Archive for September, 2008

A general principle for all user interface design is to go through all of your design elements and remove them one at a time. If the design works as well without a certain design element, kill it.   — Jakob Nielsen, author and consultant on user interfaces

A good website should have at least the usability and usefulness of a good book. But, although rarely fully exploited, it has the potential to be far more usable, largely because of the availability of hyperlinking.   — a Bellevue Linux Users Group member, August 2005

A well-designed and humane interface does not need to be split into beginner and expert subsystems.   — Jef Raskin, human-computer interface expert and a designer of the first Macintosh

Computer science departments have always considered ‘user interface’ research to be sissy work.   — Nicholas Negroponte, founder and director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Laboratory

Computing has gone from something tiny and specialized to something that affects every walk of life. It doesn’t make sense anymore to think of it as just one discipline. I expect to see separate departments of user interface, for example, to start emerging at universities.   — Nathan Myhrvold, former Microsoft executive

Don’t make me think.   — Steve Krug, usability expert

If the user can’t use it, it doesn’t work.   — Susan Dray, usability consultant

Most websites today fail basic tests of usability.   — Forrester Research

No matter how good your backend systems are, the users will only remember your front end. Fail there and you will fail, period.   — Tristan Louis, writer about the Internet

The Interface is the system.   — unknown

The only ‘intuitive’ interface is the nipple. After that, it’s all learned.   — unknown (but often attributed to a Bruce Ediger)

Usability cost-benefit data shows that including usability in product development actually cuts the time to market and increases sales because usability and ease of use build quality into products and catch many expensive problems early on in the cycle when they can be addressed at lower cost. Finally, working with users from the beginning of a product cycle ensures that the product is being designed so that users will be satisfied.   — Claire Marie Karat, human-computer interface researcher at IBM

Usability is critical for any application, but for mass-market software, usability spells success or failure more clearly than any other feature.   — Jerrold Grochow, Chief Technology Officer, American Management Systems

Usability really just means making sure that something works well: that a person of average (or even below average) ability and experience can use the thing – whether it’s a web site, remote control, or revolving door – for its intended purpose without getting hopelessly frustrated.   — Steve Krug

Usability rules the Web. Simply stated, if the customer can’t find a product, then he or she will not buy it.   — Jakob Nielsen

User interfaces have to do with people, and computer scientists don’t like to work on problems involving people. The classic work on user interfaces that sets the current paradigm was invented outside of universities in industrial research laboratories and government-funded institutes.   — Stuart Card, interface researcher at Xerox PARC

… when folks read news online, their eyes go for text first, particularly captions and summaries, and graphics only later.   — Bryan & Jeff Eisenberg, usability consultants and authors


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 A prototype is a model of something to be further developed. The higher the fidelity the more representative is the prototype. Rapid prototyping implies that there is a short time between conceiving an initial notion and modeling it in physical form and between successive iterations. A popular method is to use paper to create the prototype (Snyder 2003) which can be done without programming skills and which has the look of work in progress thus encouraging users to comment on it. Software prototypes can then be developed when the ideas have been thought through and tested on paper. These can then be used for usability testing.

The reasons of Rapid Prototyping are

  • To increase effective communication.

  • To decrease development time.

  • To decrease costly mistakes.

  • To minimize sustaining engineering changes

  • To extend product lifetime by adding necessary features and eliminating redundant features early in the design.

Appropriate Uses

Rapid prototyping can be used for a number of purposes:

  • To be creative: the prototype can be developed in a workshop setting as part of the creative process in developing system ideas, functions and user interfaces.

  • As a basis for evaluation: the developed prototype (on paper or in software) can be tested for usability or usefulness with real users.

  • For communication: the prototype can be used promote a design idea or to support a request for a design requirement.

Costs and Scalability

Paper prototyping can be carried out by human factors or usability specialists with the support of domain experts and users. No special equipment is required.

Software prototyping also requires someone with knowledge of the prototyping tool being used.

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Interaction design is the branch of user experience design that illuminates the relationship between people and the interactive products they use. While interaction design has a firm foundation in the theory, practice, and methodology of traditional user interface design, its focus is on defining the complex dialogues that occur between people and interactive devices of many types—from computers to mobile communications devices to appliances.

Understanding Interaction Design
Interaction designers strive to create useful and usable products and services. Following the fundamental tenets of user-centered design, the practice of interaction design is grounded in an understanding of real users—their goals, tasks, experiences, needs, and wants. Approaching design from a user-centered perspective, while endeavoring to balance users’ needs with business goals and technological capabilities, interaction designers provide solutions to complex design challenges, and define new and evolving interactive products and services.The success of products in the marketplace depends on the design of high-quality, engaging interactive experiences. Good interaction design
  • effectively communicates a system’s interactivity and functionality
  • defines behaviors that communicate a system’s responses to user interactions
  • reveals both simple and complex workflows
  • informs users about system state changes
  • prevents user error While interaction designers often work closely with specialists in visual design, information architecture, industrial design, user research, or usability, and may even provide some of these services themselves, their primary focus is on defining interactivity.The discipline of interaction design produces products and services that satisfy specific user needs, business goals, and technical constraints. Interaction designers advance their discipline by exploring innovative design paradigms and technological opportunities. As the capabilities of interactive devices evolve and their complexity increases, practitioners of the discipline of interaction design will play an increasingly important role in ensuring that technology serves people’s needs.
  • Summary
    Interaction design defines the structure and behaviors of interactive products and services and user interactions with those products and services

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