I’m very excited to be participating in the Mozilla Education JetPack/AddOn Design Challenge as an instructor in Phase 2 of the challenge. Thankfully, we’ve got Brian King along for technical heavy lifting on the code side. I’ll be focused on helping challenge participants create positive user experiences for learning.
All of the basic rules of HCI apply: keep the user informed, match between system and real world, recognition not recall, speak the users language, provide shortcuts, etc. Then we get a whole slew of new concerns around facilitating learning.
I see great opportunities for browser addons to aid sense-making in the early stages of learning a space as well as in elaboration and chunking. Chunking is how humans get beyond the limits of short term memory (the common 7 plus or minus 2 rule) to create richer mental representations.
Even more so, learning ehancements could facilitate connections between people with shared learning objectives, enable novice-expert interactions, and create other social opportunities abound beyond the more obvious rehearsal tools (e.g. flashcards) and ease of information access utilities. Getting the right information at the right time is critically important for the integration of new knowledge into existing understanding.
The focus of the design challenge is on JetPacks but full firefox extensions can also be entered. While add-ons have a huge range of user interface options, the JetPack solution set of UI is more constrained. This should be a nice sandbox for UI patterns. I’ll be teaching a couple classes along the way to a finalist workshop preceding SXSW Interactive.
I’ve got one consumer ready JetPack out there for rotating tabs for a display kiosk but look forward to crafting many more! I’m even dabbling with a multi-touch enabled Firefox on a HP tx2 tablet w/ Windows 7.
Check out the official challenge website for more info. You’ve only got a month to make your submissions. I’ll see the winners in Austin right before SXSWi.