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  • 1. Chapter 12 Balancing Function and Fashion
  • 2. Introduction
    • User experiences with computer system prompts, explanations, error diagnostics,
    • and warnings play a critical role in influencing acceptance of software systems.
    • The wording of messages is especially important in systems designed for novice
    • users; experts also benefit from improved messages. Messages are sometimes
    • meant to be conversational, as modeled by human-human communications, but
    • this strategy has its limits because people are different from computers and
    • computers are different from people.
    • Another opportunity for design improvements lies in the layout of information on
    • a display. Cluttered display may overwhelm even knowledgeable users; but with
    • only modest effort, we can create well-organized information abundant layouts
    • that reduce search time and increase subjective satisfaction. Large, fast, highresolution
    • color displays offer many possibilities and challenges for designers.
  • 3. Copyright © 2005, Pearson Education, Inc.
  • 4. Error messages
    • Overview
    • User experience with computer-system prompts,
    • explanations, error diagnostics, and warnings is crucial
    • in influencing acceptance of SW systems
    • Why do errors occur?
    • Lack of knowledge, incorrect understanding, inadequate slips
    • What is the consequence?
    • Users are likely to be confused, are anxious or feel inadequate
    • What is a solution?
    • Make error messages as user-friendly as possible; this is
    • especially important for novice users as they commonly have a
    • lack of knowledge, confidence, and are sometimes easily
    • frustrated or discouraged
  • 5. Error messages (cont.)
    • Improving Error Messages
    • Measure where errors occur frequently, focus
    • on these issues
    • Improve messages but also revise error
    • handling procedures, improve documentation
    • and training manuals, change permissible
    • actions, etc.
    • All error messages should be reviewed by
    • peers, managers, should be tested empirically,
    • and be included in user manuals
  • 6. Error messages (cont.)
    • Guidelines
    • Product
    • Be as specific and precise as possible
    • Be constructive: Indicate what the user needs to do
    • Use a positive tone: Avoid condemnation
    • Choose user centered phrasing
    • Consider multiple levels of messages
    • Maintain consistent grammatical forms, terminology, and abbreviations
    • Maintain consistent visual format and placement
    • Process
    • Increase attention to message design
    • Establish quality control
    • Develop guidelines
    • Carry out usability tests
    • Record the frequency of occurrence for each message
  • 7. Error messages (cont.)
    • Examples - 1/2
    • Specificity
    • Avoid being too general (e.g., “Syntax Error”)
    • This makes it difficult to understand what went wrong and how
    • it can be fixed
    • Constructive Guidance and Tone
    • Avoid hostile messages and violent terminology
    • Do not only focus about what went wrong (give guidance)
    • Eliminate negative words (e.g., error, illegal, fatal, bad,
    • catastrophic)
    • Options for guidance: Automatic error correction, present
    • possible alternatives, avoid errors from occurring
  • 8. Error messages (cont.)
    • Examples - 2/2
    • User Centered Phrasing
    • User initiates more than responds
    • Avoid negative and condemning tone
    • Be brief but provide more information if needed
    • Appropriate Physical Format
    • Upper vs. lower case: Use “all upper case” only in specific
    • situations
    • Never use code numbers or, if you must, place them at the end
    • of the message or hide them from users that can not deal with
    • the codes
    • Sound may be important if there is a chance that something will
    • otherwise be overlooked; however, be always careful with
    • using sound
  • 9. Nonanthropomorphic Design
    • Overview
    • Deals with conversational messages between
    • humans and computers
    • Meaningful design of such dialogs is crucial to
    • create comprehensible, predictable and
    • controllable interfaces
    • Questions: Why not let computers talk as they
    • were people, appear as being intelligent,
    • human, emotional, autonomous?
    • Controversy: appealing, productive vs. deceptive,
    • confusing, misleading, ...
  • 10. Nonanthropomorphic Design Design
    • Arguments for Nonanthropomorphic Design
    • People feel disillusionment, distrust computers
    • if they can not live up to their expectations
    • Clarification of the difference between humans
    • and computers. Can we blame the computer?
    • People feel less responsible for their
    • actions/performance if they interact with an
    • anthropomorphic interface
    • Distraction from the actual task
    • Anxiety, which leads to less accuracy in task
    • performance
  • 11. Nonanthropomorphic Design Design
    • Guidelines
    • Be cautious in presenting computers as people, either
    • with synthesized or cartoon characters
    • Use appropriate humans for audio or video
    • introductions or guides
    • Use cartoon characters in games or children’s software,
    • but usually not elsewhere
    • Provide user-centered overviews for orientation and
    • closure
    • Do not use “I” when the computer response to human
    • action
    • Use “you” to guide users, or just state facts
  • 12. Display design
    • Overview
    • Deals with layout of information on the display
    • Goal: Avoid clutter, reduce search time, increase subjective
    • satisfaction
    • Task performance goes up!
