A2 OCR ICT: Chapter 2 - Designing An Interface

Notes from OCR A2 ICT Textbook.


Designing An Interface: Introduction


When designing an interface the designer must consider the following:

> Colour

> Layout

> Quantity of information

> Font

> Language

> Controls

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Designing An Interface: Colour

> Use colours that follow the corporal colours.

> EG. Red for coke, Blue for pepsi

> Use colours that do not clash

> EG. Bright pink and orange.

> Use colours that will not prevent someone with a sight impediment from using it.

> Ensure that on each screen no more than 4 colours are used, and in a series of screens no more than 7.

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Designing An Interface: Layout

> Use a consistent layout

> Buttons should be in the same place on every screen

> EG. the close X is always in the top right of a window.

> Follow the house style

> Try to follow, as closely as possible, the laout of the original source

> Follow a logical order

> Include some white space. Too little and the text is hard to read, Too much and the screen looks bare.

> Important information should be eye catching

> Information that is only rarely needed should be hidden untill the user requires it.

> Consistent layouts are easier for users to become familiar with.

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Designing An Interface: Quantity Of Information

> This is linked to the amount of white space used.

> There needs to be enough information displayed to allow the user to easily complete tasks.

> Too much information can confuse a user, and makes it difficult to locate specific information.

> Therefore, Too much information increases the time it takes a user to complete each task.

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Designing An Interface: Font

> The text used on the interface needs to be in a style that is clear and a size that is easy to read.

> The font size and style used should be consistent.


> Styles such as Blackadder ITC and Edwardian Script IT, should not be used.

> Styles such as Arial and Times New Roman are legible and good styles to use.


> The font used should be above size 12, but under size 20 unless it for a title or heading.

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Designing An Interface: Language

> The language used in an interface should be kept simple.

> Error messages and instructions should not include technical terms

EG. An Error message saying "Runtime error at line 89670" Would not help a typical user.

> The language should be helpful, but not so simple that it can be taken as condescending by the user.

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Designing An Interface: Controls - Introduction

> Controls can be used in an interface to ensure ease of use.

There are many types of controls that can be used in an interface, the most common are:

> Buttons

> Form

> Menus

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Designing An Interface: Controls - Buttons

> Buttons can be used to take the user to a specific location or to run a specific task.

> Macro's can be assigned to buttons. In an interface, a macro is a set of stored commands that can be replayed by clicking the button it is assigned to, or by typing in a combination.

Advantages of using a Macro:

> Repetitive tasks can be preformed with just a click

> Reducing the number of errors

> Allows inexperienced users to complete complex tasks

Disadvantages of using a Macro:

> If the conditions are different than when the macro was made it might not work.

> Errors can only be fixed if the user understands how the macro was made.

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Designing An Interface: Controls - Forms

> Forms can be used to making inputting data easier.

> A form can give help and advice on what data needs to be entered.

> Forms can also include error messaes and instructions.

> Forms can also have validation rules built into them.

> Forms can include; Drop-down boxes, option boxes and check boxes.

> Forms also increase the interactivity between the user and the system.

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Designing An Interface: Controls - Menus

> Menus let users to select specific tasks from a list

> There are many types of menus including; Full-screen, pop-up and drop down.

EG. Start menu on Windows

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Mr A Gibson


This resource is useful because it draws attention to the things that students often do not stop to consider when designing a system and also when answering questions about HCI design. Suitable for all boards.

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