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User interface design

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User interface design
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 1
Objectives
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To suggest some general design principles for user
interface design
To explain different interaction styles and their use
To explain when to use graphical and textual
information presentation
To explain the principal activities in the user interface
design process
To introduce usability attributes and approaches to
system evaluation
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 2
Topics covered
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Design issues
The user interface design process
User analysis
User interface prototyping
Interface evaluation
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 3
The user interface
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User interfaces should be designed to match
the skills, experience and expectations of its
anticipated users.
System users often judge a system by its
interface rather than its functionality.
A poorly designed interface can cause a user
to make catastrophic errors.
Poor user interface design is the reason why
so many software systems are never used.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 4
Human factors in interface design
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Limited short-term memory
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People make mistakes
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When people make mistakes and systems go wrong,
inappropriate alarms and messages can increase stress
and hence the likelihood of more mistakes.
People are different
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People can instantaneously remember about 7 items of
information. If you present more than this, they are more
liable to make mistakes.
People have a wide range of physical capabilities.
Designers should not just design for their own
capabilities.
People have different interaction preferences
•
Some like pictures, some like text.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 5
UI design principles
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UI design must take account of the needs,
experience and capabilities of the system
users.
Designers should be aware of people’s
physical and mental limitations (e.g. limited
short-term memory) and should recognise
that people make mistakes.
UI design principles underlie interface
designs although not all principles are
applicable to all designs.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 6
User interface design principles
Pr inc ip le
D escr iption
Us er fa m iliar ity
T h e in te rf ace sho ul d us e ter ms a nd co nc e pt s w h ic h are d ra w n
from th e ex pe rien c e o f the pe op le w ho w ill m ak e mos t us e o f th e
system .
C o nsis te n cy
T h e in te rf ace sho ul d b e co nsis te n t in th a t, w h er e ve r p ossi bl e ,
com pa rab le o pe ra tio ns sh ou ld b e ac tiv at e d in the s am e w ay .
M inim al sur prise
Us er s sho ul d n ev e r be sur prised b y the be h av io ur of a s ystem .
R e co v erab ili ty
T h e in te rf ace sho ul d inc lud e m ec h an isms
rec o ve r f rom err ors .
Us er gu id anc e
T h e in te rf ace sho ul d p ro vide m ean ingf ul fe ed b ac k w h en errors
o ccu r an d prov id e c o ntex t-s en sitiv e us er h e lp f a ci lit ies.
Us er dive rs ity
T h e in te rf ace sho ul d p ro vide ap pr op riate in te rac tio n fac ili tie s fo r
d iffe ren t typ es o f s yste m u ser.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
to allo w users to
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 7
Design principles
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User familiarity
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Consistency
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The interface should be based on user-oriented
terms and concepts rather than computer concepts. For
example, an office system should use concepts such as
letters, documents, folders etc. rather than directories, file
identifiers, etc.
The system should display an appropriate level
of consistency. Commands and menus should have the
same format, command punctuation should be similar,
etc.
Minimal surprise
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If a command operates in a known way, the user should
be
able to predict the operation of comparable commands
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 8
Design principles
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Recoverability
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User guidance
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The system should provide some resilience to
user errors and allow the user to recover from errors. This
might include an undo facility, confirmation of destructive
actions, 'soft' deletes, etc.
Some user guidance such as help systems, on-line
manuals, etc. should be supplied
User diversity
•
Interaction facilities for different types of user should be
supported. For example, some users have seeing
difficulties and so larger text should be available
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 9
Design issues in UIs
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Two problems must be addressed in interactive
systems design
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How should information from the user be provided to the
computer system?
How should information from the computer system be
presented to the user?
User interaction and information presentation may
be integrated through a coherent framework such as
a user interface metaphor.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 10
Interaction styles
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Direct manipulation
Menu selection
Form fill-in
Command language
Natural language
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 11
Interaction styles
Int erac ti on
style
Ma in a d va nt ages
Ma in dis adva nt ages
A ppli cat ion
exa mpl es
D ir ec t
m an ipu lati on
F as t and in tuiti ve
interac ti on
E asy t o lea rn
M a y be ha rd to im p leme nt .
On ly su it ab le wher e the re is a
visu a l m etapho r for tasks and
ob jec ts .
V ideo ga m es
CA D sys tem s
M e nu
sel ec ti on
Avo ids us e r e rro r
L ittl e t yp ing requ ire d
Sl ow for expe ri enc e d u ser s.
