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Module 3 Assignment: Compare information management tools

Posted on August 11, 2020

Human-Computer Interaction for User Experience Design

Question 1

Consider the advantages of new developments in online discussion tools, such as NB and Wikum, that you learned about in this module. Write a paragraph of no more than 300 words in which you evaluate the usefulness of tools like NB and Wikum, in comparison with the usefulness of existing online discussion tools.


NB and Wikum conceptually bring two new features of value to online discussion tools: the in-context commenting in NB, and the summarization possibility in Wikum. However, there are a few points that those tools do not take into account.

First, they do not seem to be mobile-enabled. Students tend to be using their mobile more, and many statistics show that owning a desktop computer is on the decline. Creating a new tool now should ensure to support mobile platforms.

Second, people already use so many different and incompatible tools, it would be nice if this would work as an add-on to an existing tool—e.g. to Adobe Acrobat Reader, or to web browsers—rather than expecting people to use an additional and separate tool.

Contemporary tools also have a slick interface, whereas NB still uses what feels like a Windows 97 dense and grey layout. Sometimes, no matter how useful a tool can be, an outdated UI can play against it. Investing in a reskin or redesign of the application feels like a good step.

Neither of the two features I mentioned at first—the in-context commenting of NB and the summarization possibility in Wikum—would be sufficient to convince users to use these tools. For example, the discussion capabilities of the Google Suite feel more intuitive and fluid.

Finally, how do these discussion tools handle other media, such as audio, video, images, interactive content, etc.? Not all discussions are or should be limited to texts. Not all texts are available in machine-legible PDF formats—think of scanned books or articles, handwritten notes, etc.

These tools uncovered great points of friction for existing tools and bring good ideas to the table. They could, however, explore how to integrate more into existing tools or expand to more than a single medium.

Question 2

Consider the advantages of the new developments in end-user programming by comparing existing end-user programming tools with Mavo, the new tool that you learned about in this module.

Write a paragraph of no more than 200 words in which you compare an existing information management tool of your choice with Mavo.


Mavo seems to be trying to compete with front-end JavaScript frameworks, like React, Angular, or Vue. Creating such a framework is a huge undertaking to ensure that it covers all the possible corner cases—browser support, performance, accessibility, security—and is actually a task for developers, more than it is meant for designers. Also, the frameworks mentioned have a lot more contributors, making them quicker to adapt to the needs of developers.

A designer of interactions should instead look at something like Axure to describe, design, and demonstrate the expected behaviour. This software allows to quickly prototype interactions and mock data. Then, developers could choose the appropriate framework and databases that serve the need and scalability of the project.

Working with a framework like Mavo produces a hybrid prototype which is very idiosyncratic. While it embraces some of the initial ideas of the web, it would be hard to maintain at a production level, since this is not a widespread pattern or framework. It serves neither the experience designer—who should not waste time developing production code—nor the development teams—who cannot reuse prototype code.

Learning Outcomes

– LO5: Compare NB, Wikum, and Mavo to traditional information management tools.

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