually ignore that area of the page.

2) I hate commuting--such as walking to class or riding the bus--because it feels like a waste of time (although it is necessary to commute to be productive in class, a meeting, the library, and so on). Therefore, when I am walking to class or a meeting, I try my best to do something while I am on the go. I usually go on my phone and check my mail or social networking sites. Sometimes I get too focused on my phone that I become oblivious to the environment around me. As a result, I have run into people, poles, and other physical objects.

Aarthi Ravi - 2/11/2013 8:43:08

A habit is a practice that you develop as a result of performing some tasks repetitively. Advantages of habit formation - Habits help users to smooth their flow of work, helps them perform routine mundane tasks easily, habits help you make decisions quickly which could be crucial at critical times. Disadvantages of habit formation- bad habits can result in total loss of conscious control, could lead to errors, difficult to come out of a habit and adopt to something new. From my own experience, I find that a lot of applications use similar symbols to denote a task say a dustbin symbol for delete, an X for close etc. This kind of practice does not cause any problems to the user and at the same time makes use of the habit formation feature to make the flow of work easier to the users.

One incident I recall was when I was cooking in the kitchen. I decided to wash the dishes while the food was being cooked. I got so absorbed into washing the dishes that I had totally forgotten about the food. Even when I got a slight burning smell I didn't realize that the food was getting burnt. Only after I had completed my task of washing the dishes I realized the food was burnt.

Eric Xiao - 2/11/2013 10:15:53

Habits are a repetitive sequence of actions we form when we perform a task several times. Habit formation allows us to abstract tasks away for the user and make them less complicated than they may seem. Disadvantages is that different sort of cues or precautions we make for the user might get ignored, and any changes to the steps within the habitual sequence of actions might irritate the user. One example from my life would be designing the buying and selling process for a user. We need to make sure that modal dialogs aren't ignored when we present them to the user with different colored buttons and bolded text. We also need to bother our users and update them about any changes or features we've implemented or else they will flat out ignore them or be unaware that they exist.

I'm always ignoring my environment. I'm the least observant person I know. When I'm playing video games, I'm totally ignoring when my pasta is done or when the microwave has finished heating up my leftovers. Another more relevant example would be while I'm playing piano, I'm totally focused on improving a particular part of the passage with my left hand that I don't notice sloppiness in my right hand, and I definitely don't notice the TV on in the other room.

Andrew Gealy - 2/11/2013 10:18:34

Raskin refers to habits as skills or tendencies brought about by repetition or practice. With enough repetition, these become unconscious. Raskin makes note of "the tendency to provide many ways of accomplishing the same task" as being one problem that fails to consider habit formation. Making it so there is only one way of accomplishing the task will increase the likelihood that it becomes habitual and automatic, thus freeing attention to be focused on the overarching problem rather than the particular method.

I often listen to music while doing work at home. It has become very clear to me that when I am truly and intently focused on a task, my attention for the music all but disappears. Sometimes I will miss a song that I was anticipating, leave a track on repeat without noticing it, or even continue to work long after an album has finished without realizing the music has stopped.

Glenn Sugden - 2/11/2013 10:24:04

Habits (according to Raskin) are learned conscious behaviors that ultimately become unconscious ones. It's akin to abstracting away the individual steps of a task - where you don't have to think about "what is going on under the hood" and just perform without conscious recognition. Habits can be a really helpful way to keep your locus from shifting away from your work as you use an interface. Habits can also be harmful if they don't allow you to dynamically adapt to a new interface / experience, especially if something destructive may occur (deleting your documents because of unhelpful / repetitive warnings, crashing planes because you misinterpret warning sounds, etc.). Apple's insistence on keeping the menu bar on the top of the screen irks a lot of Windows users, but makes very good interface sense, as you know exactly where it will be at all times - you shoot your pointer to the top of the screen and you'll have access to the menu's items .. otherwise you have to visually hunt for it at the top of every window to access [the menu items] instead.

I tend to "get in the zone" when I'm writing computer programs (code), and block nearly everything out (including things like needing to eat food!) while I'm focused on it. I almost always lose track of large chunks of time, and I think that speaks a lot about time management and engineers (we're nearly always underestimating the total time a programming task requires) - I've gotten to the point that I double my initial gut reaction of how long a project will take, and am often finishing very close to my new estimate. I guess [doubling my estimate of programming project times] has become its own habit now too.

To minimize dangerous levels of absorption I tend to try and bring some tasks to the foreground and consider exactly what I'm doing moment by moment - driving my car is an excellent example (for me). Sometimes I'll notice that I'm "zoning out" and driving essentially on autopilot. When I notice it, I try to snap out of it and be hyper-aware of exactly what is going on moment by moment. I think that becoming complacent about tasks like this greatly increase your reaction times - which can be dangerous when a new situation requires quick reflexes to avoid an accident (E.G. someone suddenly running out into the road).

Bryan Pine - 2/11/2013 10:35:39

1) When Raskin refers to a "habit", he is talking about a series of tasks that are performed together without conscious interference. You have conscious control over whether you choose to undertake the action as a whole, but once you decide to start the complex components of that action are bundled together, and you do not consciously decide to do each one. Habits are important because they are basically necessary for everyday activities like driving or walking. We would be unable to drive if we had to logically think through all the muscle movements required to make the car stop and go. Instead, we just decide "stop!", and the habit takes care of the rest. Unfortunately, we don't have full control over when habits form, and things can often get bundled together in unhelpful ways. For example, consider biting your fingernails. If you often bite your fingernails when you feel stressed, that action will eventually become bundled with the feeling of stress, and you won't have a chance to consciously decide not to bite your nails once you get stressed.

  When thinking about interfaces, the most important thing to remember about habits is that they exist, and you aren't going to stop them from forming.  Interfaces need to take that into account and design interfaces that both take advantage of habit formation to facilitate quick performance of tasks and don't allow the user to perform irrevocably bad actions while under the influence of a habit.  One example from the reading is file deletion.  Systems will often (wrongly) double-check and ask you whether you are really sure you want to delete a file, hoping that the need to type an extra "yes" will give the user time to think about and correct mistakes.  However, users who delete a lot of files will usually habitually type yes once they decide to delete a file, and so the check fails to prevent them from making mistakes.  Instead, the interface should allow the user to recover from deletion mistakes, and completely prevent the user from deleting files that should never be deleted.

2) While working on the first programming assignment for this class, I completely forgot to turn in homework for a different class despite setting a reminder alarm and physically doing the problem set in the morning. I realized about 3 hours late and felt pretty dumb for forgetting, but this reading gives a good explanation for why it happened. I was somewhat frustrated with the programming assignment, and rushing to make sure I completed it by the deadline, and so I became intensely absorbed in the task. When the alarm went off, I dismissed it and kept working even though it had a label "turn in homework". I don't even remember the alarm ever registering in my mind as having happened; in fact, when I finally "came to" after finishing the assignment, I was angry because I thought the alarm had failed to go off.

Moshe Leon - 2/11/2013 10:39:51

1.What does Raskin precisely mean by habits? By habits, Raskin means a routine action, which is done without thinking. In the authors’ language on the formation of habits: “With repetition, or practice, your competence becomes habitual, and you can do a task without having to think about it.” The examples given are bicycle riding, or using a typewriter. If we had to think of the process of riding the bicycle while we are performing the action, it would be too much to handle and we could crash. I really liked the quote by the baseball start Yogi Berra which was brought forth by Raskin: “How can you think and hit at the same time?” The human body and mind tries to learn and perfect each task as best as it can, so it can perform it subconsciously, and turn attention to other tasks which require more attention upon need. Once the habit is learned and adopted, or developed, it is there to stay. There are no means to rid someone of a habit, unless rigorous error-intended re-training is involved, to re-track (or re-program) the user’s brain into a different habit. If some new feature was introduced, or an old feature was changed significantly enough, the user would have to pull the task back into the conscious and perform the task, until eventually it becomes a new routine, and a new habit. If we did not possess the ability to create habits, we would not be able to multitask successfully. I will do exactly what Raskin claimed that we, humans, do: I will interpret the habit and the multitasking through the limits of my knowledge, as it was done before, i.e. steam engine, mechanical clocks, and today, computers. I see the tasks at hand handled by our brain, the CPU. We also have different types of memory. What needs to be addressed immediately is handled in the CPU Cache. There is also the Physical memory, and lastly the virtual memory and tasks that are handled in the background are probably in the physical, while things that are stored are probably in the virtual. What are some advantages and disadvantages of habit formation? One of the advantages, as I mentioned above, is the ability to multitask. There would be no way to perform several tasks unless we could “put” some of them aside, and concentrate on the ones we never done before, or that need more focus. We can only really focus on a limited number of things, and fully dedicate ourselves to one task only. Another advantage is of course the ability to perform complex tasks- by simplifying them and creating a pattern and eventually a habit, we are able to ride bicycle, and drive a car. Only if something that requires our attention while driving, we then turn our focus back to driving, and deal with the new situation. A bad thing that comes up from habits is that we can, for instance, delete things by mistake, just by being used to clicking the ‘yes’ button to verify deletion. We try to “cut corners”, save time, and clear the “CPU Cache” for more important things, so by automating some actions, we can sometimes ignore abnormal things that may cause problems if the task is not changed or modified. Give one example from the reading (or your own experience) of how to design interfaces with habits in mind: I already mentioned the design with the ‘click yes’ if you really want to delete the file, from the reading, and another bad design that comes to my mind is the lights in the car. I sometimes forget to turn the lights off. I think it is because you don’t turn on the lights at day time, it confuses drivers sometimes. The ultimate design would be to have it turn on and off automatically, so that we don’t have to think about it, in case we need to turn on the light during the day. Otherwise, we still need the cables in the trunk.

