BA372 — XML and Web Services
BA372 — Usability (UX) (Function, Form & Finish)
- Hohmann (p. 184) "Usability...
relates to the (complex) choices that users of the system make to
accomplish one or more tasks easily, efficiently, enjoyably and with a minimum of errors."
- Quantitative and qualitative aspects.
- Problem: examples of both?
- Usability is about $$:
- Unpleasant, inefficient and/or ineffective tools are not happily used.
- p. 185: "Poorly designed, manipulative, and even hostile applications denigrate the users' dignity and humanity."
- e.g., on-line termination of ING bank account.
- Type a carefully worded product review; only to be told on submit that you are exceeding the 150(0) character limit.
- Bahafresh catering; follow the nonlinks and end up where you started.
- Cannot find pricing information before providing your email.
- "To read more, use the following link: http://..."
- "The password you entered must..."
- Rabbit-hole download pages; which do not (seem to) contain the download
- Phone answering service rabbit holes.
- Link rot
- David Pogue on automobile dashboard technology.
- Problem: others?
- Usable systems contribute to worker productivity and worker and customer satisfaction.
- Training, help desks, support staff and customer help lines require resources ($$).
- Human Computer Interaction (HCI) / USability (UX): subfield of Human Factors Engineering (ergonomics).
- Some journals:
- International Journal in
- Human-Computer Interaction
- International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction
- Information Visualization
- Mental models and metaphors:
- Direct manipulation (point, click & drag) vs. imperative linguistic
- Problem: (dis)advantages of both?
- Experiments with dimensionality and spatialization:
- Usability guidelines (p. 187-193): Ben Shneiderman:
- Allow shortcuts for efficiency.
- React to error/unexpected conditions.
- Offer informative feedback ('catch' errors and handle them in user terms).
- Permit reversal of actions (undo) and ask for confirmation on nonreversible ones.
- Users should feel in control.
- Graphic design standards (read E.R. Tufte's Envisioning Information):
- Geometry, location of interface elements and proper use of space:
Tips for cleaning up a table of numbers.
- Color palettes (note: color ramps and shading are out of fashion; flat colors are du jour).
- Proper use of font, font size and line width: (avoid heavy fonts and lines):
- "Dark grid lines are chart junk. When a graphic serves as a lookup table, then a grid may help with reading and interpolation. But even then the grid should be
muted relative to the data." (Tufte, Envisioning Information, p. 59)
- Don't make a mess:
At least eight(!!) violations of basic messaging/design principles:
- Inconsistent use of italics and non-italics.
- No good reason to use bolding.
- No good reason to use a (black) frame.
- No good reason to spell "OR" in caps.
- "print" in "print screen" should be capitalized (and perhaps italicized).
- Mixing of plural ("printers") with singular ("select it").
- Why would I want to send my document to multiple printers?
- Confusion about printer choice: what is Adobe PDF? Is it not a printer? If not, why is it the default printer? And is it B/W or color?
Some examples of poor/confusing visuals/graphics and layout:
Avoid 'chart junk:'
Study (Skau et al.—2015) shows that embellishing basic
graphs does not help cognition.
Proper use of dialog elements (windows, buttons, check
boxes, radio buttons, etc.).
Some de facto standards:
!!! For your case study's User Interface chapter & prototype: keep the above standards in mind !!!
- Menu items:
- More to come...
- To a submenu >
- Short cut: Ctrl+K
- Starts with a capital.
- 'File' menu weirdness.
- Iconify frequently used actions (save, print, etc.)
- Avoid horizontal scrolling (if you reasonably can).
- Don’t mode me in!
- Match the text of your buttons to the actions they perform; e.g., Cancel ≠ Close; OK ≠ Apply; Attach ≠ Insert (Outlook)).
- Locate OK and Cancel at the right bottom corner.
- Line things up!! (work from a grid).
- Only center things when you really have/want to.
- (re)consider 'clutter':
Inverse design and The Adventures of Betsy (Source: Landauer, T. (1995) The Trouble with Computers):
- Inversion: turning things upside down, inside out, front to back, polar flip, reward vs. punishment.
- Oersted (1826) vs. Faraday (1831):
apply current to a wire —> a magnetic field —> makes a magnet rotate (electric motor).
- Faraday: apply a magnetic field to a
wire —> current (generator/dynamo).
- Command line vs. GUI: operator—operand inversion.
- Reverse Polish notation calculators.
- Gravity (movie): move the space around the individual, rather than the individual through the space.
Type 2 diabetes: 'stacking meds' —> insulin injections last; Schwarz/Shubrook: insulin injections first.
- The 'flipped' classroom.
- Schiphol airport urinals.
- Male cosmetics / skin care: "The key objective among all manufacturers is turning a regime that
you have to do into a ritual you want to do."
Business Week Oct. 2013, 'Yes, Real Men Drink Beer and Use Skin Moisturizer')
- The case of XML: interoperability through data exchange rather than program integration.
- Copyleft; GPL
- Reverse pharmacology: Borell, B. (2014) Seeds of a Cure. Scientific American; June, 65-69.
- Anthony Carton (Fort Lewis College, CO): asks his web design students to first
design (on paper) a really bad web site. Then asks them to design a new version which does not have those problems.
- However, inversion is hard:
- Remember how when designing a new system architecture, some people associated with the old
architecture must leave the team.
- Ask Betsy.