Hix and Hartson: Developing User Interfaces: Chapter 2

by Carson Reynolds

User Interaction Design Guidance: Standards, Guidelines, and Style Guides is the title and focus of chapter 2.

Four types of human factors information are detailed:

* User interaction standards (provide rules, but need interpretation)
* User interaction design guidelines (provide suggestions, use to make customized style guide)
* Commercial Style Guides (e.g. User Interface Guidelines by Apple. Advocate consistency, provide details of look and feel, use to make customized style guide)
* Customized Style Guide (records decisions to guide interaction design)

The authors then provide their own set of guidelines:

* UCD: practice user centered design, know the user, involve the user, prevent user errors, optimize user operations, give users control, help user get started
* System model: Give user mental model based on tasks
* Consistency and Simplicity: be consistent, keep it simple
* Human Memory: 7+/-2, account for limitations by having frequent closure on tasks, let the user recognize instead of recall
* Cognitive issues: use cognitive directness, Draw on real-world analogies
* Feedback: be informative, give appropriate status indicators
* System messages: user user-centered wording, do not threaten the user, use specific constructive terms, blame the system
* Anthropomorphization: do not anthropomorphize
* Modality and Reversible Actions: use modes cautiously, make user actions easily reversible
* Getting the user’s attention: do it judiciously
* Display Issues: change very little from screen to screen, organize the screen to deal with complexity (use whitespace)
* Individual User Differences: accommodate individual differences, accommodate user experience levels.

There may be conflicts between different guidelines, they are not strict rules. Interpretation and trade-offs are required.

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