2) "You cannot be conscious of more than one task at any moment." Give an example from your own everyday life of absorption - being intensely focused on one task, to the point where you forget about your environment and miss important information in the environment. The first thing that came to my mind was, how surprising, me walking down the street, texting on my phone. I even hit a telephone pole once, really! It is amazing how distracted you can get when you engage in such a simple action which requires your full attention. Something that is as simple as walking, becomes extremely hard- I lift my head up a little, so I can take in as much of the road to come as possible, before I dive back into the urgent text I am sending, just like a whale taking a big breath before it dives down deep into the ocean. Another is also involving the phone- I forgot to get off of my train, and was late to work because of that. Conclusion: I should not have a cell phone.

Raymond Lin - 2/11/2013 10:51:27

1. By habits, Raskin is referring to the different kinds of tendencies or practices that we have developed through the use of current interfaces. For example, we have grown accustomed to swiping to change to the next screen, when there could be just as easily a next button. An advantage of habit formation is the fact that you continually practice something, which allows you to raise your skill level to a certain degree. However, the disadvantage is once you've become habituated, you do lack attention to many of the finer details because you've become so used to the task. We can go back to the example of changing pages. While, using a next button is more practical, it seems that nowadays most interfaces (when it comes to touch screen anyways) that swiping the screen has become a habit among users.

2. One of the most long last examples of the absorption in my everyday life comes when I'm doing my homework. For one reason or another, I find myself totally focused when it comes to writing papers, doing math problems, or coding. When people try to talk to me, I rarely process what they've said and usually ask them to wait until I can give them more attention or finish the problem or subproblem of the work set I have in front of me.

Jian-Yang Liu - 2/11/2013 10:55:03

1) By habit, Raskin means being able to conduct some task without having to think consciously about it. In general, habits are quite useful in that they can simplify one’s ability to accomplish some task, because the user no longer has to consciously work an application; the application has become easy to use. However, allowing the user to form habits with the interface can also lead to disadvantages, the most prominent of which is that the user is now impeded when he or she attempts to switch to another interface similar in some ways, different in others. Further, it can lead to complete loss of conscious control, which can be dangerous if the user must do something different from what he or she did before. A perfect example of how to design interfaces with habits in mind is the keyboard.

2) An example is gaming, where if the action is intense enough, I’ll become completely absorbed and often forget about what else I need to do, what is due later that day that I still have yet to do.

Juntao Mao - 2/11/2013 10:55:25

1. Habits are actions that with repetition or practice have become automatic, you can do the task without actively thinking about it. Raskin thinks that when an perception becomes habitual, it is extremely hard to undo, demonstrated by the switching break and accelerator paddle example. Advantages to habit formation include that once an action becomes automatic, that person does not need to focus on it and can do other tasks simultaneously. Disadvantage includes that it is extremely hard to undo or change, when the locus of attention is changed, a person can no longer willfully undo the habit. Raskin gives an example of design with habits in mind: allow users to undo erroneous command even if they have checked yes in the pop up dialogue box, because errors are rare, and people have developed problematic habit to automatically check yes in the dialogue box. 2. There have been many cases where I was reading a book/playing game on the subway that I totally missed my stop. There has been many announcements for which stops I was at; however, I do not take notice because I was too absorbed in the story line, and I thought I knew very well where to get off that I believe my stop is far away still.

Elise McCallum - 2/11/2013 11:00:20

1) By habits, Raskin means unconscious controls that are activated when interacting with an interface. An advantage of habit formation is that it makes transition to a new interface made in the same vein, i.e. a software upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8. With many unconscious habits being maintained in the new interface (e.g. reaching to the upper right corner to close/minimize/maximize a window), it is easy for users to make the transition to using a new product. This presents benefits for both the company, who does not want to lose users in the transition, and the user, who does not want to experience the steep learning curve of transitioning to a new system and interface. One disadvantage is that, if a user does transition from, for example, Windows 8 to MAC-OS, not all habits are preserved. For example, browsing the web on MAC-OS requires users to close/maximize/minimize pages using buttons on the upper left corner. Out of habit, users making this transition will always go to the right first, and often become frustrated by the lack of buttons there. Because these habits are so ingrained, it can prove frustrating to the user to try and alter something that is unconscious. One example of how to design interfaces with habits in mind, from the reading, is to "take advantage of the humain trait of habit development." Namely, in designing an interface, one should be conscious of how humans form other habits, such as through repetition and practice, and apply that idea to interface design.

2) One example of absorption is my everyday life comes from my roommate. While studying at a coffee shop, my roommate was intensely writing a letter by hand to her beau. This proved a consuming and absorbing task, as it was both emotionally charged and required complete visual attention to the page in order to ensure that the words were neatly written on the page. Being so absorbed in this letter, however, she not only missed the moment where a waiter took her unfinished coffee from the table, she also missed the moment where another person came along and took her laptop off the far side of the table. She not only missed the moment, but neglected to notice the lack of presence until she finished writing the letter and went to gather her things to leave. Needless to say, she missed a great deal of important information in her environment in the process.

Tiffany Jianto - 2/11/2013 11:02:22

1( Habits are categorized as part of the cognitive unconscious. With repetition or practice, tasks become habitual, and people are able to perform the tasks without having to think about them. According to Raskin, habits are necessary in order to perform other tasks; because people can do things from habbit, the muscles and nerves resonsible are set loose, whereas to think about every single movement and detail would interfere with what the person is trying to accomplish. However, bad habits can develop, and sometimes reach the point of total loss of conscious control. One man, Unamuno says, “To fall into a habit is to begin to cease to be.” As far as designing interfaces go, Raskin says that it is necessary to “1) deliberately take advantage of the human trait of habit development and 2) allow users to develop habits that smooth the flow of work.” Raskin’s example of designing interfaces with habits in mind is a confirmation box that alerts the user that what they want to do will result in permanent deletion of a file; instead of just entering Y which is what uses have a habit to do when they see alerts, having them enter the 10th word from the confirmation goes around that habit. Similarly, I think Apple products take advantage of habits to create their new products-- at least that is the case for me. Because the iPhone came out first and I became accustomed to it, transitioning to an iPad was just the same; they designed the iPad, iPods, etc. with the idea of their other similar products in mind, and with the idea that people have a habit from using their previous products and the feedback from those to create something simple and similar, with similar movements, controls, interfaces, etc.

2) I think this happens quite often when I attempt to multitask, but become much more absorbed in one task than the other and my surrounding environment. Sometimes in lectures, I may pull out my smartphone, but I become so absorbed in what I am looking at (whether it’s an email or a mobile game), that I forget about the lecture and lose track of the material and what is going on until some kind of stimulus brings the lecture back into my consciousness. Also, I’ve become so engrossed in tasks before working on my laptop, that I do not notice that the room has changed, whether people come in, or a lot of people exit. For example, when I work in the library and focus on the work, I sometimes look up and realize that many people have left already, even though I did not realize their leaving.

Haotian - 2/11/2013 11:03:14

1. By habits, Raskin means the things we do which become automatic since we do them so much, in the same way, all the time. For example, clicking an "ok" dialogue box in any application would be habitual, since everyone just automatically clicks "ok" without reading the box. An advantage of habit formation is that automatable tasks become much faster (we don't have to read the dialogue box to click ok, so it's faster). A disadvantage is that if the way an interface is used changes (a different dialogue box that actually matters), we are prone to make mistakes since we try to apply our old habits to the new situation. We can design a dialogue box in which, to make sure the user isn't just habitually clicking "ok", we make them type out a random word in the dialogue box, so they actually have to think about it.

2) Sometimes, when I'm coding very intensely, I block out my girlfriend saying something to me. She would repeat it multiple times, and it isn't until later that I'm informed that I didn't hear her, when I have no recollection at all of her saying anything.

Edward Shi - 2/11/2013 11:09:49

Habits are actions that humans unconsciously perform. For instance, a common habit may be to cross one's legs when one sits down. Habit formation is quite essential to our everyday lives. It can be convenient that I no longer have to think to put on my seat belt every time I get in the car. It is imperative that I have a habit of stopping when I see a red light. A habit can prove pivotal when it saves a person's live such as looking both ways before crossing a street. An interface that is designed with habits in mind is like deleting an online account. Many times, they will have you input a randomly generated string to ensure that you know what you are doing. Many online shopping websites have on final confirmation page before you submit your order too quickly.

