Some interesting words from Dr. Drang about how critical a properly implemented feedback loop is for human computer interaction. Just days after I lauded Apple for being quite savvy about this whole human-computer interaction thing, he presents a case where they fall short. Rightly so.
I don’t use Fantastical, the tool that he discusses, but I do endorse his comments about usability through instant, incremental feedback.
[The animations are] not just eye candy. The animations are providing instant feedback on how Fantastical is parsing your words and, more important, they’re teaching you Fantastical’s syntax. This is tremendously useful because, despite the wonderful flexibility of NLP, there’s always a syntax and you need to learn it if you’re going to use the product. This lack of instant, incremental feedback is what makes Siri impenetrable to some people; you have to give Siri an entire command and wait to see how she interprets it.
Incidentally, instant incremental feedback is ever present as a repair strategy in human-human interaction. A puzzled expression on a face of your audience prompts you to rephrase what you just said, for example. These sort of natural interactions are what artificially designed interfaces need to imitate in order to make interacting with them feel natural, too. Read the post on All This to see feedback discussed in the context of an actual product.
what's really great about Fantastical