CS 105 – User Interface Design

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Transcript CS 105 – User Interface Design

What is a User Interface?

 Everything in a device with which a human being interacts.

 The total “user experience”  Not necessarily tied to computers – Doors – Thermostat – VCR

User Interface Examples

 Your car – Pedals, steering wheel, gearshift…  Altair (from videos) – Knobs, switches, blinking lights…  Microsoft Windows – http://americanhistory.si.edu/csr/comphist/objects/altair.htm

Mouse, keyboard, Start button…

Computer User Interfaces

  Webopedia.com*: “An interface is a set of commands or menus through which a user communicates with a program. A command-driven interface is one in which you enter commands. A menu-driven interface is one in which you select command choices from various menus displayed on the screen.” From www.webopedia.com

, part of internet.com Corp., copyright 2001.

Advantages of Good User Interface Design

 Ease of use  Visually appealing  Shorter learning curve  $$$ – Designer sells more products – User is more efficient / productive

8 Golden Principles*

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Strive for Consistency Include shortcuts Offer informative feedback Design dialogs to yield closure From Schneiderman, Ben, Designing the User Interface, Addison-Wesley, 1998.

8 Golden Principles

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Offer error prevention and simple error handling Permit easy reversal of actions Keep user in control Reduce short-term memory load

User Interface Exercise

 In groups of 4 – 5: – Pick one of the following applications  Word, Mozilla, Excel – Give 2 good and 2 bad characteristics of its user interface – Do any other principles of good user interface design come to mind?

Applications vs. Web

 Previous slides focused on applications  Assumed that principles held for Web pages, too – so most Web pages designed with them in mind.

 Spool, et. al. showed that this might not be the best way…

Applications vs. Web

 Applications are tools – Ease-of-use means the tool is easy to manipulate – easy to get it to do what you want.

 Web pages are information sources – Ease-of-use means easy to find the information you are looking for  However, rules derived from print layout may not be useful either

‘Usable’ Web Pages

 Some good characteristics: – Descriptive Links – Minimize Animation – Readability vs. Scanability  Information retrieval vs. Surfing