The Media Equation: How People Treat Computers, Television, and New Media like Real People and Places (CSLI Lecture Notes S) (英語) ペーパーバック – 1998/5/13
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According to popular wisdom, humans never relate to a computer or a television program in the same way they relate to another human being. Or do they? The psychological and sociological complexities of the relationship could be greater than you think. In an extraordinary revision of received wisdom, Byron Reeves and Clifford Nass demonstrate convincingly in The Media Equation that interactions with computers, television, and new communication technologies are identical to real social relationships and to the navigation of real physical spaces. Using everyday language, the authors explain their novel ideas in a way that will engage general readers with an interest in cutting-edge research at the intersection of psychology, communication and computer technology. The result is an accessible summary of exciting ideas for modern times. As Bill Gates says, '(they) … have shown us some amazing things'.
"The best book on this topic..." Speech Technology
The media equation is a good enough predictor of user behavior, at least for telephone-based spoken dialog systems of the form my company builds, that it has informed our designs from top to bottom. Our applications apologize if they make a mistake. Callers respond well to this. Sure, the callers know they're talking to a machine, but this doesn't stop them from saying "thank you" when it's done or "please" before a query or feeling bad (or angry) if the computer can't understand them. Another strategy recommended by Nass and Reeves that we follow is trying to draw the caller in to work as a team with the computer; again, Nass and Reeves support this with several clever experiments. There is also a useful section on flattery, looking at the result of the computer flattering itself and its users; it turns out that we rate computers that flatter themselves more highly than ones that are neutral.
Among other interesting explanations you get in this book are why we're more tolerant of bad pictures than bad sound, why we focus on moving objects, speaking rate equilibrium, what we can do to make someone remember an event in a video, and the role of gender.
This book is very quick and easy to read. I read it in two days while on vacation it was so fascinating. In contrast to the classical yet dry social science format of hypothesis, experimental methodology, results, and essentially a summary of the results as a conclusion, Nass and Reeves only vaguely summarize their experimental methodology and take a no-holds-barred approach to drawing conclusions. This may annoy social scientists, most of whom expect their own kind to be far more circumspect.
This book is an absolute must-read for anyone designing mediated interfaces. For those who don't believe the results, I'd suggest running some experiments; our company did, and it made us believers.
In fact, this book is far from it. Well, as far from it as social science can get. In fact, is the most "scientific" of the user interface books I have read.
The main point I took away from the book is that people interact with objects, especially interactive and media devices, as if they were people. They demonstrate that when user interfaces are designed to be polite and interact in a positive social manner, the person has a much more enjoyable and profitable interaction.
Other books on the topic of user interface design are far less scientific, relying on generalizations and suppositions rather than constructing a study. Some use data from a usability evaluation, but these are often far from scientific.
The authors construct hypotheses, usually based on the results of studies of interaction between humans, and see if the results of the results hold true for human-machine interaction.
Usually, it does.