While our Interface Hall of Shame illustrates out how not to design an application, our approach to how applications should be designed might be overly subtle for some visitors. James Hobart's article takes a more conventional approach by describing the principles of GUI design. The article is a valuable resource.
The Web Access Project researches, develops and tests methods of integrating access technologies (such as captioning and audio description) and new Web tools into a World Wide Web site, making it fully accessible to blind or deaf Internet users.
Despite the proprietary nature of the title, this resource has a great deal to offer designers and developers of all applications, regardless of the target operating system.
Color sensitivty affects a much wider population than the 6-8% of males that Perception textbooks typically identify as congenitally color-deficient. This article provides some startling information on the breadth of the problem, and also provides a very informative discussion of designing with color.
Sources describing Microsoft's usability testing of the Windows 95 user interface are very difficult to locate. This article is the most frequently cited source, and while it does describe the testing process, it is lacking in data and conclusions. There were however several findings that we found interesting, especially since they were apparently not corrected:
- Beginning users were bewildered by the hierarchical file system. Intermediate users could get around in the hierarchy, but only just barely.
- Beginning users and some intermediates had a lot of trouble using the mouse, especially double-clicking.
- Beginning users and many intermediates relied almost exclusively on visible cues for finding commands. They relied on (and found intuitive) menu bars and tool bars, but did not use pop-up (or "context") menus even after training.
- Several users attempted to delete files via the Edit Cut command [indicating a fundamental problem with the file-clipboard metaphor - Isys].
In their own words:
"The L.U.C.I.D. Computing Movement has been formed to fight for software usability. The word lucid means 'clear' and 'easy-to-understand.' Our goal is to humanize the design of software. In doing so we will save industry billions of dollars, we will create new markets for computer products and increase our well-being."
An interesting discussion of several subtle interface features found in Macintosh software.