This study examined the effects of mouse pad usage on performance of a target acquisition task. Results indicated no performance difference between three specialized mouse pads, a traditional mouse pad and no mouse pad. In addition, no significant differences were found between each of the mousing surfaces based on kinematic data. The results suggest that manufacturer claims of increased performance cannot be supported by empirical evidence.
Why do so many applications provide a poor user experience as a result of their not behaving properly? I can think of several possible reasons why some applications don’t behave as they should.
Students are always asking what they can do to position themselves for a professional career in human factors. The following article summarizes some of my thoughts on the subject, along with advice I have received over the year.
In this course, students work on collaborative projects to design innovative human-computer interactions (HCIs) aimed at transforming the way people do things in their everyday lives at work, in the home, and at play. Students work with activity analysis to observe and analyze everyday practices, with object-oriented modeling to represent and transform those practices, and with UI prototyping for selected implementation. The course serves as the capstone in the HCI MS Certificate but is open to any junior or senior with technical skills seeking an opportunity to engage in an extended design studio leading to an HCI design. Prerequisites: In general: at least one course in one of the following areas: web design, database design, graphics design, document design, or software engineering design. For those completing the MS Certificate in Human-Computer Interaction: Fundamentals of HCI Usability, Electronic Coaching Systems, and Communication Design for the Web.
The human factors specialist and the technical communicator find themselves making similar decisions or weighing similar issues. For example, often it is difficult to decide when to use symbols versus words. Sometimes you cannot shortcut and use pictures because pictures do not convey enough information.
In this paper we critically review task analysis models and techniques. These approaches to task analysis are discussed in order to develop a richer picture of human activity, while analyzing their limitations, general weaknesses, and possibilities for improvement. We consider their ability to determine the appropriate set of atomic actions in a task, their effect on workers’ motivational needs, their support of users’ cognitive and sociocultural processes, and their effectiveness in supporting interface design. We note that the major approaches have focused on very different levels of analysis, and call for greater integration of these different levels in task analysis theory.
What the design student needs is a design course that stresses usability, human factors, and clarity, instead of the typical branding and interpretation problems they usually encounter in their other design classes. James Spahr recounts a year of teaching at Pratt Institute that attempts to cross those boundaries.
Technical communicators create support products that mediate between people and their computers. However, human-computer relations of the future may not require the reading of manuals or even direct manipulation of the interface. These relations may be delegated to agents, computer surrogates that possess a body of knowledge about something and about the user in relation to that something. A new class of applications may suggest information relevant to the user's situation, proactively offering advice that the user didn't know to ask for. Technical communicators will have continuing roles in enabling users because of their knowledge of the ways that people want to learn from machines. The skills required for technical communicators in the next computer revolution will change at least as much in the next 5 years as they have in the past 5 years.
They're rarely helpful. Actually, they usually add insult to injury. But what would computing be without 'em? Herewith, a tribute to a baker's dozen of the best (or is that worst?).
This is a summary of a talk on eyetracking for HCI students at Lancaster University in the UK. Feedback showed that students felt more able to conduct eye tracking research after attending the session.
How can we choose among customer data collection methods when limited staff and financial resources must be spread across the whole development cycle? This tutorial helps participants understand the tradeoffs, so they can make effective choices among methods at different points during product design and development. It focuses on early user-centered intervention to gain cost-effective, reusable end-user information.
Touchscreen devices can only work well if both hardware and software are uniquely optimized for touch interaction. Simply adding touch interaction to an existing device will make the user experience worse instead of better.
As UX professionals, we often take for granted the fact that our users will be dealing with a keyboard, mouse or track pad, and monitor. We think about users’ physical relationship with their digital devices very selectively, if at all. But, as we explore new human interface devices and incorporate new interactions into our designs, we have the opportunity to create deep connections between users and their technology.
Ever wonder why we find graphical user interfaces, hypertext, and multimedia so appealing? Some of the appeal has to do with language itself which is the basis of human transactions, and some of it has to do with our conditioning as a literate society. Literacy builds on visual as well as verbal skills. This paper traces the roots of language to the ascendancy of print technology to explain how visualization is the foundation of literacy.
This archival journal publishes original research that spans the field of human-computer interaction. Beginning with its first issue in March, 1994, it has sought to present work of high scientific quality that contributes to practice in the present and future. The primary emphasis has been on results of broad application, but the journal considers original work focused on specific domains, on special requirements, on ethical issues -- the full range of design, development, and use of interactive systems.
Trust emerges from interaction. If trust in information systems is to be promoted, then attention must be directed, at least in part, to interaction design. This paper explores issues of trust in the interactions between users and systems from the perspective of interaction design. It considers a variety of pragmatic aspects in interaction design that impact user trust, including, predictability, interface stability, user control, and the match between expectations and performance. It critically examines contemporary design practices, such as adaptive interfaces, in terms of their impact on user trust.
This study evaluates the usability of computer-based avionics system using a methodology described by Schvanevelt, Berringer & Leard (2004) which calculates the accessibility of information based upon the priorities users place upon the individual information sources. We discuss some of the unique usability issues facing engineers designing hardware and software for technically-advanced avionics systems.
In this work, the usability of a randomized numeric keypad was examined and compared to the usability of a conventional numeric keypad. The comparison used completion time measurements and the error rate of short (4-digit) and long (8-digit) PINs to contrast efficiency and accuracy of the keypads. The results showed that the average completion time with a randomized keypad is longer than with a conventional keypad. Additionally, the number of errors with a randomized keypad was significantly higher than with a conventional keypad, particularly when using long PINs. Accordingly, a randomized numeric keypad is more applicable to tasks with short (4-digit) PINs.
I have always been bothered by how difficult it is to subscribe to RSS/Atom feeds. Consider the user experience -- Someone sees an orange button with an unfamiliar acronym, they click it, and the browser starts spewing undecipherable code.
Little information is known on user attitudes toward corporate style guides (CSGs). A national survey shows that an overwhelming 93% of users and 85% of non-users advocate CSG usage primarily to generate consistency in documents, to save time generating documents, and to create a professional look in documents. As corporations face the future by restructuring, usually by downsizing, and by competing more in a global economy, CSG usage will be more prevalent in corporate America, as the results of this survey indicate that CSGs are an economical quality tool that benefits both the user and the corporation.
Without user observation testing, the usability of your web site is virtually unknown. Surveys are worth little, since those surveyed tend to tell you what they think you want to hear. Staff opinions are nice, but biased and they are not typical users. Heuristic (general guidelines-based) evaluation is helpful, but remains theoretical until tested on actual, representative users as they attempt to find information or perform tasks at your site.