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Design>Human Computer Interaction

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Accommodating Color Blindness

An estimated nine to twelve percent of the male population suffers from some form of color vision deficiency, commonly called 'color blindness.' It is important for computer interface designers to take into account and eliminate, if possible, any potential confusions that can arise because of color vision deficiencies. There are two major types of color blindness. The most prevalent causes are confusion between red and green. This type affects approximately eight to ten percent of the male population. In another type, an additional one to two Percent of men suffer from a deficiency in perceiving blue/yellow differences. Less than one percent of women suffer from any form of color blindness. To understand color blindness better, it is helpful to be familiar with the ways in which colors differ from each other. One standard way to discuss color is to divide it into hue, saturation and brightness (HSB).

Hoffman, Paul. STC Usability SIG (1999). Design>Accessibility>Human Computer Interaction>Color


Affect and Machine Design: Lessons for the Development of Autonomous Machines   (PDF)

Human beings have evolved a rich and sophisticated set of processes for engaging with the world in which cognition and affect play two different but equally crucial roles. Cognition interprets and makes sense of the world. Affect evaluates and judges, modulating the operating parameters of cognition and giving a warning about possible dangers. The study of how these two systems work together provides guidance for the design of complex autonomous systems that must deal with a variety of tasks in a dynamic, often unpredictable, and sometimes hazardous environment.

Norman, Donald A., A. Ortony and D.M. Russell. JND.org (2003). Design>Human Computer Interaction>Web Design


An Interview with John Carroll

Interview with John Carroll, best‑known among technical communicators as “The Father of Minimalism,” a title he earned as a result of his popular book, The Nurnberg Funnel.

Bleiel, Nicky. Society for Technical Communication (2015). Articles>User Centered Design>Human Computer Interaction>Minimalism


Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture

AIfIA is a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to advancing and promoting information architecture. Founded in 2002, AIfIA has over 400 members in 30 countries.

AIfIA. Organizations>Information Design>Human Computer Interaction


Barras de Mosaicos

Las barras de mosaico (TileBars) son una técnica de visualización de búsquedas en documentos que permiten hacerse una idea más clara de lo que nos devuelve un buscador, añadiendo la serendipia (descubrimiento accidental) al concepto de relevancia.

Dursteler, Juan Carlos. InfoVis (2002). (Spanish) Design>User Interface>Human Computer Interaction


The Convivio Network

the European Thematic Network for the human-centered design of interactive technologies. Convivio supports and promotes the development of "convivial technologies", ICT products, systems and services that enhance the quality of everyday life and human interaction.

Convivio. Organizations>Human Computer Interaction>Interaction Design>Regulation


Cr@p Error Messages

When writing software, *please* don't give error messages that are only meaningful to developers of the software. Microsoft used to be awful for this: "System fault at DEAD:BEEF, please contact your system administrator". Which would've been cool, except that I *was* the system administrator.

Bailey, Jeff. LiveJournal (2009). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>User Centered Design>User Experience


Depth vs Breadth in the Arrangement of Web Links

The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of depth and breadth of web site structure on the user response time.

Mtei, Lianaeli and Panayiotis Zaphiris. SHORE (1997). Design>Web Design>Human Computer Interaction>Usability


Designing for B2B and Enterprise Applications

It's not uncommon to hear people complaining about the poor user experience of some B2B and enterprise applications. Read through these top tips to help you design enterprise applications that offer a better user experience and increase productivity.

Baxevanis, Alexander. Webcredible (2009). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>User Centered Design>User Experience


Designs We Love To Hate!

Selections of 'least favorite' designs from graduate students of the George Mason University Department of Psychology.

Mintz, Farilee. Usability Interface (2006). Design>User Interface>Human Computer Interaction>User Centered Design


Do Students Really Feel Integrated With Computers?   (PDF)

This paper reports the results of a survey of senior Business and Engineering majors conducted at the University of Cincinnati. The survey's goal was to examine whether or not students felt integrated with computers yet, since the technological trend is towards a human-computer interface.

Stibravy, John A. STC Proceedings (1994). Articles>User Centered Design>Human Computer Interaction


The Effects of Perceptual Grouping on Text Entry Performance

One of the primary challenges confronting designers of mobile computing devices is the issue of efficient text entry. One potential solution is to group multiple letters onto single keys, similar to the T9 keyboard currently used on telephones. Two experiments examined the effects of perceptual grouping on soft keyboard transcription rates. Results from Experiment 1 showed significantly slower transcription rates for QWERTY keyboards with grouped keys. Results from Experiment 2 showed various levels of perceptual interference due to the different Gestalt grouping effects. These results indicate that perceptual grouping can negatively affect text entry performance, and placing multiple letters onto single keys reduces the speed at which users can transcribe words.

Hamblin, Christopher J., Michael Bohan and Alex Chaparro. Usability News (2004). Design>Usability>Human Computer Interaction>PDA


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


Fitts's User Interface Law Applied to the Web

Interface design is difficult in part because everything requires interpretation. A design that works for one task or one user might not be appropriate for another. In other types of engineering, like architecture or bridge building, designers can always rely on laws of physics and gravity to make designs work. There is at least one immutable rule for interface design that we know about, and it's called Fitts's Law. It can be applied to software interfaces as well as Web site design because it involves the way people interact with mouse or other pointing devices. Most GUI platforms have built-in common controls designed with Fitts's Law in mind. Many Web designers, however, have yet to recognize the powerful little facts that make this concept so useful.

