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Masaaki Kurosu is a professor of the R&D Department of National Institute of Multimedia Education (NIME) of MEXT, the ministry of education. He is also a head of Department of Cyber Culture and Society of the Graduate University for Advanced Studies (SOKENDAI). Before coming to NIME and SOKENDAI on September of 2001, he was a professor at the Faculty of Information of Shizuoka University from April of 1994 where he taught the HCI and the usability engineering. Until then, he was working for Hitachi Ltd. at the Design Center from 1988 to 1994 and at the Central Research Laboratory from 1978 to 1988.
He studied the experimental psychology and the psychological measurement at the Ph.D. course and the master course of graduate school of Waseda University. He graduated Waseda University in 1971.
He developed sHEM (structured Hueristic Evaluation Method), DTM (Dual Task Model), NEM (Novice-Expert ratio Method), and other usability evaluation methods, and now he is interested in the research method for the context of use and is engaged in the development of MSM (Micro Scenario Method). He was also engaged in the methodological development of interaction design, the LISP programming system, and the Japanese word processor.
He is now a president of NPO HCD-Net that promotes the human-centered design or the usability engineering in Japan.
He is an (co-)author of 27 books, wrote more than 30 articles and gave conference presentations of more than 200. He is a member of ACM SIGCHI, SIGDOC, UPA, HFES, IEEE Computer Society, APS, IPSJ, HIS, JES, JSD, JPA, and JCSS.
He served as a conference chair for APCHI'98 and INTERACT'01. He is a member of TC159/SC4/WG6 and IFIP/TC13, and is a board member of IWIPS.
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Hashizume, Ayako, Kurosu, Masaaki, Kaneko, Takao (2008): The Choice of Communication Media and the Use of Mobile Phone among Senior Users and Young. In: Lee, Seongil, Choo, Hyunseung, Ha, Sungdo, Shin, In Chul (eds.) Computer-Human Interaction 8th Asia-Pacific Conference - APCHI 2008 July 6-9, 2008, Seoul, Korea. pp. 427-436. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-70585-7_49
Kurosu, Masaaki, Morishita, Masako (2007): Cultural Environment for Social Learning and Adaptation in Different Countries - A Compari. In: Aykin, Nuray M. (eds.) UI-HCII 2007 - Second International Conference on Usability and Internationalization - Part II July 22-27, 2007, Beijing, China. pp. 133-139. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-73289-1_17
Lin, Haifu, Kurosu, Masaaki, Takahashi, Hideaki, Kato, Hiroshi, Toya, Takeshi (2007): Verification of Development of Scenarios Method and Visual Formats for Design Process. In: Jacko, Julie A. (eds.) HCI International 2007 - 12th International Conference - Part IV , 2007, . pp. 1095-1101. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-73111-5_120
Hashizume, Ayako, Kurosu, Masaaki, Kaneko, Takao (2007): Multi-window System and the Working Memory. In: Harris, Don (eds.) EPCE 2007 - Engineering Psychology and Cognitive Ergonomics - 7th International Conference, July 22-27, 2007, Beijing, China. pp. 297-305. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-73331-7_32
Kurosu, Masaaki, Go, Kentaro, Hirasawa, Naoki, Kasai, Hideaki (2007): Micro-Scenario Database for Substantializing the Collaboration Between Human Science and E. In: Jacko, Julie A. (eds.) HCI International 2007 - 12th International Conference - Part I July 22-27, 2007, Beijing, China. pp. 140-145. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-73105-4_16
Ando, Masaya, Kurosu, Masaaki (2007): Long Term Usability; Its Concept and Research Approach - The Origin of the Positive Feelin. In: Jacko, Julie A. (eds.) HCI International 2007 - 12th International Conference - Part I July 22-27, 2007, Beijing, China. pp. 393-396. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-73105-4_43
Daimoto, Hiroshi, Takahashi, Tsutomu, Fujimoto, Kiyoshi, Takahashi, Hideaki, Kurosu, Masaaki, Yagi, Akihiro (2007): Effects of a Dual-Task Tracking on Eye Fixation Related Potentials (EFRP). In: Jacko, Julie A. (eds.) HCI International 2007 - 12th International Conference - Part III , 2007, . pp. 599-604. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-73110-8_65
Daimoto, Hiroshi, Araki, Sachiyo, Mizuno, Masamitsu, Kurosu, Masaaki (2007): Application of Micro-Scenario Method (MSM) to User Research for the Motorcycle\'s Informat. In: Jacko, Julie A. (eds.) HCI International 2007 - 12th International Conference - Part I July 22-27, 2007, Beijing, China. pp. 49-57. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-73105-4_6
Kurosu, Masaaki (2007): Concept of Usability Revisited. In: Jacko, Julie A. (eds.) HCI International 2007 - 12th International Conference - Part I July 22-27, 2007, Beijing, China. pp. 579-586. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-73105-4_64
Itoh, Yasuhisa, Hirose, Yoko, Takahashi, Hideaki, Kurosu, Masaaki (2007): A New User-Centered Design Process for Creating New Value and Future. In: Jacko, Julie A. (eds.) HCI International 2007 - 12th International Conference - Part I July 22-27, 2007, Beijing, China. pp. 108-116. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-73105-4_12
Kurosu, Masaaki, Kobayashi, Tadashi, Yoshitake, Ryoji, Takahashi, Hideaki, Urokohara, Haruhiko, Sato, Daisuke (2004): Trends in Usability Research and Activities in Japan. In International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 17 (1) pp. 103-124. http://www.leaonline.com/doi/abs/10.1207/s15327590ijhc1701_8
Kurosu, Masaaki, Sugizaki, Masamori, Matsuura, Sachiyo (1999): A Comparative Study of sHEM (structured heuristic evaluation method). In: Bullinger, Hans-Jorg (eds.) HCI International 1999 - Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction August 22-26, 1999, Munich, Germany. pp. 938-942.
