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Ask Your Phone   (PDF)

Grattan introduces Intercom readers to voice portals, an emergent technology that allows phone access to Internet-based information.

Grattan, Naomi. Intercom (2001). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>User Interface>Voice


Baby Duck Syndrome

What if something neither looks nor quacks like a duck, but users think it is a duck? The cranky user comments on baby duck syndrome and how it can trap users with systems and interfaces that don't really meet their needs.

Seebach, Peter. IBM (2005). Articles>User Interface>Human Computer Interaction>Usability


Barrierefreie Informationstechnik: ein Thema nicht nur für behinderte Menschen   (Word)

Abgeflachte Bürgersteige, Rampen statt Stufen, tiefergelegte Busse - an den alltäglichen baulichen Barrieren für Kinderwägen und Rollstuhlfahrer wird gearbeitet. Im IT-Bereich dagegen ließ Barrierefreiheit bislang auf sich warten: Viele Websites sind nicht für jeden zugänglich. Mit dem Gesetz zur Gleichstellung behinderter Menschen sind öffentliche Institutionen seit Anfang Mai 2002 verpflichtet, ihre Websites barrierefrei zu gestalten.

Heuwinkel, Roland. Doculine (2002). (German) Articles>Human Computer Interaction>Accessibility>User Interface


A Breakdown of the Psychomotor Components of Input Device Usage

This study investigates the breakdown of the psychomotor components of three different input devices, the mouse, trackball, and RollerMouse™ using the Stochastic Optimized Submovement Model. Primary movement time (PMT), Total Movement Time (TMT), Primary Movement Distance (PMD), and Total Movement Distance (TMD) were examined for each device. Results showed that psychomotor variables related to the primary phase of movement help to pinpoint how performance efficiency is affected by a particular device. For example, the relationship between %PMD and efficiency suggests that a device that affords users an initial accurate movement decreases the need for more or longer corrective submovements, thus reducing movement time.

Slocum, Jeremy. Usability News (2005). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>User Interface>Usability


The Death of File Systems

The file system has been a trusted part of most computers for many years, and will likely continue as such in operating systems for many more. However, several emerging trends in user interfaces indicate that the basic file-system model is inadequate to fully satisfy the needs of new users, despite the flexibility of the underlying code and data structures.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (1996). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>User Interface


Ease of Instant Messaging: How the use of IBM Lotus Sametime Changes Over Time   (PDF)

This article discusses the results of surveys that indicate the IBM Lotus Sametime instant messaging product is a successful 'walk-up-and-use' application, requiring little documentation and no training. Users achieve a commercially significant level of performance within three months. In addition, over a much longer period, users continue to develop their skills (chat behaviors), social networks (chat partners), and attitudes toward the technology (reasons for using IM). This combination of attributes — ease of learning and sustained development of skills and strategies — is unusual in Human-computer interaction, and poses some unique challenges for creating a product that experienced users continue to find useful and usable.

IBM (2004). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>User Interface>Instant Messaging


Easy, Intuitive and Metaphor, and Other Meaningless Words

A vital skill for designers is to notice fine detail in the other designs which form part of the technological ecosystem in which their design will live. For example, on Mac OS there are now two different styles of text entry fields for forms. One has square corners, and is used for general data entry. The other has rounded ends, and is used for entering searches. I was recently outraged to find a piece of software which used the rounded style for data entry. This kind of design vandalism muddies the rules which users would otherwise learn, and devalues all software on the platform.

Bagnall, Peter. uiGarden (2007). Articles>User Interface>Human Computer Interaction


The Effect of Input Device on Video Game Performance

First-person shooter (FPS) games have become increasingly popular, and the player’s ability to accurately control their weapon is very important in these games. This study assesses players’ accuracy on eliminating targets in the FPS game Star Wars Battlefront II using three different input devices (mouse, Playstation 2 controller, and joystick) with two different rifle types (sniper and blaster rifle). No significant performance differences were found between input devices although subjectively participants believed they peformed the worst with the joystick.