Many times when I am watching a TV series that I am completely mesmerized by, I no longer notice the time. When people talk to me, they often have to call my name multiple times before I can respond. Another example is when I read a fascinating book, I often forget to respond to people and am quite annoyed by interruptions. Absorption in a conversation can also make you forget about the environment around you. You can forget that you're a little cold or that you're a little hungry.

Brent Batas - 2/11/2013 11:23:19


Raskin uses the term ‘habit’ to describe a task that, after being performed repeatedly, becomes so easy that you do it without thinking about it. The ‘easiness’ of a habit associated with the mindlessness of it; Raskin likens habits to addictions in the sense that there is a “loss of conscious control” in both—when something is a habit, you do it without thinking. When you start thinking about a habit like walking or riding a bike, it actually becomes difficult. Finally, Raskin notes that repeatedly using an interface inevitably develops habits, and so as designers we should assume that users who use our interfaces will develop habits.

An advantage of habit formation is that it can smooth the flow of work. For instance, developing the habit of typing without looking at the keyboard enables a person to not disrupt their train of thought every time they want to type something. Similarly, developing the habit of walking technique enables a person to do something as they walk, such as talk to someone, or eat a snack, or solve a math problem. If designers leverage these habits, they can design interfaces that allow users to accomplish complex tasks without requiring much thought.

A disadvantage of habit formation is that it can lead users to make mistakes because they aren’t thinking about what they are doing. For example, consider the design choice of requiring the user to press ‘Y’ to confirm the deletion a file with the goal of preventing users from accidentally deleting an important file. However, as users delete files, they get used to pressing ‘Y’ immediately after ‘delete,’ without even thinking about it. So if they were to delete an important file, they would probably press ‘Y’ without a second thought, thus negating the purpose of the confirmation in the first place. Another disadvantage of habit formation is that once users get in the habit of using something a certain way, they might not consider the other ways it can be used. For example, my washing machine has many different settings and features, but I have gotten in the habit of just using the “Normal” wash, without even thinking about any of the other settings, because it works for me. So I end up never considering any other settings, which means I am not using the product to its fullest.

An example in my own experience for designing interfaces with habits in mind is the use of common shortcut keys. For example, CTRL S to save, CTRL Z to undo, CTRL X to cut, CTRL C to copy, and CTRL V to paste. Early in my computer using years, I never thought twice about using these; I just assumed every program supported them. Whether I was browsing the net with Firefox, typing something with Word, or drawing in Paint, these hotkeys all worked the way I expected them. However, when I entered Cal and took 61a with Harvey, and opened up Emacs, I met a program with none of those hotkeys. Even after printing out the Emacs shortcut cheat sheet and trying through my own volition to adapt to the new hotkeys, I just kept on pressing CTRL S whenever I wanted to save, and I ended up searching for random strings instead. I realized that the typical hotkeys had become a habit for me, and I completely understand what Raskin is talking about when he says a simple act of volition is incapable of overcoming a habit. I think programs from now on should leverage this habit of common hotkeys, rather than trying to come up with their own. Even if they are convinced they have come up with a new hotkey scheme that is specifically engineered to be optimal for the tasks in their program, there would be so much interference between the users’ habits and the program interface so it would be very frustrating.


One example is when I play my guitar and start getting really into a song. Even though I’m playing without headphones on and I don’t have the volume that loud, and I can clearly hear people around me, it’s as if their words pass in one ear and out the other. I am so focused on the notes I’m playing and the notes I’m about to play that I cease to notice anything else. When I’ve been in this state, I’ve missed texts, phone calls, and sometimes it takes people multiple tries to get my attention by calling out my name. I’ve also missed a couple of classes when I don’t notice the time passing by.

Michael Flater - 2/11/2013 11:26:27

1) From my own experience with data entry I found the design of interfaces with habit strictly in mind. The good part about this is that once a habit is formed it allows the user to speed up their work, (knowing, for example, the strict number of tabs in order to get to the next needed field increases productivity) the bad part about this is ignoring potential pitfalls (like clicking through popup windows without reading them, which can lead to disastrous consequences). When designing such a system, this habit formation must be on the developers mind as to find ways to decrease habit forming while not limiting the potential upside of efficiency. A good example of this is to make potentially hazardous warnings pop up in a box with a different color, red perhaps. All the planning in the world, though, will not stop a user from developing habits, it is in our nature.

2) Cell phone use is a most prominent example of only being able to focus on one thing at a time. This is why their are laws against talking and texting while driving. Texting is obviously worse because you are lending your most needed sense, sight, to another task. Listening to music while driving is another perfect example. While most people think that it doesn't no effect you ability to drive, and it may not, it is taking away from your ability to drive and focus on other tasks (this is evident in the fact that most people, while looking for a street address or when they need extra concentration, tend to turn their radios down or off).

Oulun Zhao - 2/11/2013 11:28:03

1) In my opinion the habits mentioned by Raskin mean the operation pattern that you form from repeatedly using of the products or functionalities. Advantages of habit formation: It allows the users to develop habits that smooth the flow of their work. Disadvantages of habit formation: Only a time-consuming training process can undo a habit therefore some bad habit can be hard to forget. For example, confirming "yes" after trying to delete a file permanently can soon become habitual, and it is a very bad habit. Example: the trackpad of macbook is a interface design keeping habits in mind, because users have grown habits from using mouse scrolling up and down and the trackpad will function similarly to the mouse scrolling so the users.

2) It was two semesters ago in my CS61b class. I was working on the project. I sat in front of the lab computer and coded from 11am till 8am the next day without noticing the fact that I forgot to eat lunch and dinner. I was also very focused that I did not notice anyone walking into the lab and walking out.

Timothy Ko - 2/11/2013 11:33:29

When Raskin refers to habits, he means behaviors that you unconsciously perform as a result of having repeated that behavior over a long period of time. At first the behavior is conscious, but once you continue that behavior for long enough, it becomes unconscious and automatic. The advantages of this is that you can efficiently multitask when all but one of your tasks are habits that you don’t have to focus your attention on. The disadvantage is that you can unknowingly develop “bad” or unwanted habits, and once you develop a habit it’s hard to unlearn it because you’re so used to it and will often find yourself unknowingly going back to the habit. An example from the Raskin’s article was that of the deletion confirmations. When designing deletion confirmations, it’s important to consider that the user will probably develop a habit of just clicking yes without even reading the confirmation, since most times they aren’t making a mistake when deleting. This would be a problem when they actually do make a mistake, or end up deleting something crucial.

There have been plenty of times in my life when I have been so absorbed into playing videogames that I forget everything else around me. Often times I would be so focused on the videogame I would forget that I had the toaster on or was washing clothes. I even missed the beeping tones that sounded off when the toaster stopped or the washing machine was done, so my food would get cold or my clothes would just be sitting in the washing machine.

Yuliang Guan - 2/11/2013 11:52:10

(1) The habit is like a kind of unconscious reaction. According to Raskin, It means to do something without having to think about it. When people perform a task again and again, it will become easier to do. After practising many times, the competence becomes habit and people can do the task without having to think about it. Habits are essential to people. Any habit is a surrender of detail control. In most instances, we need to make an action in a very short time, such as 1 or 2 seconds, so there is no time for us to think about it carefully. Instead, we need to react immediately using our habits. In this case, habit is helpful. We need to perform habitually. Habit formation also has disadvantages. Bad habits can cause a loss of conscious control, and may bring a big trouble. Therefore, conscious attention is necessary. It's hard to avoid once you have developed any habits. Even though you try to tell yourself not to perform the habitual action, you may not always be able to stop yourself. When designing interfaces, it is necessary to keep habits in mind. This made me recall an application that I used years ago. Once, I deleted a document in the app by mistake. I clicked delete button wrongly, and a dialog box shows up asking "Are you sure you want to delete it?" Generally, when this dialog box comes out, the left button is Yes and the right one is No. So I clicked the right one without thinking. But unfortunately, this time the button on right side is Yes. As a result, I lost the document. From this example, I want to say that designers are supposed to know users' habits and keep their habits in mind when they design interfaces. They should have noticed that people are used to clicking left button as Yes and right one as No. Therefore, it's better to follow users' habits. It is an effective way to avoid trouble.

(2) As the author said, it's impossible for us to be conscious of more than one task at any moment. For instance, I would like to think about my today's schedule when driving. Sometimes, I focused on thinking and arranging my time in mind. The result is that I forgot to make a turn and kept driving straight. Driving straight is a habit for me that I can do automatically. When I was thinking, I would forget where I was, what my route should be, and failed to notice the street where I was supposed to turn right.

