Quality of an Interactive System

n1041950747_53558_5249Today, I spent some time in a remote visualization tutorial presented by John Clyne of NCAR. He referenced a 2005 answer to the question “What is meant by interactive analysis?” by Mark Rast of the University of Colorado:

Definition: A system is interactive if the time between a user event and [the system’s] response to that event is short enough to maintain my full attention.

If the response time is…

1-5 seconds: I’m engaged
5-60 seconds: I’m tapping my foot
1-3 minutes: I’m reading email
>3 minutes: I’ve forgotten why I asked the question!

I liked this because it defines a quality attribute: a high-quality interactive system maintains the user’s attention.

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