Lenz, Kelsi. Usability News (2008). Articles>User Interface>Human Computer Interaction>Academic


Ergonomic Mice: Comparison of Performance and Perceived Exertion

This study reports a psychophysical comparison of four ergonomic mouse-type devices to the standard mouse. It was hypothesized that muscle activity transferred from the distal to proximal limbs for some of the ergonomic mice may result in increased load on the shoulders and declines in target acquisition performance. Results revealed a potential tradeoff between performance and safety with the devices as participants performed the best with the standard mouse but reported more wrist exertion with this device.

Scarlett, Deborah. Usability News (2005). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>User Interface>Usability


The Ever-Evolving Arrow: Universal Control Symbol

The arrow and its brethren are everywhere on our computer screens. For example, a quick examination of the Firefox 3.0 browser, shown in Figure 1 in its standard configuration, yields eight examples of arrows—Forward, Back, and Reload buttons, scroll bar controls, and drop-down menus that reveal search engine, history, and bookmark choices.

Follett, Jonathan. UXmatters (2009). Articles>User Interface>Human Computer Interaction>Graphic Design


Fonts, Image, Interface Layout Solution under High Resolution

For an application to work well under a high resolution display environment, there are four major elements to consider: Text, Fonts, Image (Picture, Icon and Mouse Cursors), and Layout.

Liu, Steven. uiGarden (2006). Articles>User Interface>Human Computer Interaction


Framework of Product Experience

In this paper, we introduce a general framework for product experience that applies to all affective responses that can be experienced in human-product interaction. Three distinct components or levels of product experiences are discussed: aesthetic experience, experience of meaning, and emotional experience. All three components are distinguished in having their own lawful underlying process.

Desmet, Pieter and Paul Hekkert. International Journal of Design (2007). Articles>User Interface>Human Computer Interaction>User Experience


Guidelines on the Common Features of Mobile Phone Interfaces   (PDF)

An ever increasing range of mobile phones are appearing on the market, each with their own features, designs and interfaces. Our extensive experience of working with a wide range of phones suggests that, despite their many differences, there are some user interface requirements common to all mobile phones. These requirements are presented as guidelines below.

Stockbridge, Lucy and Azia Mughal. Serco (2007). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>Mobile>User Interface


Hands Across the Screen: Why Scrollbars are on the Right and Other Stories

Why are scrollbars on the right, and is it the best place for them? There are good reasons to think that the left-hand side may be the better choice. In this short paper we'll talk about two cases, from which we can find: the best placement does not look right when you see it statically, but feels right when it is used.

Dix, Alan. uiGarden (2005). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>User Interface


How Much Bandwidth is Enough? A Tbps!

In the long term we will need about a million times more bandwidth than a T1, as shown by the following list of requirements for the perfect user interface.

Alertbox (1995). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>User Interface


The Human Factors of Touch Input Devices   (members only)

The popularity of touch input devices for use in a wide variety of information, telecommunication, and other systems applications warrants a review of the role of human factors in the design and use of these devices, particularly touch screens and touch pads. This report reviews empirical research into the human interface design issues of touch input devices including display mounting angle, touch biases, touch area size and shape, feedback, and touch key interaction strategies. The limitations and capabilities of the devices for supporting a variety of tasks are examined as are comparisons between these devices and more conventional input devices such as keyboards. Attempts to improve the user interaction with these devices are also reviewed. Conclusions and recommendations regarding the use and design of touch input devices are provided.

Lee, A.T. Beta Research (1997). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>User Interface


Information Retrieval of Imperfectly Recognized Handwriting

A user test of handwritten input on a pen machine achieved a 1.6% recognition error rate at the character level, corresponding to 8.8% errors on the word level. Input speed was 10 words per minute. In spite of the recognition errors, information retrieval of the handwritten notes was almost as good as retrieval of perfect text.

