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Layers of Mastery

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2011-07-06, Dept. of Computer Science, University of Hamburg

Layers of Mastery

This is the second of three short talks that I've held for the Interaction Design course.

In this talk, I presented the Layers of Mastery framework by Daniel Cook, starting with a thought experiment on what might have happened if there had been any product designers a million years ago. I then doubted the suitability of user testing as an indicator for the optimal level of complexity of a software application and postulated that a lot of very successful (especially in the long term) software, like Microsoft Excl or Adobe Photoshop, does not cater solely to beginners, but also offers the complex functionality needed by advanced and expert users. I introduced the Layers of Mastery as an explanation for this phenomenon and explained them in detail. The talk culminated with a perspective that it is not beginner friendliness that makes a tool capable of greatness, but flexibility and utility.

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