Yong Hoon Lee - 2/11/2013 11:52:47

1. Raskin uses the term 'habit' to refer to an action which is performed by someone in absence of thinking. In other words, something that someone can do (or repeatedly does) unconsciously, without thinking about the details of the process. He cites both complicated tasks, such as driving a car, which most drivers can do without thinking about the individual physical processes that go into it, and simple actions, such as the act of skipping past delete confirmations when using a computer. Even though these two tasks vary greatly in complexity, they are both done without thinking, and in that sense are habits. However, the other differences between the two actions highlight the advantages and disadvantages of habit forming. In the case of driving, its habitual nature allows drivers to focus their attention on other things while driving, namely the road ahead of them, instead of thinking about how far to turn the steering wheel or how hard to press the pedals at each stop. Hence, habits allow people to perform tasks without thinking, so that one does not have to place that task in his or her "locus of attention," as Raskin says. However, as in the case of the delete confirmations, habits can also be negative. In this case, the habit of simply always pressing "Y" after deleting a file makes the entire confirmation redundant, as nobody is actively thinking about it, and thus will not stop most people from deleting the file. In essence, habits can become a disadvantage when they make a certain task unconscious when it should not be. In the opinion of most, deleting a file permanently should be a conscious task. However, the confirmation system described in the text makes it an unconscious one. An example of user interface design that has habits in mind is the standardization of many word processing programs. Many people are very used to using Microsoft Word, which has a toolbar on the top with various formatting options. Hence, when someone wants to change the font or make some text bold, many people instinctively look at the toolbar and click on the corresponding button. Hence, looking at the toolbar to format text has become a habit. This habit has been catered to by designers of other word processing programs, such as Apple's Pages, Google's Docs, and the various OpenOffice softwares. These all have formatting toolbars at the top of their interfaces in order to take advantage of the habit that has formed in many users.

2. One example of absorption in my own life is one that is likely extremely common in many lives in this age, namely the tendency of computer screens to absorb one's concentration. Specifically, I have, in the past, attempted to take notes on a laptop in my classes. However, invariably, instead of listening to the lecture, I become absorbed in a task on my computer, such as reading an article. When this happens, the lecture immediately becomes background noise and gets tuned out completely, even though I am aware that this information is important. In some cases, I have even missed material that the professor specifically mentioned would be on an exam, which is very surprising. Because of this tendency, I no longer attempt to take notes on my computer, so as to minimize the potential for distraction.

Monica To - 2/11/2013 12:01:50

1) Raskin's describes habits as things people learn from doing a certain thing repeatedly and eventually able to do unconsciously. An example that would apply to user interfaces is swipe gestures on a touch screen device. The very first experience with a touch screen required us to consciously learn and refer back to instructions about how to swipe our fingers to achieve a certain function. After using many touch screen devices for a period of time, swiping and pinching to zoom in and out has become habitual and we no longer need to focus on what our fingers are doing to control the touch screens. Some advantages of habit formation are one, people could start multitasking (focusing on one action consciously and the other unconsciously); this is beneficial because it allows people to achieve more things and potentially achieve better things. For example, people who use the computer often have learned how to type on the keyboard without even looking. Typing on the keyboard has become habitual and we no longer need to consciously focus on where the letters are-- we already know. So, instead of having to shift our focus back and forth from the keyboard to the email we're typing, we could focus on the message we're writing and its context. Even now as I type up this response, I am unconsciously typing on a keyboard and consciously thinking about how I want to express my next sentence. And of course with most things, there are disadvantages. One disadvantage of habit formation is that sometimes the habits we form will lead to carelessness in attention. An example would be one given in the reading. Computer users frequently see pop-up alert and message boxes from the OS when certain actions are made; we get notifications to tell us when we install a new application, when we're running low on batteries, and etc. These are often notifications that we don't really care about and users have learned to just click "Okay" or just pressing the "Enter" button to make the pop-up box disappear. Eventually this becomes a habit and the disadvantage of this is could potentially appear when we are performing sensitive or undoable tasks. For example, when a user deletes a file, a confirmation pop-up window will appear with the option to "Cancel" or "Continue". If a user isn't consciously thinking about what to click, they may make the dangerous mistake of just clicking okay and deleting something important. As written in the reading, a workaround this issue would be to ask the user to do something that requires focus and attention, like before confirming deletion of something, ask the user to type in something unique like perhaps the name of the file they want to delete.

2) "You cannot be conscious of more than one task at any moment." This meant that people could multitask and do multiple things as once but, people cannot have their focus and attention on more than one of those things. One example from experience of absorption is when my friend got into a small car accident. She stopped at a traffic light waiting behind another car and since she was at a red light, she figured that she would check her phone for messages. While she was reading her messages, she slowly released the break and her car slowly creeped up. And within a few more seconds she bumped the car in front of her. It was to her complete surprise that this happened; she recalled that she seriously thought there was a lot of room between her and the other car. This happened because she removed her focus and attention away from driving and watching the road to reading the new messages she received on her phone. And because she became intensely focused on reading and understanding her messages, she did not actually know how much distance there was between her's and the other car and she could not handle controlling her car successfully.

Ben Goldberg - 2/11/2013 12:10:24

1) Habits are tasks that your unconscious mind can perform. It requires little or no conscious thought. Habits are helpful because it lets you do more than one thing at once. You wouldn't be able to drive a car very well if you didn't have the habit of hitting the gas when you wanted to accelerate and hitting the brake when you wanted to slow down. Habits can be bad however if a task that requires conscious thought is done by habit. Sometimes people make driving such a habit that they forget to pay attention to the road, which can be dangerous.

A good interface is the login screen for Windows or Mac. All you have to do is put in your password and hit enter. It's such an easy task that it becomes habitual after a few repetitions. This is desired since logging in isn't a task that should take conscious thought if it is your computer that you are logging into.

2) Sometimes I will be driving and I will be having an intense conversation with someone. This conversation will require lots of conscious though, especially if it is controversial in nature. I find that when I have these conversations I will pay much less attention to the road. On the contrary, it's actually the other way around. Since the road attracts my attention first and foremost (like it should), I will not be able to have a conversation with someone else, especially if I'm driving in rain or snow.

Sumer Joshi - 2/11/2013 12:10:25

1. Interpreting this question, I would think Raskin intends that habits are like "crutches" or innate desires people lean on or fall back to. To elucidate, these desires could be completely free in front of a computer by a user, when the user does not realize it. For example, when installing security software, some users may look to it as a chore since installing a product takes time, and begin to click to further the installation. My father, on the other hand, looks through and carefully selects dialog boxes. An interface that would be perfect for habits would be a tablet interface of course. Microsoft just patented gestured-base search, ( and this would allow habits of touching and pinching and zooming to become more commonplace. The disadvantage of habit formation is that leads to a cycle of the same habits, regardless of good or bad, that does not allow the user to grow.

2. Often, when I'm watching a TV show on my computer, I am so intently focused on watching it that time passes by. During the show, there might be points where the episode may go slowly, and I end up fast forwarding the episode. At this point, I'm missing some information about the show while still keeping my focus to it.

Avneesh Kohli - 2/11/2013 12:32:57

Raskin is referring to the ability to complete a task or action without explicitly walking through each step of the process and making a conscious decision. The main advantages to creating an interface that results in a habit is that this will very likely increase the user’s productivity when using the given interface. Without having to consciously navigate through what they’re seeing, the user should be able to instinctively get to where they want to go without having to spend an incredible amount of energy doing so. On the other hand, if a poor habit is cultivated, it’s nearly impossible to dissuade the user from practicing that bad habit without an extensive amount of interference and training. Once a user develops a bad habit, productivity with the interface could diminish dramatically. In my own experience, the best way to design an interface to take advantage of habit development is to create an interface that takes incorporates habits present in the context and environment that the habit will be used. For example, when designing a video game for a computer, any onscreen keyboards that might be included in the game should be of the QWERTY format, whereas on console systems, keyboards are very frequently alphabetically ordered. Given that the user will be typing with the keyboard, they will habitually know what to do.

Something that happens to me quite frequently is that when I’m programming, I develop an intense focus that allows me to mute the environment around me. Often, people will be calling my name, trying to get my attention, but won’t be successful until they stand in front of me and wave their hands. The demonstration of absorption here is that I’m so focused on coding, I completely ignore what’s going on around me.

Eric Ren - 2/11/2013 12:34:46

1) What Raskin means by habits is the automatic actions that we learn to do after using an interface repeatedly. An advantage of habit formation is that if the user experience was designed to be smooth, then the user can repeatedly perform his/her actions with little difficulty. However if the user misses some small step in the process, then he/she might become annoyed and frustrated, and begin to be absorbed into trying to figure out why the task is not being done.

In my personal experience, I was 'trapped in autonomy' when I first switched over to using a Macintosh computer from a Windows computer. It took me a while to retrain myself to press the command key instead of the control key when I was using the cut/copy/paste commands.

2) I have fallen to absorption not only to many times with programming but also in the physical world. One recent example is when I was playing guitar last night. I only wanted to play for thirty minutes, but once I started learning a new song, I lost track of time. I kept focusing on performing the right pull-off technique that I ended up practicing for the next two hours.

Jin Ryu - 2/11/2013 12:39:28

1) By habits, Raskin means the unconscious actions that a human can perform at a time. It is a loss of conscious control and is extremely useful for routine everyday life. Some advantages to habit formation is the ability to multi-task and acting reflexively fast enough when it is needed. A disadvantage to habit formation may be in quitting a "bad habit" - actions that are either unnecessary, time-consuming, or detrimental to the human body or purpose. One example from the reading to designing interfaces with habits in mind would be the car's dashboard and pedals. The purpose of employing habits into a design is to give the user something stable to be accustomed and not change in a complex way or take too many steps. Convoluted ways that may keep changing make it hard for people to establish a habit in which they can do automatically later when they are used to it. The signals and pedals should work the same way every time (such as brakes always stopping the car, accelerator always moving the car, and certain signals being constant as an indicator without exceptions.)

