A common challenge to research is the lack of opportunity to make a broad and direct impact on technologies used by real users. I was fortunate to work with (and lead) a team of engineers from IBM and IBM vendors (and their vendors) to bring the ScrollPoint mouse from research to market (received a CES award and millions of users). In addition to the central function, every “peripheral” factors can also make or break a product, including cost, design (both deep and surface), packaging and install, and retrofitting its software to operating systems that are not designed to support new user interfaces. HCI researchers and practitioners with broad skills are uniquely suited to drive a user experience centered system engineering process in product development. For example, in order to balance between cost and quality, a deep user experience and human performance understanding can be applied to decisions on sensor quality, processor speed, A/D conversion resolution, and the shape and form appeal of a mouse. I hope one day to find the time to write “The tale of a mouse”.
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