Berkun, Scott. UIWeb (2000). Design>User Interface>Human Computer Interaction>Web Design


Fun Systematically

This position paper looks at two examples where the study of fun is at very least systematic, and quite possibly scientific. In the first, Virtual Crackers, a systematic process of 'deconstructing experience'; identifies the individual aspects of an experience (pulling crackers), which are then used to reconstruct a new experience in a new medium (the web).

Dix, Alan. uiGarden (2004). Articles>User Centered Design>Human Computer Interaction


Giving the Human Touch to Software

Making too many assumptions about users’ expectations and levels of competence can get software developers into a lot of trouble. Here, Yogita Sahoo tells her own story about designing an application for an industry she was deeply familiar with—but that industry knowledge didn’t keep her from making some big usability blunders.

Sahoo, Yogita. StickyMinds (2003). Design>Human Computer Interaction>Software



This site is meant to be an online museum of graphical interfaces, especially those old, obscure and in desperate need of preservation. For those interested in seeing how the GUIs evolved throughout the decades.

GUIdebook (2004). Design>User Interface>Human Computer Interaction


HCD harmful? A Clarification

HCD has developed as a limited view of design. Instead of looking at a person’s entire activity, it has primarily focused upon page-by-page analysis, screen-by-screen. As a result, sequences, interruptions, ill-defined goals – all the aspects of real activities, have been ignored. And error messages – there should not be any error messages. All messages should contain explanations and offer alternative ways of proceeding from the message itself.

Norman, Donald A. uiGarden (2006). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>User Centered Design


HCI Design for Network and System Management

All too often the people responsible for the care and feeding of the information technology infrastructure are poorly supported by the very technology they must manage, even as the popularity and use of networks (such as for the World Wide Web) grows. Corporate MIS staffs spend billions of dollars just on managing their computing infrastructures, and still they must continually cope with ineffectual products that do not support them in their work. A $2,000 PC may cost $5,000 to $10,000 a year to support.(1) This Special Interest Group (SIG) provided an opportunity for over 30 HCI practitioners and researchers in the domain of network and system management to share information about the problems faced by operators, system managers, administrators, and end users, and to explore new techniques in user interface design that might provide better support in the future. The group spent the majority of its time sharing information about design problems in a structured brain-storming exercise. Candidate areas for solutions were considered in response to the defined problem.

Graefe, Thomas M. and Dennis Wixon. SIGCHI Bulletin (1997). Design>Human Computer Interaction>Management


HCI Solutions for Managing the IT Infra-structure

In a kick-off Special Interest Group (SIG) at CHI 97, participants focused on key design challenges in the domain of network and system management. At the conclusion of the CHI 97 SIG the group decided it would be helpful to continue to meet and to provide a forum for exploring solutions to these key design challenges. The CHI 98 SIG provided an opportunity for over 30 HCI practitioners and researchers in the management domain to share information about work in several key areas.

Graefe, Thomas M. and Dennis Wixon. SIGCHI Bulletin (1998). Design>Human Computer Interaction>Management


Help Strategies and Their Effect on Graphical Icon Usage

An increasingly popular component of modern graphical human-computer interfaces are graphical command buttons. Studies have shown that graphical command buttons can enhance user productivity. However, two factors, the time required to acquire a working knowledge of the graphical command set and the need for frequent use to maintain the knowledge limit the effectiveness of graphical command buttons as a user interface strategy. This study attempts to quantify the effects of four types of help (balloon style, a mouse documentation line at the bottom of the screen, a help browser, and hardcopy documentation) on the ability of novice users to acquire a working knowledge of a graphical command set. The study did not find any significant difference (based on the anova and manova tests) between the four treatments.

McAlister, Britt and Chavi Greengart. SHORE (1997). Design>Documentation>Human Computer Interaction>Help


Human Computer Interaction (HCI)

Human-computer interaction (HCI) is an area of research and practice that emerged in the early 1980s, initially as a specialty area in computer science. HCI has expanded rapidly and steadily for three decades, attracting professionals from many other disciplines and incorporating diverse concepts and approaches. To a considerable extent, HCI now aggregates a collection of semi-distinct fields of research and practice in human-centered informatics. However, the continuing synthesis of disparate conceptions and approaches to science and practice in HCI has produced a dramatic example of how different epistemologies and paradigms can be reconciled and integrated.

Carroll, John M. Interaction-Design.org. Articles>Human Computer Interaction>Interaction Design>History


Human Error and the Design of Computer Systems

People err. That is a fact of life. People are not precision machinery designed for accuracy. In fact, we humans are a different kind of device entirely. Creativity, adaptability, and flexibility are our strengths. Continual alertness and precision in action or memory are our weaknesses. We are amazingly error tolerant, even when physically damaged. We are extremely flexible, robust, and creative, superb at finding explanations and meanings from partial and noisy evidence. The same properties that lead to such robustness and creativity also produce errors. The natural tendency to interpret partial information -- although often our prime virtue -- can cause operators to misinterpret system behavior in such a plausible way that the misinterpretation can be difficult to discover.

Norman, Donald A. JND.org (1999). Design>Human Computer Interaction>Usability


Human Factors

Human Factors is often used interchangeably with User Interface Design or Human-Computer Interface. There is a lot of overlap in these disciplines; however, Human Factors generally refers to hardware design while HCI generally refers to software design.

Usernomics. Design>Human Computer Interaction>User Interface



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