2) Actively listening to music is a very common example of absorption. Sometimes, it can be played in the background as something to listen to unconsciously, but in my experience, music in general can get very distracting, especially if it's loud or very upbeat. It becomes part of consciousness when some parts of the song may be difficult to follow also, and the person may unknowingly drop everything but the most effortless of tasks by getting drawn in to listen. It is near impossible for me to do homework or work while listening to music, especially if the song has lyrics which can grab attention. People can lose detail in sight as well when they have headphones on and not see something because of what they are concentrated on hearing. Those with headphones can still see and sense things, but they do not notice important detail because they are busy paying attention to the music instead which is why some tasks are not recommended to do while listening to music such as crossing traffic. Also, most people can only enjoy listening to 1 song at a time, not 2 or more if they are really paying attention. This indicates a more conscious absorption in the task of listening.

André Crabb - 2/11/2013 12:51:58

1. Raskin defines 'habit' as a "surrender of detail control." A habit is an

   action that gets repeated so often, the user can eventually do it without
   really thinking about the details of what she is doing. 
   Some advantages to habits are that they make tasks easier to do. An example
   from the reading is driving would be a lot harder if you had to think about
   everything that was involved with driving. Getting into the habit of simply
   pressing on the brake pedal without thinking how or why makes it much
   One example of how to design with habits in mind is to not allow multiple
   ways to do the same task. The action of having to choose which option to
   take can break the locus of attention of the user from the task to the
   choosing. One perhaps simple example I can think of is VIM as a text editor.
   The way to save files is by typing ":w". In other applications, you can
   press "Ctrl+s", or click "File->Save" or "File->Save As". The creators of
   VIM might have thought that people who use it probably already have some
   keyboard-shortcut habits, and so why not make saving files fit in with those

2. The first thing that comes to mind about "absorption" is watching movies. It is so easy to give all your attention to the movie, that you can easily forget what day or time it is. When going to a movie theater during the day, I have walked out (also during the day) and been confused, thinking it should be dark out. This is because I was giving all my attention to the movie and I forgot it should still be daylight outside when I leave. Part of this could be that most people (I think) are in the habit of going to the movies at night, and thus expect darkness when they walk out. So if someone breaks this habit for once and goes during the day, they may still be expecting darkness outside by habit.

Kayvan Najafzadeh - 2/11/2013 13:01:42

"with repetition, or practice, your competence becomes habitual, and you can do the task without having to think about it." "ideal human interface would reduce the interface component of a user's work to benign habituation. many of the problems that make products difficult and unpleasant to use are caused by human-machine design that fails to take into account the helpful and injurious properties of habit formation." these habits can make an interface very easy to understand and we can use it as a tool for our design, or if not used properly it can make the interface much difficult and confusing. As an example in most of the Driving games on mobile platforms you see the icons of Acceleration and Break as two pedals as we see in our cars and always the right pedal is for acceleration and left one for break. these apps use our habit of driving.

It happens when I'm focused on my projects or HWs and at the same time I'm talking on the phone. I can not remember anything that I heard or said to the other person.

Tenzin Nyima - 2/11/2013 13:06:45

1) By "habits", Raskin means the characteristic that gets developed in you which will lead you to a level comfort in performing a task and you will find yourself unavoidable with these steps in performing the task. Moreover, during such a course of action, you do not need to think in order to perform the task. For example, riding a bicycle. Such "habits" has advantages and disadvantages. As Raskin mentioned in the reading, driving a car involve such kind of habits. Once you become comfortable driving, you hardly think about the steps that needs to perform before driving, while driving and after driving. It comes to you very naturally - which is actually the "habits" that Raskin was talking about. If you have to get rid of such habits and think how to drive every time, then everyday driving will be same as your first time driving - thinking carefully about all the steps. So, "habits" has advantage in this case. Now looking back at my own habits of driving, here is an interesting example. When I first started driving in the US, my habit of driving in India caused me a huge problem. In India you drive on the left lane and opposite traffic would drive drive on the right lane. And here, in the US, it is just the opposite - you drive on the right lane and the opposite traffic drive on the left. On few occasions, I almost drove wrong way. Oops - the disadvantage of "habits". An example from reading that says about designing interfaces with habits in mind was to create a nasty trap by permitting run, one one computer, two or more heavily used applications that differ in only a handful of often used details. User, thus, quickly develop the new habits. 2) This is very true! You cannot be conscious of more than one task at any moment. My internship interview preparation last week was a good example. I was so concerned about getting a summer internship that lead me to the point where I forgot about all other tasks. I could not concentrate on anything other things such as homeworks, projects, etc. And at the end of the week, you realized that you now have whole bunch of assignments to finish with minimal time left.

Sangyoon Park - 2/11/2013 13:14:19

1) Habits is, by Raskin, learned by performing a task repeatedly, and also habit is one form of unconsciousness activity. Once this habit if formed, it is really hard to break it unless the person pays serious attention (locus of attention) to what he is doing at the moment. We can perform some tasks without paying too much attention or can do multiple tasks simultaneously because we have habits. One good disadvantage of habit formation is that habit could potentially prevent us to perform an action that is different than usual, since the 'usual activity' is already formed as habit so it is just hard to disobey the command of our brain from habit. One example of how to design interfaces with habits in mind happens when I try to delete a file in my computer. I have always deleted files with 'no-trashbin' option (shift-del in windows system) with pressing 'Y' immediately after a pop-up shows up (that asks me to confirm deletion). This made me lose some important files accidentally. 2) Just simple example, this always happens when I play computer games. When I do it, I literally can't hear any phone rings. Even more, if a friend talks to me when I play a game, I try to answer them and remember the conversation, what happens at the end is that I don't remember any of the conversation (even I answered the person).

Joyce Liu - 2/11/2013 13:30:31

1) With practice, your competence becomes habitual. An advantage of habit formation is that it takes less of a cognitive load to perform a task that you perform often. Another is that it allows people to accomplish more because they are able to do multiple things at once, with the “habit” running in the background, which would enable people to focus their attention on another task. The disadvantages of habit formation is that bad habits may form, and habits can also turn into addiction and lead to a point of total loss of conscious control. To design interfaces with habits in mind, it’s good to NOT provide multiple options to accomplish the same task. Additionally, the reading gave an example about how when computer asks Y or N when the user attempts to delete a file. Eventually, the original intention of checking to make sure that the user wants to delete the file becomes futile because the user has made typing ‘Y’ after deleting a file a habit. Thus, if we are to design interfaces with this habit in mind, if our goal is indeed to check that the user wants to delete it, perhaps after a certain number of times of having the user type ‘Y’ the prompt then changes and asks the user to type something else. In this way, it would break the automaticity of typing ‘Y’ after deleting and accomplish the goal of checking.

2) When I am writing, I am completely absorbed. This usually occurs during essay writing or writing for pleasure because I am steeped in my thoughts and ideas, and I rack my brain for words to portray my thoughts accurately or for words to add a bit of stylistic flare to my work. The state of complete absorption usually occurs when I get super into whatever I’m writing—I can also say the same about coding, which actually has many similarities to essay writing, which I can gladly elaborate on at a later time. I am completely absorbed when I write essays is because the task of making an accurate representation of your thoughts through language is a task that becomes quite challenging when you need to sort through all of your thoughts and make a coherent, logical, and sophisticated piece of writing. The quality of being steeped in thought contributes to the absorption, and it’s always hard to go back to right where you were with a thought after being interrupted, which is perhaps why I am less aware of my environs when writing.

Cong Chen - 2/11/2013 13:32:04

1) What Raskin means by habits are unconscious movements or things that we do without thought, such as driving a car, walking and running, brushing your teeth, etc. Because these actions are repeated often and you do them a lot, you stop consciously thinking about them and you just do them from motor memory; this would be a habit. Forming habits are advantages in that they help people easily function in their daily lives and do multiple things. People do not have to actively think about walking or brushing their teeth so they can think about other things or engage in other activities. Likewise, because people form habits, people are capable of improving their ability in doing certain things through practice and repetition, like playing the piano or violin. If people do not form habits, it would not be possible to improve on certain things.

However, some disadvantages of habits are that people will get used to certain things and make certain warnings obsolete. As a result, it is more likely for people to create errors. For instance, when you delete a file off linux, you usually get a notification for, Are you sure? and you have to press Y to confirm. Because of habit, over time, you will simply press Y after you delete the file because you are used to doing this and know you have to press Y; which is bad because you do so without even thinking. Another disadvantage is that people will get used to interfaces even if they are poorly designed ones so they won't complain. As a result, we will have interfaces that aren't the best designed, but used because people are used to them.