Kurosu, Masaaki (1997): Dilemma of Usability Engineering. In: Smith, Michael J., Salvendy, Gavriel, Koubek, Richard J. (eds.) HCI International 1997 - Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction - Volume 2 August 24-29, 1997, San Francisco, California, USA. pp. 555-558.
Kurosu, Masaaki, Yamadera, Hitoshi, Mimura, Itaru (1995): The Role of Screen Parameters in Visual Communication. In: Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction July 9-14, 1995, Tokyo, Japan. pp. 167-172.
Kurosu, Masaaki, Kashimura, Kaori (1995): Apparent usability vs. inherent usability: experimental analysis on the determinants of th. In: CHI 95 Conference Companion 1995 , 1995, . pp. 292-293. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/223355.223680
Kurosu, Masaaki (1993): The Technical Committee for Human Interface (SICE-Japan) -- An Introduction. In ACM SIGCHI Bulletin, 25 (4) pp. 13-14.
Kurosu, Masaaki (2013): Human-Computer Interaction. Interaction Modalities and Techniques,
19.12 Commentary by Masaaki Kurosu
19.12.1 Aesthetics and Beauty
First, I would like to use the word "beauty" instead of "aesthetics" unlike Tractinsky for the reason that the former is a quality characteristics of the object while the latter is a philosophical consideration on the beauty. And the latter is rooted in Western culture since Greek era (more specifically since Bavmgarten in 1750) and is thus specific to Western culture, while the concept of beauty is universal although its connotation and denotation varies so much depending on time and culture.
In Japan, for example, craftsman who made unglazed earthenware and drew patterns on its surface in ancient times must have some intension for the beauty and, possibly, for some religious significance.
The conceptualization of beauty in Japan was influenced by China at the time of import of Chinese characters at 5-6th century. As is shown in Figure 19.1, the Chinese character meaning the beauty consists of the image of a sheep and a man, thus is describing some religious and ritual meaning. After obtaining the Chinese character, the concept of beauty could have been externalized in Japan and since then many beautiful Japanese arts and crafts have been made though not having the philosophical consideration on the nature of beautifulness but with the intension for the beauty.
In 1875, early in Meiji era when Japan stopped her national isolation and started to mass-import Western culture, Nishi translated the concept of "Aesthetica" of Bavmgarten and used the term "美學" that is still used now for translating the word "aesthetics". It was the starting point of aesthetics in Japan. In other words, Japanese had a concept of beauty for quite a long time but the concept of aesthetics for only 150 years.
19.12.2 Beauty and Art
In 1881, Fiedler, the originator of "Kunstwissenschaft", made the science of art to be separated from the aesthetics and regarded the substance of art independent from the beauty. There are so many examples of work of art that are not "beautiful" including "Les Masques et La Mort" by Ensor (1897), "Fountain" by Duchamp (1917), "Die Frauen der Revolution" by Kiefer (1987), etc.
In between the art and design, there is another example of advertisement by Benetton as shown in Figure 19.3.
Of course, there are many art works today that are beautiful, but it is also true that there exist other artists who want to present their work so that viewers will consider such serious themes as the meaning of life, the relationship between people and object, the peace and war, the human rights, etc.
19.12.3 Beauty and Design
Designing is a universal human activity that can be found anytime and anywhere. The key point that the design is different from the art is that there is a user for the design. In most cases, users are other people than designers and designed products will be merchandised. As a result, designers make efforts to let their output be attractive to users. And one of the key elements of this attractiveness is the beauty.
