Reflective Journaling Week 3

Burdening the memory was a concept that I had not spent much time thinking of in the context of software design before. I found it very relatable; more so than ever I struggle to recall the ever-increasing amount of passwords and user logins that different sites and services require. The examples provided in our readings sympathize with these experiences, especially when considering security. It seems like a problem with no easy solution; we need our logins to be secure, but our passwords end up becoming complex and difficult to remember. Many times one of two things happen that go against the primary goal of the security. Either the user writes down sensitive data to remember it, compromising security, or they forget their information and lock themselves out.

Again concerning memory, consistency in user interfaces is something that I struggled with personally this week. As a long time user of Adobe Creative Suite, I still struggle to perform simple functions across different applications within the suite. Moving between Photoshop and Fireworks for example, familiar commands have different functions. Command + D will duplicate a selection in Fireworks, while deselects a selection in Photoshop. I usually end up performing the wrong function, which frustratingly introduces more steps to my process. The universal Undo function similarly has variations across the suite. Adobe could have done a better job with UI consistency in these cases, sparing the user of having to commit more shortcuts to memory, and also remembering which shortcuts are for which applications.

These examples and experiences reinforce the importance of memory in design, and ways in which the burden on a user’s memory can be addressed.

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