luni, 19 iulie 2010

GUI Usability (Part I)

GUI Usability (Part I)

  • Use tabs - only one line of tabs / not too many - use scroll tabs
  • Use wizard (to teach the user how to use something. Where it is the case)
    • not too many windows/not too less
    • use wizard to perform a complicated task
    • restrict wizard to a single task
  • Do not force the user to enter a field after he/she completed another field if those field are not related 
    • Sample: force to enter the name before the phone no.
  • Reduce as much as possible the text
    • User do not usually read notes, observation, long stories
  • Have a logo/motto:
    • this may give a hint about the contain of the page/application
    • should be short: "Leader in IP network testing"
  • Think the application for people that cannot:
    • read
    • use a mouse (they may not have it)
  • Do not force the user to choose if it is not really necessary
  • Affordances:
    • User expect the windows to have a bar - so he/she can move it
    • little grip at the edge: to grap it/wide the window
  • Metaphors:  
    • Buttons are something that can be pushed
    • Navigation tabs
  • Be consistence:
    • Take the most known applications: use as sample
    • Use common used short-cut
    • Use common used images for icons 
      • Sample: 
        • a cart for the shooping chart
        • a floppy disk for save, ...
    • OK button is always to the left, Cancel button is on the right
  • Make your application intuitive
  • Use short-cuts / do not force the user to use mouse
  • Use tab indexes
  • Use appropriate font / font size
  • Do not ask user to remember things that computer can remember
  • Use ribbon control (at least menus/toolbars):
    • functionality is better expose to the user
    • better categorized 
    • Less more clicks
  • Use autocompletion whenever is possible
  • Advanced user are not usually annoyed by the explanation for beginners
  • Think in terms of activities that the user can perform - you as programmer - (not the task that you have to complete)
    • Samples: Cards for greeting/anniversary .... , not put a text, put a image, sent email/print it 
    • Figure out most important activities that the users will perform
  • Have a search box on your web page
  • Use common used words:
    • Do not use "Go" instead "Search". User is searching your page for a "Search" word
  • Do usability testing (5-6 testers (usually, common people) seems to be enough)
  • Use brighter colors (there are studies that shows that usability is raised with 5%)
  • Usability tests measure learnability 
    • A programmer is better if the user learn / became comfortable with it.
  • What are you(developer) created in day, the user appreciate it in seconds
    • Don't consider that things that seem to you to be obvious are also obvious for the user
  • Use heuristics 
    • Replace "teh" with "the"
  • "Design black and white"
    • Use colors for emphases. 
    • People have problem remembering color codes
  • Image on icons should be self-explanatory for the icon functionality
  • When user press on web page logo, he/she is expecting to go to Home page
  • No one likes to be asked a question they can't answer 
  • GUI is the era of WIMP (windows, icons, mouse, and pointers).
  • Create real-word analogy (Outlook calender looks like a wall calendar)
  • Use conventions:
    • it is the way that users learn to work with a variety of software.
  • Windows developers have to "Act-Like-Microsoft"
    • Microsoft is generally the standard.


 Joel Spolsky, "User Interface Design for Programmers", Appress
 Steve Krug, "Don’t Make Me Think! a common sense approach to web usability", SECOND EDITION, New Riders Publishing, Berkeley, California USA
 Matthew MacDonald, "User Interfaces in C#—Windows Forms and Custom Controls", Appress, 2002

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