I recently started the Human Computer Interaction (“HCI”) class on Coursera. I first came across this when I obsessively watched the seminar videos on Stanford’s opencourseware– and hyperventilated with excitement when I realized one of the lecturers was offering an upcoming course on Coursera. The class is very involved, with a peer grading system for each week’s project assignment, but I am excited to take it on as my first more formal instruction exposure to HCI.
Being only in the first week of class, there wasn’t too much overload of information yet– but I have already come across a few gems that I really like. They are heuristics to how to make a good design, but they are almost a bit zen-like in what they reveal about life in general. In particular, I loved:
Self-consciousness is the enemy to interestingness
A little bit of silence is golden.
The first is self-evident enough– it basically implies that a prior awareness or presumption about certain things prevents us from seeing things from a different angle and finding the creative in the mundane. The second requires slightly more explanation and is in fact more of a technique/approach to dealing with people than a general guidance. In the context of this class, it is specifically talking about an interview technique to allow people to speak up (often more honestly) when they are eager to fill the silence in the room. It made me think about my general approach in dealing with people– often, I am the one that is eager to fill up the silence– but perhaps it is time to let silence do the trick.