A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

User Interface

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Information Design for the Small-Screen Interface: An Overview of Web Design Issues for Personal Digital Assistants   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

If the experts are on the mark, very soon handheld computer technology—--also known as the personal digital assistants (PDA)—--will supplant the desktop computer as ubiquitous technology on campuses and in the workplace (Weiser 1998; Chen 1999). In 1998, Gaston Bastien, vice president and general manager for the Personal Interactive Electronics Division of Apple Computer, noted that the handheld computer market 'could potentially grow larger than today's computer industry,' partly because of the capability of dynamic, modular design, and partly because its utility spills over to diverse communities of users. In 2001, Gartner Research (Bloomberg News 2001) predicted a 260% increase in unit sales, from 9.39 million units in 2000, to 33.7 million units in 2004.

Albers, Michael J. and Loel Kim. Technical Communication Online (2002). Design>Information Design>Web Design>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


InfoRomanticism on the Internet

The internet is becoming more data-intensive. This is both an inevitable and perpetual reality.

Olsen, Henrik. GUUUI (2003). Design>Web Design>User Interface


Innovating For Humans

Before starting to innovate, it is important to reflect on how different flavors of innovation are perceived by the people who will eventually use a product and what risks and opportunities are associated with each. Then comes the hard part: figuring out what the right innovations are and how to implement them.

Kinsolving, Ernest. Cooper Interaction Design (2001). Design>User Interface>User Centered Design


Innovative User Interface Design

Increasing numbers of websites are developing new types of user interface design, taking advantage of users' increasing levels of Internet-sophistication and faster connections. This article will have a look at some of them.

Fidgeon, Tim. uiGarden (2006). Design>Web Design>User Interface


Inside Out: Interaction Design for Augmented Reality

While ubiquitous computing remains an unpleasant mouthful of techno-babble to most people who know the term, and everyware is still an essentially unknown idea, the visibility of augmented reality has surged in the last twelve months.

Lamantia, Joe. UXmatters (2009). Articles>User Interface>User Experience>Information Design


Instructional Text in the User Interface: Some Counterintuitive Implications of User Behaviors

User assistance occurs within an action context--the user doing something with an application--and should appear in close proximity to the focus of that action--that is, the application it supports. The optimal placement of user assistance, space permitting, is in the user interface itself. We typically call that kind of user assistance instructional text. But when placing user assistance within an application as instructional text, we must modify conventional principles of good information design to accommodate certain forces within an interactive user interface. This column, User Assistance, talks about how the rules for effective instruction change when creating instructional text for display within the context of a user interface.

Hughes, Michael A. UXmatters (2007). Articles>User Interface>Help>Online


Instructive Interaction: Making Innovative Interfaces Self-Teaching   (PDF)

An innovative approach to enhancing ease of use and learning for novel user interfaces is described. Instructive interaction comprises a body of techniques based on a learning-by-doing model that is supported by three design principles: explorability, predictability, and guidance. Taken together, these principles form the basis for creative designs that can support highly efficient production use by experienced users while also enabling new users to understand and make effective use of an unfamiliar system almost immediately. The underlying principles of instructive interaction are presented here and an assortment of specific techniques based on these principles is described.

Constantine, Larry L. and Lucy A.D. Lockwood. Constantine and Lockwood (2002). Articles>User Interface>Documentation


Integrating End-User Support Into New Software   (PDF)

Most writers have little or no control on how their online support is integrated into the product. Except for contextsensitive links, most help systems, online manuals, and tutorials are standalone applications. This separation negatively impacts the usability of the product. Technical writers need to insist on integrating their support material into the product ifthey are to achieve Day-One Performance.

Timpone, Donna. STC Proceedings (1997). Articles>Software>User Interface


Interaction Design

Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction is an explanation of the design of the current and next generation interactive technologies, such as the web, mobiles, wearables. These exciting new technologies bring additional challenges for designers and developers - challenges that require careful thought and a disciplined approach. Written for both students and practitioners from a broad range of backgrounds, this book addresses these challenges using a practical and refreshing approach. The text covers a wide range of issues, topics and paradigms that go beyond the traditional human-computer interaction (HCI).

Perlman, Gary. Interaction Design (2002). Resources>User Interface>Interaction Design>User Experience


Interaction Design Association Resource Library

The IxDA Resource Library is an annotated collection of content on all aspects of interaction design.

Interaction Design Association. Resources>User Interface>Interaction Design


Interaction Elasticity

Usage goes down as interaction costs increase. User motivation determines how fast demand drops, following an elasticity curve.

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


Interface Design

Users of Web documents don't just look at information, they interact with it in novel ways that have no precedents in paper document design. The graphic user interface (GUI) of a computer system comprises the interaction metaphors, images, and concepts used to convey function and meaning on the computer screen. It also includes the detailed visual characteristics of every component of the graphic interface and the functional sequence of interactions over time that produce the characteristic look and feel of Web pages and hypertext linked relations. Graphic design and visual 'signature' graphics are not used simply to enliven Web pages--graphics are integral to the user's experience with your site. In interactive documents graphic design cannot be separated from issues of interface design.

