An Interaction Error Chart is a simple representation of a single undesired event occurring during a user's interaction with a product.
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An interaction error happens when a product cannot accommodate a user's need. The error may arise from a lack of functionality, a lack of affordance for the particular user, a lack of general usability, or a lack of appropriate feedback to complete the interaction. Interaction errors happen only at the interfaces between interacting systems; for our purposes, we can further restrict them to only those errors when a human and a “machine” interact (per the HMIL).
We represent each interaction error with a simple chart. These Interaction Error Charts (IECs) are only meaningful with respect to appropriately defined personas, a SUC, and a specific step in a usage scenario.
An IEC is a simple two-column chart that models a single undesired event occurring during an interaction between users and a product in a given SUC. This implies the following process:
Besides specifying the US step, the SUC, and the specific interaction error, three other aspects must be described.
A sample IEC is shown in Table 1.
Number IECs sequentially from 1. This lets you easily refer to them in subsequent text by ID (e.g.,
IECs are failures of interactions, not failures of product function. However, interaction failures often occur as a result of a failure of product function.
Expected deliverables include:
This could lead to an enormous number of IECs. For instance, if you have five USs, each with three SUCs, and that each US has ten steps or errors, you would likely have a minimum of 150 IECs.
While in “real life” design situations you would very likely be expected to described them all, this is not possible under the constraints of a typical academic course.
You are therefore expected to find a representative subset of IECs that capture the breadth of the range of IECs and also represents the typical and also most significant interaction errors.