Keytips_UCD - Key Tips for User-Centered Design published...

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— published in The X Journal, November/December, 1995 Human Factors International 1–800–242–4480 US/Canada 1–641–472–4480 +44 (0)20 7170 4164 Europe +91 (22) 2570 8465 Asia [email protected] Eric Schaffer, Ph.D., CPE. and John Sorflaten, Ph.D., CPE We interact with many developers when researching and designing GUI standards. Some of the recurring problems we find can be solved with knowledge of a few expert tips. The following design tips come from our 2-hour video course introduction to GUI design: “How to Design Usable GUIs for Corporate Applications.” For information on the course call 1-800-242-4480. Windows Use a structure that controls window Anticipate user needs. Size and position windows to be useful thrashing and window pile-up. immediately when opened. Use a UI architecture that avoids the need for window thrashing (E.g., folders, notebook, and context switch). It costs users time to activate, resize, reposition and orient to the new window. (See our GUI design column in this issue.) Try to reserve pop-up windows for A pop-up dialog box provides extra screen "real estate". But reserve infrequent use. it for occasions that occur rarely (5% of the time or less). Use pop-up windows to keep context Help users keep track of their work flow with the main window in rather than to proliferate variety of the background and an associated dialog box in the foreground. tasks. Have only one pop-up open at a time, where possible. Avoid small windows. Let users see as much context as possible. Limiting context is as bad as having your long-range view of the road reduced by fog. Avoid frequent pop-ups. Use an additional primary window instead of numerous pop-ups. Less fragmentation of data lets user see context better and consequently work faster. Flag users about data in an unopened On the primary window, provide an "indicator icon" on the pop-up pop-up dialog box. button. The icon informs users whether or not data exists in the pop-up. This saves the user from needlessly opening the pop-up to check for data. Icons Don't expect to save much of user's At best, icons save about 300 milliseconds in speed over time with icons. a label alone. That's about one third of a second! Unless developing for expert users, Most icons must still be "learned" to be understood. use labels with icons. Sidestep the learning curve by adding labels to your icons. You can save space with an unlabeled If you need to save space on labels, and the application is used toolbar or icon palette, but this requires often enough to permit easy recall of the icon meaning, then use a training users to expert levels. palette, toolbar, or ribbon. PRINCIPLE
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Keytips_UCD - Key Tips for User-Centered Design published...

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