4.3.3. - Human Computer Interface - Design Factors

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  • Created by: Annie
  • Created on: 28-04-13 20:57
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  • HCI - The Design Factors
    • Consistency
      • SIgnposting
        • Icons, navigation system etc.
        • Should remain consistent over a software package and operating system
      • Pop-up Information
        • Pop-up messages in dialogue boxes (saving, printing etc.)
        • Tool tips - hovering over features to get yellow labels
      • Consistency makes new software much easier to use and makes it more saleable
    • On screen help
      • Searchable help systems by keywords or index
      • Help for users should be straight forward and use examples
      • Context sensitive help can take the user to the appropriate part of the help system
      • On screen help has become so good that many software manuals don't come with the product
      • Wizards often provide good step by step guides
      • Most people won't read the user manuals
    • Layout appropriate to the task
      • Nature of the audience is key..
      • Example 1: CAD Software
        • Menus with a wide range of options
        • Detailed layout with a range of customisable toolbars
        • Clear working area on central screen
      • Example 2: Children's Software
        • Bright distinct colours and clear graphics
        • Uncluttered Layout
        • Easy to read font style - such as Arial
      • Differentiation between user expertise
        • Professional users will expect to be able to create a refined, detailed product
          • Will need shortcut keys, infinite colour palette etc.
        • Old, Young, Professional, Amateur etc.
        • Amateurs will be less concerned about specific details
          • For example, designing a room
          • Software will need to be easy to use and have many wizards
    • Clear Navigational Structure
      • Software which does not make the next step clear will frustrate users
      • Wizards should have buttons in similar places although the next button should be in the same place to avoid mouse movement
      • What do I do next?
      • Backwards and forward buttons on internet browsers in the same place
    • Use by disabled people (accessibility)
      • Users may be blind, deaf, dumb or have mobility problems
      • On screen messages could appear instead of sounds (for keyboard errors etc.)
      • Colour blindness  needs to be accounted for in the default layout
      • Braille keyboards and printers for the blind
      • Screen readers may be available for blind users and voice dictations may be used as an input
      • Choice of font styles/sizes and screen magnifiers  for people with partial blindness
      • The use of voice and eye movements for computer control


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