Judgment on the designed product is not much complex compared to the judgment on the work of art maybe because it is related more to the perceptual process than to the conceptual process, especially in terms of the beauty. Hence, as Tractinsky pointed out, the law of symmetry, the law of simplicity, the law of grid design, etc. can be applied and be perceived to increase the degree of beauty of designed product.
But a simple application of such laws of designing can generate difficult-to-use products as shown in Figure 19.4 and Figure 19.5.
In Figure 19.4, the UI layout of the laptop is shown where the touch pad is placed at the center of the body by applying the law of symmetry. The designer, thus, neglected the touch typing usability. As is well known, the touch typing for the fast text input requires four fingers of each hand to be placed on the home positions; "asdf" for the left hand and "jkl;" for the right hand. But if you try to place your hand on this keyboard, you will find that the palm of the right hand will be placed on the touch pad and unintended cursor movement will occur (lower left picture). And if you try to avoid unexpected touching to the pad, you will have to put your hands in an awkward manner (lower right picture). If the designer follows the law of usability (in general), the location of the touch pad should be displaced a bit to the left.
In Figure 19.5, a calculator is shown that looks beautiful regarding the color design. But as you can see in the lower right picture, the assignment of numbers and symbols are quite difficult to see because of the low contrast between the figure and the ground. For the designer, I guess, numbers and symbols with high contrast to the background were just the visual noise. Thus s/he might have violated the law of usability (in general).
19.12.4 Beauty, Quality Characteristics and Meaning in Design
As was pointed out by Tractinsky, the visual judgment on beauty is very fast, thus plays an important role in drawing the attention of customers. And the visual beauty is dominated by rather simple and traditional rules. But too much emphasis on the beauty will lead to a difficult-to-use designs as was discussed in the previous section. Hence the usability or the pragmatic aspects is important at the same level as the pleasure or the hedonic attributes as Jordan (1999) and Hassenzahl (2003) pointed out.
Designers and marketing people have a tendency to put more emphasis on the attractiveness of the product, thus tend to focus on the beauty, pleasure and hedonic aspects. But it is only a one-sided approach. We should remember that the consumer will become the user after the purchase of the product and will start using it. Unlike designers and marketing people, usability professionals, ergonomics specialists and engineers tend to put a bit too much emphasis on the phase of the user and focus on the usability and functionality. Although this is another type of approach, two types of stakeholders will have to cooperate in a well-balanced manner based on the understanding of the result of Kurosu and Kashimura (1995) that the apparent usability will not cover the inherent usability.
Figure 19.6 summarizes this discussion in terms of the cooperative design between two disciplined stakeholders. Furthermore, this table shows the importance of the meaningfulness as was proposed by Kurosu (2012) in addition to the subjective quality characteristics (beauty, pleasure or hedonic attributes) and the objective quality characteristics (usability, functionality, performance, reliability, safety, maintenability, etc.)
The meaningfulness in the third row of this table means to design what people really needs. A typical example appeared in the Japanese market recently: a television set equipped with the ionized air emitting function that will allow users to watch the program in a good physical environment was released. Is this what people needed? Should these functions be united together?
Even if a product is attractively designed and have an acceptable level of objective quality, that product will be useless if it doesn't have a meaning. This is the reason why Kurosu added the meaningfulness to the subjective quality and the objective quality.
It should be admitted that the beauty as one of the key subjective quality characteristics is quite important. But taking a good balance among these three dimensions should not be forgotten.
- Bavmgarten, A.G. (1750) "Aesthetica"
- Fiedler, K.A. (1881) "Moderner Naturalismus und künstlerische Wahrheit"
- Hassenzahl, M. (2003) "The Thing and I: Understanding the Relationship Between User and Product" in Blythe, M., Overbeeke, C., Monk, A.F., and Wright, P.C. (eds.) "Funology: From Usability to Enjoyment" Kluwer, pp.31-42
- Jordan, P.W. (1999) "Pleasure with Products: Human Factors for Body, Mind and Soul" in Green, W.S. and Jordan, P.W. (eds.) "Human Factors in Product Design" Taylor & Francis
- Kurosu, M. (2012). Three Dimensions of Artifact Design — Meaningfulness, QualityTraits and Kansei (in Japanese). Human Interface Symposium 2012
- Kurosu, M. and Kashimura, K. (1995): Apparent usability vs. inherent usability: experimental analysis on the determinants of the apparent usability. In: CHI 95 Conference Companion 1995 1995. pp. 292-293
- Nishi, A. (1875) "" (in Japanese)
- Tractinsky, N. (1997): Aesthetics and apparent usability: empirically assessing cultural and methodological issues. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems 1997. pp. 115-122