An example of designing an interface with habits in mind would be to consider how the person can form a habit and how to prevent this by grabbing their locus of attention. Continuing off the pervious example, a better design for deleting file confirmation would be requiring the user to type obscure random things that require active attention to do, like the 10th word backwards or something in a message (example from the reading)

2) This happens to me quite often when I focus. One example would be when I start coding or working on my computer, I will be super focus and zone out such that I forget my surroundings. There have been many times when I am boiling something in the kitchen, but completely forget when I leave to work for a bit. Even after I hear whistling from the kettle, I wouldn't notice for a while. In the end, if my roommates come back or something more drastic grabs my attention, I will suddenly remember and rush off to close the stove.

Anh Mai - 2/11/2013 13:33:34

1) "Our mandate as designers is to create interfaces that do not allow habits to cause problems for the user.[...] No amount of training of training can teach a user NOT to develop habits when she uses an interface repeatedly." What does Raskin precisely mean by habits? What are some advantages and disadvantages of habit formation? Give one example from the reading (or your own experience) of how to design interfaces with habits in mind.

By habits, Raskin means tasks that we have learned to the point where we can do them without thinking about them, like walking, riding a bicycle, or even driving a car. Habits form as you repeat the same task over and over again as you go about your daily life. The advantages of forming habits are that things become almost second nature to do, and tasks might be able to be completed much quicker. Things that seemed daunting before will now be easily done, like playing a piano, or riding a bicycle. Habits form to make your life "easier." One disadvantage of that is as you slip further into habits, you lose conscious control of those tasks and would have to train to get them back. People who grow up biting their nails continue to bite their nails even when they are not consciously aware of it. I crack my thumbs unconsciously all the time, sometimes I'm aware of it, other times I do it out of pure habit - it's something I'm so used to doing. Designing interfaces must always take into account of user habits, since that's what they are used to and that's likely where they will fall back to when they use similar programs. Designing with habits in mind will usually give users alternative actions to take should they ever commit an action out of habit that need to be recovered from. You can also use dialogues or interference along the way to break the user out of a normal trail of habitual actions.

2) "You cannot be conscious of more than one task at any moment." Give an example from your own everyday life of absorption - being intensely focused on one task, to the point where you forget about your environment and miss important information in the environment.

Not required in your answer, but very useful for the midterm: Summarize the main concepts in Raskins chapter (e.g.: cognetics, locus of attention, cognitive conscious vs unconscious, habits and automaticity))

When I'm reading a very good story or manga, I usually become very absorbed in it. There have been times in the past where hours can go by without my noticing because I was absorbed in several volume of mangas back-to-back. The only thing that I was keeping track of was how far along I was and how much more I had before I reached the end.

Zach Burggraf - 2/11/2013 13:34:35

1) Habits are simple visual and spacial memories associated with a given task that one performs over and over again. This can be advantageous because humans tend to have a strong spacial memory (as we have seen many interfaces like the desktop that try to take advantage of this) which allows us to complete tasks and navigate through menus quickly. The disadvantage occurs when something changes or we encounter an "unusual" case. For example, we have been trained to hit that OK button on every dialogue box that appears but when the time comes to hit cancel, sometimes we hit OK instinctively before we've even read the text. Another example from my personal experience is the app layout on my iPhone- most of the time when I want to use an app I know exactly where it is on the screen. Spatially I had memorised my entire first two pages of apps. So when the iPhone 5 added a new row of apps, it completely threw me off for quite some time because everything was in a different location.

2) I somewhat disagree with this statement. Multitasking is done every day by almost everyone. It is true, however, that intense focus on one task can cause you to miss a lot of other things. One simple example is if you are working or playing games or watching tv, you often lose track of time and can end up being late for other things because you were unable to keep track of the clock and your activity at the same time.

Kate Gorman - 2/11/2013 13:39:14

1) Habits are the unconcisouss actions of human beings by which they perform tasks. Habits here indicate what the user will unconcioussly expect to do with an interface, for example, these days if a user sees a touch screen, their natural habit will be to attempt to swipe the interface, even though it is not guaranteed hat this functionality exists. In this way as a designer, you must understand the unconscience habits of users in order ot not violate their expectations of how the interface should respond. The advantage is that once understood, it can be easy to see how a user will perceive the interface and interact with it. The disadvantage lies in that it can be difficult to improve or innovate on an interaction at first, because users are prone to their habits and can struggle to adapt new tendencies at first. For example, the Mac trackpad scrolling was switched on the OSs. As a user, my habit was to use the trackpad to directly control the scrolling (i.e. moving your hand up made the page go up). However, the newer OSs have this reversed and function as an iphone does. This broke the users habit initially, but brought it into alignment with a habit on another device.

2) When I need to use the restroom badly in a lecture hall, the only thing I can think about is how many minutes of lecture are left or how I might escape. I literally cannot focus on the professor. On the flipside, if you attempt to bring the lecture to the locus of attention, you may be able to forget about needing to use the restroom.

Achal Dave - 2/11/2013 13:41:06

1) "Our mandate as designers is to create interfaces that do not allow habits to cause problems for the user.[...] No amount of training of training can teach a user NOT to develop habits when she uses an interface repeatedly." What does Raskin precisely mean by habits? What are some advantages and disadvantages of habit formation? Give one example from the reading (or your own experience) of how to design interfaces with habits in mind.

Raskin's discussion about habits revolves around the unconscious actions we undertake without thinking, and which are a result of repetition. Habits let users get through both their daily lives and software interfaces without cluttering the conscious mind. As an extreme example, Vim, the text editor, relies on users absorbing many seemingly obscure commands into their unconscious--to the point that many advanced users can only show, not explain, how they use certain featuers of Vim. On the other hand, it can be very difficult to reverse a habit (nail biting, for example), and a badly designed interface may teach a user to make a habit of a conscious decision. Taking Raskin's example, repeated confirmation dialogs may lead the user to automatically confirming, without considering the ramifications. Raskin shows one example that attempts to take habit formation into account, making the confirmation require conscious effort every time (by asking to type random words).

2) "You cannot be conscious of more than one task at any moment." Give an example from your own everyday life of absorption - being intensely focused on one task, to the point where you forget about your environment and miss important information in the environment.

Last week, I was attempting to get my various configurations working properly before my discussion section for a class started. After what seemed like a few minutes, I realized that discussion had started a while back. I'd missed not only the fact that the GSI had entered the room, but also that instruction had begun.

Minhaj Khan - 2/11/2013 13:58:51

When speaking of habits, Raskin initially talking about psychological habit formation in general, giving the example of using the accelerator and brake pedals in a car as part of a habit. He further discusses that designing interfaces should take advantage of habit formation and realize that users are usually already accustomed to a set of habits with interfaces which should not be violated in an interface design as that would be an inconvenience for the user and even a source of errors in the interaction. An advantage of habit formation is that the habit can be expected as part of a user's behavior and taken advantage of, such as the tendency of a user to close out programs by clicking an (x) button at the top of any window. A disadvantage of habit formation is that a user has developed some habitual notion of the performance of some interface element, which can be hard to break and is a source of difficulty for interface designers for whom the habit is counterproductive to their interface design. In this sense the habit is undesirable. One example I can give regarding interfaces have to do with the mouse. Most users expect the left mouse click to have some primary often-used action, especially in games. So game designers and other interface designers should keep this user habit in mind and assign the left click of a mouse to some primary often used action.

One example from my life of absorption is when I'm focused on an activity like reading or watching tv. Such activities which take up a lot of my mental attention I do tend to lose focus on the environment, for example when people are talking around me I usually am not able to pay attention to a conversation and read/watch tv at the same time.

Soyeon Kim (Summer) - 2/11/2013 13:59:17

1) Habits are the tendency of being easier and unconscious of a certain action. Habits are not deliberately developed; it is developed unconsciously from repeated performance. In this reading, Raskin emphasizes that persistent use of any type of interface will develop the user’s habits that makes it very difficult for users to purposely avoid. For example (from the reading), typing Y from delete-file action becomes habitual for users since the user continually repeats typing Y for confirming deletion. Once the habit is developed, the user doesn’t check their intention and still type the Y from the habit.

The advantage of habit formation is that, if it is a good habit that has been developed, it could be beneficial to the habit holder (user). This means that the user interface designer can deliberately design the interface, by taking advantage of prominent characteristic of habit development, to provide with the design that leads to development of good habits and in this way; it can smooth the flow of their work.

The disadvantages of habit that it is very difficult to get rid of existing habits; only intense time-consuming training can possibly eliminate habits. Also, people cannot control their habits; a strong willpower will not undo a habit.

In order provide a better solution to users with habits automatically typing Y from delete-file action (described in my first paragraph of the reading response), user interface designers came up with this idea to make users type either twice or backward of a random text shown in dialogue box. This may cause users annoyed, however, it can definitely prevent the existing habitual confirming process and provides an opportunity to reestablish the decision of deleting a file.

2) Before I confess (though I no longer have Facebook as a part of new year’s resolution, I am sure almost every students have done this at least once. There was a time in which I sat in a lecture hall and I was so absorbed by doing a Facebook during the class, that I spent a whole lecture not being aware of what is being lectured. Most of people think that we can still pay attention to information being presented during the lectures while social networking, however, it is very easy to be distracted by things like Facebook and even get completely absorbed by it to the point where the information and the environment is completely blocked to be aware of. I deeply regret doing this once and learned a lesson.