C a n beco me co m plex i f m any
m enu opt ion s.
Mo st g e ner a lpu rpose sy st em s
F or m f ill-i n
Sim pl e da ta en tr y
E asy t o lea rn
Ch e ckab le
T akes up a lot o f sc reen spa c e.
C a use s p rob lem s whe re u ser
op ti ons do no t m atch the f or m
fi elds .
St ock c ont ro l,
P ersona l l oan
p roces si ng
Co mm and
language
P owe rfu l and fl ex ible
Ha rd to l ea rn.
P oor erro r m a nage m en t.
Ope rati ng sys tems ,
Co mm and and
con tr o l sys tem s
Na tural
language
Acc e ssib le to c asu a l
us e rs
E as il y e xtended
R e qui res m ore typ ing .
Na tural la nguage und e rst and ing
sy st em s are un reli ab le.
Info rm ati on
retriev al sys tem s
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 12
Multiple user interfaces
Gr a phic al user
inter f ace
Unix shell
( Gnom e/KDE )
( ksh/c sh)
X- windows GU
m ana ger
inter f ace
Com m and
I
langua ge
inter pret er
Linux ope rat ing syst em
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 13
LIBSYS interaction
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Document search
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Users need to be able to use the search
facilities to find the documents that they need.
Document request
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Users request that a document be delivered to
their machine or to a server for printing.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 14
Web-based interfaces
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Many web-based systems have interfaces
based on web forms.
Form field can be menus, free text input,
radio buttons, etc.
In the LIBSYS example, users make a
choice of where to search from a menu and
type the search phrase into a free text field.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 15
LIBSYS search form
LIBSYS: Se arch
Choose collect ion
All
Keywor d or phr ase
Sear ch using
Title
Adjace nt words
Sear ch
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Yes
Re set
No
Ca nce l
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 16
Information presentation
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Information presentation is concerned with
presenting system information to system
users.
The information may be presented directly
(e.g. text in a word processor) or may be
transformed in some way for presentation
(e.g. in some graphical form).
The Model-View-Controller approach is a
way of supporting multiple presentations of
data.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 17
Information presentation
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 18
Model-view-controller
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 19
Information presentation
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Static information
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Initialised at the beginning of a session. It does
not change during the session.
May be either numeric or textual.
Dynamic information
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Changes during a session and the changes
must be communicated to the system user.
May be either numeric or textual.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 20
Information display factors
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Is the user interested in precise information or
data relationships?
How quickly do information values change?
Must the change be indicated immediately?
Must the user take some action in response to
a change?
Is there a direct manipulation interface?
Is the information textual or numeric? Are relative
values important?
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 21
Alternative information presentations
Jan
2 842
Feb
2 85 1
Mar
3 164
Jan
Fe b
Mar
April
2 7 89
Ma y
12 73
June
2 83 5
Ma y
June
4000
3000
2 000
1 000
0
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
April
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 22
Analogue or digital presentation?
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Digital presentation
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Compact - takes up little screen space;
Precise values can be communicated.
Analogue presentation
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Easier to get an 'at a glance' impression of a
value;
Possible to show relative values;
Easier to see exceptional data values.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 23
Presentation methods
1
0
4
10
20
2
3
Dial wit h n eed le
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Pie ch ar t
Th er m om et er
Ho rizo n ta l b ar
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 24
Displaying relative values
Pr essur
0
1 00
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
200
e
Tem per at ur e
300
400
0
25
50
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
75
100
Slide 25
Data visualisation
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Concerned with techniques for displaying large
amounts of information.
Visualisation can reveal relationships between
entities and trends in the data.
Possible data visualisations are:
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Weather information collected from a number of sources;
The state of a telephone network as a linked set of nodes;
Chemical plant visualised by showing pressures and
temperatures in a linked set of tanks and pipes;
A model of a molecule displayed in 3 dimensions;
Web pages displayed as a hyperbolic tree.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 26
Colour displays
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Colour adds an extra dimension to an
interface and can help the user understand
complex information structures.
Colour can be used to highlight exceptional
events.
Common mistakes in the use of colour in
interface design include:
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The use of colour to communicate meaning;
The over-use of colour in the display.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 27
Colour use guidelines
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Limit the number of colours used and be
conservative in their use.
Use colour change to show a change in
system status.
Use colour coding to support the task that
users are trying to perform.
Use colour coding in a thoughtful and
consistent way.
Be careful about colour pairings.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 28
Error messages
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Error message design is critically important.
