Cognitive Science: How user experience works
Understanding the science behind user experience.
Cognitive Science deals primarily with the decoding of human perception, attention and memory. The field emerged after World War II when early electronics and computer systems were being introduced with greater error from human operators. The academic field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) evolved as a cornerstone of Cognitive Science. HCI seeks to understand how humans interact with computers in terms of the knowledge transmitted between the two.
The following puzzle illustrates how perception is influenced by expectations, visual cues and cognitive processing. Look at the image below and say the COLOR of the word, not the word itself.
Why is it so difficult? Because the right half of your brain is trying to say the color, while the left side of your brain is trying to say the word. This is called the Stroop effect. It is a demonstration of the reaction time of a task. It illustrates how images and words are processed differently (images go first, words next). Combining the two into a recognizable and intuitive set (eg icons with text) can make interfaces more easily understood. Understanding how a users brain works, will help you improve the user experience!