Ryan Rho - 2/11/2013 14:01:53

1) "Our mandate as designers is to create interfaces that do not allow habits to cause problems for the user.[...] No amount of training of training can teach a user NOT to develop habits when she uses an interface repeatedly." What does Raskin precisely mean by habits? What are some advantages and disadvantages of habit formation? Give one example from the reading (or your own experience) of how to design interfaces with habits in mind. Habits here mean unconscious actions that humans do not act with thoughts. In other words, interfaces should be intuitive so that there is no problem by using unconscious behaviors, which does not require humans to think or interfere with another task.

An advantage of habit formation is that as a human form a habit, he or she doesn't have to pay much attention to the task. On contrary, she loses details compared to when she focuses more on the action, so it is more likely for her to make mistake. In addition, designers of interfaces can understand some of habit formations of humans and apply them to their interfaces, which make the interfaces intuitive. However, the designers should also be cautious in designing interfaces of resolving mistakes because users may make mistakes due to loss of detail actions.

I am a heavy macbook user. Its operating system Mac OS does not have a scroll bar. Rather, users scroll down the page by using gestures on a trackpad as if they move the page up or down. As a result, there are no scroll bars on Mac, which forms a habit to Mac users. Af a Mac user uses a laptop with Windows operating system, they accidentally try to scroll the page up or down in a mac way, which is using two finger swipe. However, it does not work that way in a windows machine, which is unexpected to the user. In the worst case, the user has to move the mouse cursor to the scroll bar button and then click the button in the touchpad, which is different and more complex than what she has in here habit formation from Mac.

2) "You cannot be conscious of more than one task at any moment." Give an example from your own everyday life of absorption - being intensely focused on one task, to the point where you forget about your environment and miss important information in the environment. I recently practice driving and I use a car navigation app for iPhone. Since I'm not familiar with this place, I heavily rely on the directions on the navigation app. Rather than looking at road signs, I mostly hear what the navigator says and follow its recommended directions. Since I focus too much on the directions, I miss some road signs or even miss a shorter way to get to the destination when the navigation suggests much farther directions. This is especially because I am new at driving so that driving is not habitual for me which makes me rely more on the navigation system.

Brett Johnson - 2/11/2013 14:04:34

1. When Raskin writes about habits, he is referring to the patterns that people develop after doing something for an extended period of time and being comfortable with it. As far as advantages of habits, he talks about them as “surrender of detail control” [19], which allows a person to do more than one activity at a time, obviously important for multitasking. A disadvantage of habit formation is that once the habit is developed, people overlook details of what they are doing which can be problematic. This is because the task is no longer the locus of their attention. The example that he give is that of the classic delete dialogue box in many computer programs. People will automatically click yes to confirm the delete without thinking, negating the initial effort to confirm the delete. So, Raskin suggests a few alternatives to bring the task back to the locus of attention. One idea is to have the user enter the reason for the delete, which makes them think about their reasoning. While he mentions there are still problems with this approach, it is better than a simple yes or no dialogue box because it brings the user’s attention back to the task.

2. Once, when working on a project in my room, I became so engrossed in the work that I lost track of time and forgot to eat. It wasn’t until hours after the normal time that I eat that my body, not the clock, reminded me to eat. I had ignored the changing light outside and the people walking past my room that would normally indicate the time for dinner.

mia kissick - 2/11/2013 14:06:17

1) Raskin's "habits" means by practice repeatedly, one's competence will become habitual, and do a task without consciously thinking about it. By having "habits", we manage to about everyday lives without paying too much attention to details, and able to complete tasks without having to go through too many thought process. But sometimes we also form bad habits that are actually bad for us, and even form addictions, that can actually do lots of harm to us. One example regarding designing interfaces with habits is before an irreversible task, operating system will always ask the user for confirmation. This is prevent unconscious execution of habit information causing mistakes. 2) This one time I am very focused, stressed, and absorbed in doing my cs184 project, and about to make myself some coffee. However, I totally forgot to put coffee in the coffee maker since my mind is all on the project.

Eric Wishart - 2/11/2013 14:07:32

1) A habit is a prediction that you have made about the environment which you default to when trying to accomplish something. An advantage of habit formation is that as an interface designer we can have people use a new app and understand how to operate it without having to learn something new. There are assumptions that are made about the functionality that we can leverage to make an app feel more intuitive. Some disadvantages of habit formation are that we feel inclined to make our app fit to a mold, even if the functionality is not optimal, because it is what people are going to be expecting. A great example of this is how almost every smart phone unlocks with a similar swiping motion. This is by no means the best way to unlock a phone, but since the motion has become a habit it is easier to keep on designing the lock that way.

2) When trying to check my email on my phone while walking to a class I will sometimes walk right by a very close aquantaince. I get very absorbed in what I am looking at on my phone so I miss everything else that is going on around me.

Matthew Chang - 2/11/2013 14:10:53

The habits he is referring to are those formed through extended use of a given interface. The advantage of habit formation is that when a user is confronted with a different piece of software, but with very similar UI as the one they are used to, the old habits are easier to adjust. The problem with this is that it tends to introduce a legacy component that restricts the design of the UI and can make improvements to the UI seem foreign to the user and decrease adoption. A great real world example of this is the ribbon UI that Microsoft started with Office. This UI helps to surface more functionality in a cleaner interface, but because of the new locations for the various buttons, many users were caught off guard. Their old habits, ways of doing things, were often no longer valid with this new interface, making things appear foreign.

The most common case of this is when checking emails while walking or while waiting for the pedestrian light to give the ok to walk across an intersection. It is easy to become absorbed in an email through it's content, which causes you to lose track of where you're going or whether the light has changed.

John Sloan - 2/11/2013 14:11:42

1) Raskin uses habits to refer to tasks you do without even thinking. Such as walking or typing or even undesirable tasks like biting nails. Habits can be advantageous because they allow for you to shift your locus on something more important. Like talking while you walk. If you had to focus so hard on walking then you wouldn't be able to be productive. The same goes for typing on a computer, if you had to think about, writing an essay would be infuriating. A disadvantage of habits is developing undesirable ones. Bad habits. This can be a problem in computers if a user develops habits that lead to errors or frustration, usually caused by poor design. But once they develop these habits, even if they are frustrating, can become unavoidable and impossible to break.A good example of designing with habits in mind is the bookmarks toolbar on web browsers. I've developed habits of checking a series of websites and the bookmarks bar facilitates that habit in a convenient way.

2) Most commonly for me, I will put in a load of laundry and then start playing guitar. I get so caught up in practicing that I completely forget I had a load in and forget to take it out until the next time I see the dryer which is sometimes a day later! Also sometimes I'll be thinking to intensely about something unrelated while driving and completely miss an exit on the freeway.

Alysha Jivani - 2/11/2013 14:13:13

(1) When Raskin uses the term “habits”, he is referring to the process of practice through which a person is able to change a set of actions from controlled processing (conscious, step-by-step effort) to automatic processing (the ability to execute the set of actions without having to think about the individual steps). Some advantages of habit formation are that it allows a person to do tasks simultaneously (like driving and singing along to music on the radio) and that it allows a person to execute complex actions more smoothly (like making a left turn while driving). On the other hand, some disadvantages of habit formation are that it can allow people to go through actions without consciously thinking about them, which can result in mistakes in novel or unexpected situations (like swapping the gas and brake pedals), and that it is very difficult to break habits. One example (that the chapter mentioned) of designing interfaces with habits in mind was the new version of the deletion confirmation. Instead of just asking a user to select “yes” to delete, it would ask them to do a novel or random typing task each time (like typing the tenth word in the prompt backwards). This requires the conscious attention of the user and forces them to break away from habit, which would ideally help prevent accidental deletions.

(2) In general, we have lots of stimuli competing for our cognitive attention, but we are only able to consciously take in some of that information. For example, trying to read while listening to a stimulus (like a TV, music with lyrics, or your friends talking) is nearly impossible to do. Either you end up reading and completely tuning everything else out or you find yourself “reading” the same sentence over and over. Some individuals are pretty good at alternating between tasks (a form of cognitive and attention control) very quickly so they may appear to be multi-tasking well, when, in actuality, they have to switch their attention very rapidly.

A very popular example that is often shown in cognitive science classes is the remake of the Simons’ video about the “Invisible Gorilla”: (This one features a moonwalking bear instead). Essentially, our prefrontal cortex controls where our attention is focused (selective attention) and thus, since we are determined to count the number of passes made, we miss the stimulus of the moonwalking bear.

Brian Wong - 2/11/2013 14:17:42

1. When Raskin discusses habits he is talking about a sequence of actions which, after having been performed similarly over a great amount of time, now become a near unconscious thought process to execute. Essentially, the performance of these sequence of actions has become automatic, and without deliberate thought given to them. The main advantage of habit formation is that it can make processes faster (example from text: being able to drive without thinking about how to drive). A disadvantage of habit formation, however, is that it is near impossible to not execute them at times, even when you do not intend to. The example from text, here, is driving to work on a Saturday, when you realize that you actually have no work that day. Designing with habits in mind is important because, as Raskin mentions, vital decisions, even if given thought, may have the wrong outcome because of a poorly developed habit (such as always pressing 'Y' for yes after a dialog box pops up). There was a 'delete account' action on a website that I was on where, after pressing the 'delete account' button once, you are presented with the usual 'Are you sure?' dialogue, but with the Yes and No buttons switched so that the location of where the 'delete account' button was before now had the 'No' button instead of the 'Yes' button, which was on the opposite side of the screen.

