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TCUID_TextJournal - Task-Centered User Interface Design...

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Task-Centered User Interface Design Clayton Louis John Rieman I. Task-Centered Design Process a. Steps: i. Figure out who’s going to use the system to do what : “if you build an otherwise great system that doesn’t do what’s needed, it will probably be a failure… requires close personal contact between members of the design team and the people who will actually be using the system.” ii. Choose representative tasks for task-centered design: “should be tasks that users have actually described to the designers... Producing an effective set of tasks will be a real test of the designer’s understanding of the users and their work.” iii. Plagiarize : “should find existing interfaces that work for users and then build ideas from those interfaces into your systems as much as practically and legally possible.” iv. Rough out a design : “The rough description of the design should be put on paper, which forces you to think about things… At this stage, a design team will be having a lot of discussion about what features the system should include and how they should be presented to the user.” v. Think about it : “the costs of building a complete user interface and testing it with enough users to reveal all its major problems are unacceptably high… there are several structured approaches you can take to discover the strengths and weakness of an interface before building it… [1] count keystrokes and mental operations (decisions) for the tasks the design is intended to support” or “[2] a technique called the cognitive walkthrough to spot places in the design where users might make mistakes.” vi. create a mock-up or prototype : “acts as a more detailed description for future work… The mock-up may even reveal hidden misunderstandings among members of the design team… The entire design doesn’t need to be implemented at this stage. Initial efforts should concentrate on parts of the interface needed for the representative tasks.” vii. test it with users : “The testing should be done with people whose background knowledge and expectations approximate those of the system’s real users.” User should also “think-aloud” so designers can better understand the errors the users make. viii. Iterate : “One thing to keep in mind during each iteration is that the features of an interface don’t stand alone… If you’ve defined specific usability objectives then iteration should be stopped when they are met.”
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ix. Build it: “The key guideline in building the interface is to build it for change.” Anticipate large and small changes that can be changed; “If a later revision of the design requires that your specialized menu be replaced by some more generic function, the code changes should be trivial.” x. Track it : designers should not be a special group isolated from the rest of the system development effort,” they need contact with users before and after system’s release.
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TCUID_TextJournal - Task-Centered User Interface Design...

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