Lynch, Patrick J. and Sarah Horton. Yale University (1999). Design>Web Design>User Interface


Interface Design

This course explore issues in relation to different expressions of interface design: software interfaces, web interfaces, and physical products. We will also spend a good deal of time exploring usability principles and concepts on which we can base our expressions.

Danzico, Liz. Bobulate (2003). Academic>Courses>User Interface


Interface Design and Optimization of Reading of Continuous Text

At present, we do not know how to optimize reading via electronic equipment. In this chapter, some considerations that may help us do this in the future will be raised, and some of the relevant evidence and theory that do exist will be cited and briefly highlighted. The focus of this paper is on reading of continuous text, whether in linear form or hypertext form, and with or without the presence of graphics or other types of information.

Muter, Paul. University of Toronto (1996). Articles>Typography>User Interface>Usability


Interface Design as a Life or Death Proposition

While the FDA has always required thorough documentation of product development, recent initiatives have instituted a more prescriptive, design-focused procedure encouraging extensive user research at the beginning of the development process.

LeMoine, Doug. Cooper Interaction Design (2002). Design>User Interface>Usability>Biomedical


Interface in Form: Paper and Product Prototyping for Feedback and Fun

Sketching and modeling are integral features of the design process, critical for both the generation of ideas, and the communication of concepts to others for discussion and evaluation, particularly in the context of human-centered design. While these methods are a natural component of the designer’s education and professional tool kit, there is immense value in exposing other professions involved in the development of products and interfaces to at least a limited set of these same basic tools.

Hanington, Bruce. uiGarden (2006). Articles>Web Design>User Interface


The Interface in the Environment: "One Size Fits Nobody"

At the outset of an interface design project we would normally conduct a detailed phase of user requirements gathering. We have discussed the various methods of conducting these in previous articles, but typically this includes stakeholder interviews and task analysis exercises. As many of you will be aware the results of this stage will lead to the development of user personas, task scenarios and ultimately lead to the development of wireframe screens of the interface. We tailor this approach to suit the job, so that specialised interfaces such as stock trading software will focus more on complex task analysis while mass-market interfaces such as Interactive TV will focus more on different user profiles. If the research and analysis is carried out well, then the resulting interaction design should be effective, allowing users to complete the required tasks easily. However, apart from the user and task there is one other key factor influencing the usability of the interface – the user environment.

Long, Frank. Frontend Infocentre (2001). Design>Web Design>User Interface>Contextual Inquiry


The Interface of a Cheeseburger

All things have an interface. Shaping interfaces is shaping the character of things. The brand is what transports the character of things. When looking at McDonalds, iPod, Nintendo DS it becomes quite obvious that the interface is the brand.

Information Architects Japan (2006). Design>User Interface


Interfaces de Usuario Atentas (AUIs)

Muchos de nosotros tratamos diariamente con diversos dispositivos que compiten por nuestra atención. Las redes inalámbricas, como WiFi, les permitirán hablar entre ellos, aumentando la complejidad de la interacción. Las AUIs (Attentive User Interfaces) vienen en nuestra ayuda.

Dursteler, Juan Carlos. InfoVis (2003). Design>User Interface>Ambient


Interfaces for People, Not Products

Without cooperation among designers of digital products, the proliferation of complex information systems can lead to unintended consequences--chiefly user fatigue, frustration, and the confusion that results from dealing with a host of variant user interfaces.

Follett, Jonathan. UXmatters (2006). Design>User Interface>User Centered Design


Interfaces That Flow: Transitions as Design Elements

Many UX designers--myself included--approach projects from a combination of information architecture, information design, interaction design, and visual design perspectives. These disciplines and their methods are fundamentally different from those people use to construct the continuous linear narratives we see and hear in film, video, and music. However, as the technologies for creating interactive user experiences become more robust--especially in the realm of Rich Internet Applications (RIAs)--we have an opportunity to draw upon a much wider visual vocabulary. This will also make narrative elements such as timing, pacing, and rhythm increasingly important. Using such design elements may enable us to move users from mere understanding to engagement and, ultimately, to immersion in our digital products and services.

Follett, Jonathan. UXmatters (2007). Design>Web Design>User Interface


Interior Design Versus Product Design

From my outsider’s point of view, automobile interior design seems to be first and foremost about appearance, about style. Function matters, but it is not the primary focus, except for anomalies, such as when consumers force cupholders down the throats of reluctant designers or insist upon easy to fold rear seats for SUVs and the ilk. It feels as if dashboard designers see functions as irritants: so many controls and devices, so little room. How can we ever manage?

Norman, Donald A. JND.org (2004). Articles>User Interface>Usability


International User Interfaces

Browse the complete table of contents for this book and read about international usability testing.

del Galdo, Elisa and Jakob Nielsen. John Wiley and Sons (1996). Books>Usability>User Interface>International


Introduction to Apple Human Interface Guidelines

These guidelines are designed to assist you in developing products that provide Mac OS X users with a consistent visual and behavioral experience across applications and the operating system.

Apple Inc. (2006). Design>User Interface>User Experience>Macintosh



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