2. Wearing headphones, I get onto BART. I'm just singing along to my favorite music and eventually get too caught up in the 'task' of listening. I find myself at the end of the line, and have to choose to either wait, or a take a bus five stops back because I went five stops too far.

Nadine Salter - 2/11/2013 14:20:31

(1) Confirmation dialogue boxes are a good example of habit formation: if, in order for you to delete a file, you are prompted to click "Yes", you will eventually habitually always click the confirmation button — your "delete this" process will automatically include confirming your action. This breaks down the odd time when you *don't* want to delete a file, but are unable to stop yourself from confirming your action in time. One solution to this, presented in the reading, is to require cognitive attention, e.g., ask the user to type a random word in the confirmation text backwards, so habits cannot be formed. On the flip side, habituation can be convenient: forming habits after doing something complicated regularly means one doesn't have to consciously think about every step every time.

(2) A popular example of absorption around Soda Hall is video gaming: someone in the CSUA office playing a game while waiting for class might be so absorbed in what's on their screen that they don't notice things in the environment that don't demand attention (like, say, a clock quietly chiming the hour) and miss important information (like, say, "you should go to class!").

Weishu Xu - 2/11/2013 14:20:48

1) By habits, Raskin refers to the fact that individuals build associations between events and actions based on repeating actions. Some advantages of habit formation include being able to navigate through processes very quickly based on mental or muscle memory, but disadvantages could include struggling to deal with unexpected situations. For example, if there is a change in the process, the user may find it difficult to adjust to the new method because of their existing habit. From my own experience, having been a Windows user all my life, I have naturally picked up many shortcut keys (i.e. ctrl+alt+del). After switching to an Apple computer, I repeatedly continue to press control instead of command, resulting in my sometimes being surprised that the process is not working.

2) When I am wholly focused mentally on solving a problem like while programming, I tend to lose track of time and pay less attention to others who may be trying to communicate with me. While I am not always fully focused on a task, when I am completely absorbed in something, I either do not pay attention or purposely neglect outside stimulus, sometimes forgetting to eat even though I have been hungry or sleep when it is late into the night.

Arivnd Ramesh - 2/11/2013 14:22:12

1.When Raskin talks about habits, he is talking about how the human mind, when faced with repetitive tasks, has a tendency to make these tasks "automatic". By automatic he means that when a sequence a tasks is done over and over, completing the first of these tasks will unconsciously lead the user to complete the second, and then the third, until the "clump" of actions is complete, or the user brings his locus of attention to what he is doing. This is why habits are so hard to break: they constantly demand the user's locus of attention, or else the user will switch back to what he or she is used to doing.

One of the advantages of habit formation is that it allows people to complete simple, repetitive tasks without using the conscious part of their brain. The example that Raskin gives is reading, in that we have become so accustomed to sounding out words and comprehending their meaning that this action has been transferred to the subconscious part of the mind, and allows us to focus on other things while we read. The main disadvantage of forming habits is that they are very hard to break out of. According to Raskin, breaking a habit requires a "time-consuming training process".

An example of designing interfaces with habits in mind is in the process of file deletion. Normally a simple "are you sure" screen comes up, but this inevitable becomes part of the user's habit for file deletion. A better solution would be to allow users to undo errors they made, even after the "are you sure" screen.

2. A good example of absorption in my everyday life would come from reading on BART. There have been a couple times when I started reading a book on BART, and was so focused on reading that I forgot to listen for when my stop come. I ended up missing my stop both times, and now I try to make an active effort to stop reading every few minutes to keep track of where I am.

Eric Leung - 2/11/2013 14:23:31

Raskin is referring to commonly done things such as walking or biking or even typing. In software, habits such as the X on the top right (in Windows) to close, or in general to have the option to click some sort of X in a top corner is a habit that we have been accustomed to. For these habits, it's better to keep in mind these habits of users and design interfaces that will be in line with these expectations. The advantage is that its easy to design how to close windows and apps, but now it's so commonplace that it's hard to change this in favor of something that might be better.

Being so focused on games that miss people coming into the apartment, or hearing the water boil, etc. While some tasks are trivial and I can still absorb things from the environment (i.e. watching TV), an intense gaming session or a something engaging easily draws my attention away.

Derek Lau - 2/11/2013 14:27:12

When Raskin talks about habits, he is referring to the completion of the task without conscious thought about the details of the task; as Raskin says, any habit is a surrender of detail control. Advantages of habit formation include being able to complete daily tasks with ease and swiftness rather than considering each minute detail of the task, being able to complete tasks of a wide variety quickly since many tasks share some sort of universal interface, and being able to "multitask," where the task at hand can be done habitually while the user focuses on another task that requires more conscious thought. Disadvantages of habit formation include the formation of bad habits, which are disadvantageous because habits in general are difficult to break, and the harm caused by habits when said habit is applied to an incorrect interface. An example of designing interfaces with habits in mind is the interface of driving a car -- modules are laid out in a very functional matter, where the user can develop a habit for the feel of driving through practice.

An example of absorption from my own life is when I get "in the zone" as I code (especially if it's something that I enjoy). I become so engrossed with the task at hand that sometimes I forego food and even sleep (which is bad, I know). This was apparent in the 18-hour hackathon in which I participated, when I didn't feel drowsy through the entire 6 PM to 12 PM period. Additionally, during this time period, some students from other groups were being chatty, and so by focusing on my work at hand (and having a bit of music in my headphones), I was able to block out their conversation and distraction.

Harry Zhu - 2/11/2013 14:28:30

1) When Raskin mean's habits, it means a user getting used to an interface by using it regularly, even if it isn't an intuitive one. Some advantages of habit formation is that users can overcome a complicated interface given the learning curve isn't too high. Some disadvantages is that if you change the interface, usually the user become's confused or even frustrated if an interface breaks a user's habit. An example from my own experience is how interfaces are using three horizontal lines to indicate an options menu (chrome, facebook, and other apps). Keeping the same option design symbol is based on a certain user's habits

2) On day's when I have exams, I sometimes try to squeeze in some last minute studying on my walk to class. Because I am so focused on getting in that last minute information, I don't pay any attention to whats happening around me, only enough to know where I'm going.

Dennis Li - 2/11/2013 14:29:55

1. Raskin says that humans will automatically learn to perform certain actions and these actions will automatically be saved into our subconscience after being performed repeatedly. This is a phenomenon not easily avoided. Raskin states that the user will only not develop a habit if the task at hand is always in the "locus of attention" this means that the user must painstakingly be focusing on every single action he is actually preparing to perform. For example, if the user were reading, he would have to consciously decipher each character and then recognize it as a word. This autonomous process of habit forming,however, is not necessarily good or bad. There are obvious advantages to the user forming habits especially if designers keep the fact in mind when developing a product. Raskin actually encourages us to exploit this. He says that because the user will be developing habits the more they use the product, we should make these habits intuitive in relation to other habits we have already developed. For example, the shortcut for our application should be a commonly used shortcut for the OS we will be running the application on. By doing this, the user will be doing less and less work the longer they use the product. On the other hand, the development of habits could be a serious detriment to the user's experience. Because the user is used to performing certain "clumps" of task, these actions will become automatic. This could cause problems when dealing with permanent consequence actions. Raskin brings up the example of the delete button. When you want to delete a file you are given a "are you sure?" pop-up. Users are so used to this however that they rarely even think before they confirm that they are sure. Consequentially, users are very likely to delete things and confirm their intent without even thinking.

2. The example I am about to present, albiet a bit embarrassing, is a perfect example of only being able to focus on one task. One time when riding my bike back home, my pant leg got stuck into the chain. This sudden inconsistency to my biking progress made my focus on what had happened to my leg instead of the action of looking where I was going. This action broke my automatic performance of bike riding and consequentially falling was the next action i was focused on.

Kevin Liang - 2/11/2013 15:08:11

1) When people live their lives daily, they develop things called "habits". These habits allow people to behave in a more "quirky" manner. User interfaces should be designed so these habits don't get in the way with how the program should act. Habit information can tell you how a user behaves and so you can gear your design towards it. But habits are unique to the user so it sometimes may not be a smart idea to design based on that. For example, I have a tendency to drag and drop as a habit on the computer and so I assume that every type of input allows drag and drop, which it doesn't. This can be a pitfall but I generally have to try twice before uploading a file.

2) When I am doing cs170 homework and I am super plugged in to it, I tend to ignore questions that my friends are asking. It ends up going in one ear and out the other. I end up asking them to repeat themselves so I can focus on answering their question. I am not a great multi-tasker. This can be geared towards something like lecture. If I am plugged in on my computer while in lecture, I will often miss everything that is happening in lecture so I try not to bring my computer to class.