Poor error messages can mean that a user
rejects rather than accepts a system.
Messages should be polite, concise,
consistent and constructive.
The background and experience of users
should be the determining factor in message
design.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 29
Design factors in message wording
F a ct o r
D escr iption
C o ntex t
W he rev er poss ib le, th e m essag es g en e ra ted by th e sys te m sh ou ld reflec t th e c urre nt
u se r co n te x t. A s fa r a s is p ossi bl e , t he sys te m sho uld b e aw are o f w h at th e u se r is d oing
an d sh ou ld g ene rate m essag es tha t are releva n t to th ei r cu rren t a ct ivi ty.
E x pe rie n ce
As u sers b ec om e fam ilia r w it h a s ystem th ey be c om e irritat e d b y lo ng , Г”mean ingf ul Г•
m essag es. H ow ev er, b eg inn ers find it d ifficu lt to un de rs ta n d sho rt te rse sta tem en ts of a
p ro blem . Y ou sho uld prov id e b oth typ es o f me ssa ge an d allo w the user to c on trol
m essag e c o nc isen ess.
S kill le v el
M ess age s sho uld b e tai lored to th e us er Г•s sk ills as we ll as t h ei r ex pe rien c e. M essag es
for th e d iff er e nt cl as ses of us er m ay be ex p ress ed in d ifferen t w ay s de p en d in g on th e
te rmi no lo g y th at is f am ilia r to t he rea de r.
S ty le
M ess age s sho uld b e p ositiv e rathe r tha n ne ga tiv e. T h ey sho uld us e the act ive ra th er
th an t h e p assiv e mo de of ad dress. T h ey sho uld n ev er be ins ul tin g or try to be fu nn y.
C u lture
W he rev er poss ib le, th e d esig ne r o f m essag e s sho uld b e fam ilia r w ith the cu ltu re of the
co un try wh er e th e sys te m is sold. Th e re are dis tinc t cu lt ur al d iff er e nc es be tw e en
E u ro pe , A sia an d A m eric a. A su it a ble m essag e for o ne cu ltu re m ig ht be un acce p ta b le
in an othe r.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 30
User error
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Assume that a nurse misspells the name of a
patient whose records he is trying to retrieve.
Plea se t ype t he pa tient’ s nam e in t he bo
x then c lic k on OK
P at ient ’ s nam e
Mac Donald, R.
OK
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Ca nce l
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 31
Good and bad message design
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 32
The UI design process
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UI design is an iterative process involving
close liaisons between users and designers.
The 3 core activities in this process are:
•
•
•
User analysis. Understand what the users will
do with the system;
System prototyping. Develop a series of
prototypes for experiment;
Interface evaluation. Experiment with these
prototypes with users.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 33
The design process
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 34
User analysis
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If you don’t understand what the users want
to do with a system, you have no realistic
prospect of designing an effective interface.
User analyses have to be described in terms
that users and other designers can
understand.
Scenarios where you describe typical
episodes of use, are one way of describing
these analyses.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 35
User interaction scenario
Jane is a student of Religious Studies and is working on an essay
on Indian architecture and how it has been influenced by religious
practices. To help her understand this, she would like to access
some pictures of details on notable buildings but can’t find
anything in her local library.
She approaches the subject librarian to discuss her needs and he
suggests some search terms that might be used. He also suggests
some libraries in New Delhi and London that might have this
material so they log on to the library catalogues and do some
searching using these terms. They find some source material and
place a request for photocopies of the pictures with architectural
detail to be posted directly to Jane.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 36
Requirements from the scenario
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Users may not be aware of appropriate
search terms so need a way of helping them
choose terms.
Users have to be able to select collections to
search.
Users need to be able to carry out searches
and request copies of relevant material.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 37
Analysis techniques
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Task analysis
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Interviewing and questionnaires
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Models the steps involved in completing a task.
Asks the users about the work they do.
Ethnography
•
Observes the user at work.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 38
Hierarchical task analysis
Re tr ie ve pict ure s
f rom r em ot e
libra ries
do 1, 2,
3 until pic tur es f ound, 4
1
Disc over
possible
sour ces
2
Esta blish
search
t erm s
3
4.
Sear ch for
pictur es
Re quest
phot ocopies
offound items
do 3.1, 3.2,
3.3 unt il pict ure s found,
3.4 if ne cessar y , 3.5
3.1
Select
libra ry
3.2
Log in to
cat alogue
3.3
Sear ch for
pictur es
3.4
Modif y
search terms
3.5
Re cor d
r eleva nt
ite ms
do 3.3.1, 3.3.2, 3.3.3
3.3.1
Enter search
t erm s
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
3.3.2
I nit iate
search
3.3.3
Re view
r esult s
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 39
Interviewing
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Design semi-structured interviews based on
open-ended questions.