    • For most interactive systems the display is key
    • component of successful design
    • General rule: Always start with task analysis without
    • consideration of display size
    • Consider:
    • Provide all necessary data in a proper sequence to carry out
    • the task
    • Meaningful grouping of items (with labels suitable to users’
    • knowledge)
    • Use consistent sequences of groups and orderly formats
  • 13. Display design
    • Example Guidelines
    • Ensure that any data a user needs, at any step in a
    • transaction sequence, are available for display
    • Display data to users in directly usable forms; do
    • not require that the users convert displayed data
    • Maintain a consistent format, for any particular type
    • of data display, from one display to another
    • Use short, simple sentences
    • Ensure that labels are sufficiently close to their data
    • fields to indicate association, yet are separated at
    • least by one space
  • 14. Display design (cont.)
    • Example Principles
    • 1. Elegance and simplicity: Unity, refinement and
    • fitness
    • 2. Scale, contrast, and proportion: Clarity, harmony,
    • activity, restraint
    • 3. Organization and visual structure: Grouping,
    • hierarchy, relationship, balance
    • 4. Style: Distinctiveness, integrity, comprehensiveness,
    • appropriateness
  • 15. Display design (cont.)
  • 16. Display design (cont.)
    • Some specific guidelines for web-based design
    • These examples of guidelines are based on
    • studies:
    • Use a columnar organization
    • Limit the use of animated graphical adds
    • Average link text: 2-3 words
    • Use Sans-Serif fonts
    • Vary colors to highlight text and headings
  • 17. Display design (cont.)
    • Display-complexity :
    • The complexity of using color was demonstrated in studies of decision-making
    • tasks, rather than of simple location of information or recall, with management
    • information systems. Although color-coding was found to be beneficial and
    • preferred, there was an interaction with personality factors. Further intricate
    • relationships were found in a comparison of monochrome versus color coded pie
    • charts, bar charts, line graphs, and data tables, in which color coding sped
    • performance in all but the line graphs.
  • 18. Display design (cont.)
    • Layouts in which related information was clusters were found to benefit users
    • when the cognitive load on working memory was large. Accuracy increased
    • when related items were clusters, thus reducing the scanning needed to locate
    • distant items.
  • 19. Window design
    • Overview
    • For many tasks it is required to deal with multiple
    • documents, windows, forms
    • Problem: There is a limit of how many of such
    • documents etc. can be displayed simultaneously
    • Goal: Offer sufficient information and flexibility to
    • accomplish the task while reducing window
    • housekeeping actions and minimizing distracting
    • clutter
    • This leads to users being able to complete their
    • task more rapidly and most likely with fewer
    • mistakes
  • 20. Window design
    • More concrete
    • How to coordinate multiple windows?
    • Synchronized scrolling: One scrollbar (window 1) is
    • connected to another scrollbar (window 2); enables, for
    • instance, simultaneous document review
    • Hierarchical browsing (e.g., Windows Explorer)
    • Opening/closing of dependent windows
    • Saving/opening of window state
    • Image Browsing
    • Good example: Google Maps!
  • 21.
        • Zoom factors: 5-30
          • Larger suggests an intermediate view is needed
        • Semantic zooming
        • Side by side placement, versus fisheye view
  • 22. Color
    • Overview
    • The use of colors can be highly influential in regard to
    • the acceptance of interfaces. With the high-resolution
    • color display that are available and common today, this
    • brings challenges for the designer
    • Influence of color:
    • Soothes or strikes the eye
    • Adds accents to an uninteresting display
    • Facilitates subtle discrimination in complex displays
    • Emphasizes the logical organization of information
    • Draws attention to warning
    • Evokes string emotional reactions of joy, excitement, fear,
    • or anger
  • 23. Color
    • Guidelines for alphanumeric displays, spreadsheets, graphs, ...
    • Use color conservatively
    • Limit the number of colors
    • Recognize the power of color as a coding technique
    • Ensure that color coding supports the task
    • Have color coding appear with minimal user effort
    • Place color coding under user control
    • Design for monochrome first
    • Consider the needs of color-deficient users
    • Use color to help in formatting
    • Be consistent in color coding
    • Be alert to common expectations about color codes
    • Be alert to problems with color pairings
    • Use color changes to indicate status changes
    • Use color in graphic displays for greater information density
  • 24. Color
    • Color a key component in style
    • Color can:
      • “ Soothe or strike the eye”
      • Add accents to an uninteresting display
      • Facilitate subtle discrim. in complex displays
      • Emphasize logical organization of information
      • Draw attention to warnings
      • Evoke string emotional reactions of joy, excitement, fear, or anger
    • Design principles and guidelines have long existed for graphics design and broader use
      • E.g., red for danger, yellow for caution
      • In general adopted for user interface design
    • Color can be misused, or, as a design element, done poorly
      • Use with understanding and restraint