Nielsen, Jakob, Victoria L. Phillips and Susan T. Dumais. Alertbox (1993). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>User Interface


A Layered Interaction Analysis of Direct Manipulation

The concept of direct manipulation is usually viewed as a single characteristic of a class of interaction styles. Here, direct manipulation is analyzed according to a detailed layered interaction model, showing that it has quite different effects on the dialogue on the different levels. In particular, the "no errors" claim may be true at the syntax level but not at several of the levels above or below that level. Furthermore, a unified framework is presented for conceptualizing Direct Manipulation, What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG), Transparency, Immediate Command Specification, Arcticulatory Directness, and Computational Appliances according to a layered interaction view.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (1992). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>User Interface


Learning From Photoshop's "Variations" Tool

Adobe has been using one of the most effective contemporary goal-oriented interactive mechanisms for years, and a lot of product designers should have been paying attention. It is, of course, the 'Variations' tool.

Baker, Adam. Merges.net (2001). Articles>User Interface>Human Computer Interaction


The Man Behind Clippy

Clippy's behavior bugged me, but I was so taken with his facial expressions that I always kind of felt bad sending him away. Anyway, Clippy took a back seat in later versions of Microsoft Office, so I hadn't thought about him in a while, when STC Secretary Erin Lowe off-handedly mentioned that she actually knew the man who invented Clippy. I was very excited to hear this, and Erin graciously agreed to arrange a meeting so that I could talk to Clippy's inventor about the creative process behind designing a user experience like Clippy.

Dickson, Andrea with Erin Lowe. STC Puget Sound (2007). Articles>Interviews>Human Computer Interaction>User Interface


Noncommand User Interfaces

Several new user interface technologies and interaction principles seem to define a new generation of user interfaces that will move off the flat screen and into the physical world to some extent. Many of these next-generation interfaces will not have the user control the computer through commands, but will have the computer adapt the dialogue to the user's needs based on its inferences from observing the user. This article defines twelve dimensions across which future user interfaces may differ from the canonical window systems of today: User focus, the computer's role, interface control, syntax, object visibility, interaction stream, bandwidth, tracking feedback, interface locus, user programming, and software packaging. Keywords: Agents, Animated icons, BITPICT, DWIM, Embedded help, Eye tracking, Generations of user interfaces, Gestural interfaces, Help systems, Home computing, Interactive fiction, Interface paradigms, Noncommand based user interfaces, Prototyping, Usability heuristics, Virtual realities, Wizard of Oz method.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (1993). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>User Interface>Usability


OK-Cancel or Cancel-OK?

Should the OK button come before or after the Cancel button? Following platform conventions is more important than suboptimizing an individual dialog box.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2008). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>User Interface>Usability


Polite Computers Win Users' Hearts and Minds

Computer glitches would be a lot less annoying if the machines were programmed to acknowledge errors gracefully when something goes wrong, instead of merely flashing up a brusque "you goofed" message.

Biever, Celeste. New Scientist (2004). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>User Interface


Productivity and Multi-Screen Computer Displays   (PDF)

One hundred eight university and non university personnel participated in a comparison of single monitor, multi-monitor and multi-monitor with Hydravision display configurations. Respondents edited slide shows, spreadsheets and text documents in a simulation of office work, using each of the display arrays. Performance measures, including task time, editing time, number of edits completed, and number of errors made and usability measures evaluating effectiveness, comfort, learning ease, time to productivity, quickness of recovery from mistakes, ease of task tracking, ability to maintain task focus and ease of movement among sources were combined into an overall evaluation of productivity. Multi-screens scored significantly higher on every measure.

Colvin, Janet, Nancy Tobler and James A. Anderson. Rocky Mountain Communication Review (2004). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>User Interface



Macintosh-style interaction design has reached its limits. A new paradigm, called results-oriented UI, might well be the way to empower users in the future.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2005). Articles>User Interface>Human Computer Interaction



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