RelativeResourceManager000

RelativeResourceManager000 - Fall 2003 6.893 UI Design and...

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Unformatted text preview: Fall 2003 6.893 UI Design and Implementation 1 Lecture 6: Prototyping Fall 2003 6.893 UI Design and Implementation 2 UI Hall of Fame or Shame? Today’s candidate for the Halls of Fame and Shame is the Windows calculator. It looks and works just like a familiar desk calculator, a stable interface that many people are familiar with. It’s a familiar metaphor, and trivial for calculator users to pick up and use. Unfortunately it deviates from the metaphor in some small ways, largely because the buttons are limited to text labels. The square root button is labeled “sqrt” rather than the root symbol. The multiplication operator is * instead of X. This interface adheres to its metaphor so carefully that it passes up some tremendous opportunities to improve on the desk calculator interface. Why only one line of display? A history, analogous to the paper tape printed by some desk calculators, would cost almost nothing. Why only one memory slot? Why display “M” instead of the actual number stored in memory? All these issues violate the visibility of system state heuristic. A more serious violation of the same heuristic: the interface actually has invisible modes. When I’m entering a number, pressing a digit appends it to the number. But after I press an operator button, the next digit I press starts a new number. There’s no visible feedback about what low-level mode I’m in. Nor can I tell, once it’s time to push the = button, what computation will actually be made. Most of the buttons are cryptically worded ( recognition, not recall ). MC, MR, MS, and M+? What’s the difference between CE and C? My first guess was that CE meant “Clear Error” (for divide-by-zero errors and the like); some people in class suggested that it means “Clear Everything”. In fact, it means “Clear Entry”, which just deletes the last number you entered without erasing the previous part of the computation. “C” actually clears everything. It turns out that this interface also lets you type numbers on the keyboard, but the interface doesn’t give a hint ( affordance ) about that possibility. In fact, in a study of experienced GUI users who were given an onscreen calculator like this one to use, 13 of 24 never realized that they could use the keyboard instead of the mouse (Nielsen, Usability Engineering , p. 61-62). One possible solution to this problem would be to make the display look more like a text field, with a blinking cursor in it, implying “type here”. Text field appearance would also help the Edit menu, which offers Copy and Paste commands without any obvious selection ( external consistency ). Finally, we might also question the use of small blue text to label the buttons, which is hard to read, and the use of both red and blue labels in the same interface, since chromatic aberration forces red and blue to be focused differently. Both decisions tend to cause eyestrain over periods of long use. Fall 2003 6.893 UI Design and Implementation6....
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RelativeResourceManager000 - Fall 2003 6.893 UI Design and...

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