Users can then provide information that they
think is essential; not just information that
you have thought of collecting.
Group interviews or focus groups allow users
to discuss with each other what they do.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 40
Ethnography
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Involves an external observer watching
users at work and questioning them in an
unscripted way about their work.
Valuable because many user tasks are
intuitive and they find these very difficult to
describe and explain.
Also helps understand the role of social and
organisational influences on work.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 41
Ethnographic records
Air traffic control involves a number of control �suites’ where the suites
controlling adjacent sectors of airspace are physically located next to
each other. Flights in a sector are represented by paper strips that are
fitted into wooden racks in an order that reflects their position in the
sector. If there are not enough slots in the rack (i.e. when the airspace
is very busy), controllers spread the strips out on the desk in front of the
rack.
When we were observing controllers, we noticed that controllers
regularly glanced at the strip racks in the adjacent sector. We pointed
this out to them and asked them why they did this. They replied that, if
the adjacent controller has strips on their desk, then this meant that
they would have a lot of flights entering their sector. They therefore tried
to increase the speed of aircraft in the sector to �clear space’ for the
incoming aircraft.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 42
Insights from ethnography
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Controllers had to see all flights in a sector.
Therefore, scrolling displays where flights
disappeared off the top or bottom of the
display should be avoided.
The interface had to have some way of
telling controllers how many flights were in
adjacent sectors so that they could plan their
workload.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 43
User interface prototyping
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The aim of prototyping is to allow users to
gain direct experience with the interface.
Without such direct experience, it is
impossible to judge the usability of an
interface.
Prototyping may be a two-stage process:
•
•
Early in the process, paper prototypes may be
used;
The design is then refined and increasingly
sophisticated automated prototypes are then
developed.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 44
Paper prototyping
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Work through scenarios using sketches of
the interface.
Use a storyboard to present a series of
interactions with the system.
Paper prototyping is an effective way of
getting user reactions to a design proposal.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 45
Prototyping techniques
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Script-driven prototyping
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Visual programming
•
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Develop a set of scripts and screens using a
tool such as Macromedia Director. When the
user interacts with these, the screen changes to
the next display.
Use a language designed for rapid development
such as Visual Basic. See Chapter 17.
Internet-based prototyping
•
Use a web browser and associated scripts.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 46
User interface evaluation
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Some evaluation of a user interface design
should be carried out to assess its suitability.
Full scale evaluation is very expensive and
impractical for most systems.
Ideally, an interface should be evaluated
against a usability specification. However, it
is rare for such specifications to be
produced.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 47
Usability attributes
A ttribut e
D escr iption
Lea rn ab ili ty
H ow lo ng d oe s it ta k e a ne w us er to be c om e prod uc tiv e w it h
th e sys te m ?
S pe ed of op erat ion
H ow w el l do es the syste m re sp ons e m atch th e us er Г•s w ork
p ra c tic e?
R o bus tn ess
H ow to le ran t is th e sys te m of use r e rror?
R e co v erab ili ty
H ow go od is th e sys te m at rec o ve rin g from user e rr ors ?
A da p ta b ilit y
H ow closely is th e sys te m t ie d t o a s in gl e m od el of w ork?
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 48
Simple evaluation techniques
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Questionnaires for user feedback.
Video recording of system use and
subsequent tape evaluation.
Instrumentation of code to collect information
about facility use and user errors.
The provision of code in the software to
collect on-line user feedback.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 49
Key points
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User interface design principles should help guide
the design of user interfaces.
Interaction styles include direct manipulation, menu
systems form fill-in, command languages and
natural language.
Graphical displays should be used to present trends
and approximate values. Digital displays when
precision is required.
Colour should be used sparingly and consistently.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 50
Key points
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The user interface design process involves user
analysis, system prototyping and prototype
evaluation.
The aim of user analysis is to sensitise designers to
the ways in which users actually work.
UI prototyping should be a staged process with early
paper prototypes used as a basis for automated
prototypes of the interface.
The goals of UI evaluation are to obtain feedback on
how to improve the interface design and to assess if
the interface meets its usability requirements.
В©Ian Sommerville 2004
Software Engineering, 7th edition. Chapter 16
Slide 51
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