uxzentrisch erörtert:
Tappers and Listeners & The Curse of Knowledge

Ein Auszug aus dem Buch »Made to Stick«:

In 1990, Elizabeth Newton earned a Ph.D. in psychology at Stanford by studying a simple game in which she assigned people to one of two roles: »tappers« or »listeners.« Tappers received a list of twenty-five well-known songs, such as »Happy Birthday to You« and »The Star-Spangled Banner« (die US-Nationalhymne). Each tapper was asked to pick a song and tap out the rhythm to a listener (by knocking on a table). The listener’s job was to guess the song, based on the rhythm being tapped.

The listener’s job in this game is quite difficult. Over the course of Newton’s experiment, 120 songs were tapped out. Listeners guessed only 2.5 percent of the songs: 3 out of 120. But her’s what made the result worthy of a dissertation in psychology. Before the listeners guessed the name of the song, Newton asked the tappers to predict the odds that the listeners would guess correctly. They predicted that the odds were 50 percent. The tappers got their messsage across 1 time in 40, but they thought they were getting their message accross 1 time in 2. Why?

When a tapper taps, she is hearing the song in her head. Go ahead and try it for youself—tab out »The Star-Spangled Banner« (anhören bei Wikipedia). It’s impossible to avaoid hearing the tune in your head. Meanwhile, the listeners can’t hear that tune—all they can hear is a bunch of disconnected taps, like a kind of bizzare Morse Code. In the experiment, tappers are flabbergasted at how hard the listeners seem to be working to pick up the tune. Isn’t the song obvious? The tappers’ expressions, when a listener guesses »Happy Birthday to You« for »The Star-Sprangled Banner,« are priceless: How could you be so stupid?

It’s hard to be a tapper. The problem is, that tappers have been given knowledge (the song title) that makes it impossible for them to image what it’s like to lack that knowledge. When their‹re tapping, they can’t imagine what it’s like for the listeners to hear isolated taps rather than a song. This is the Curse of Knowledge. Once we know something, we find it hard to imagine what it was like not to know it. Our knowledge has »cursed« us. And it becomes difficult for us to share our knowledge with others, because we can’t readily re-create our listeners’ state of mind.

Buch Cover Made To Stick Dieser Abschnitt stammt aus dem Einführungskapitel von "Made to Stick, Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die«, von Chip und Dan Heath (Seite 19 im Buch* und in den Exerpts auf der Buch-Website). Die Autoren nutzen die Beschreibung dieses Experiments, um ihren Lesern bewusst zu machen, dass es viel Übung braucht, Ideen so zu formulieren, dass sie hängen bleiben. Der Grund dafür, so Chip und Dan, ist unter anderem, »The Curse of Knowledge« — Genau das oben so anschaulich beschriebene Phänomen.

Der UX-Bezug: Unabhängig von Made to Stick eignet sich dieses Beispiel hervorragend, um sich noch einmal bewusst zu machen, welche Schwierigkeiten die Nutzer unserer Konzepte haben können, und wie schnell wir Gefahr laufen, das Mindset des Nutzers zu verlieren und aus einer Experten-Brille heraus zu sehen. Ebenso kann uns diese Geschichte helfen, vor unserem Kunden gegen zu komplexe Konzept-Anforderungen zu argumentieren. Und wenn das nicht hilft, müssen wir halt selbst einmal vor-klopfen — schließlich tun wir in Usability-Tests nichts anderes, als ein Lied zu klopfen, das wir selbst kennen und unseren Probanden verständlich machen möchten :-).

* Der Amazon-Link ist ein Partner-Link des »Green Any Site«-Projektes, das die Partner-Umsätze für ökologische Projekte spendet.

1 Kommentar

Trackbacks und Pingbacks