A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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Are We There Yet? Effects of Delay on User Perceptions of Web Sites

One of the chronic challenges that will be highlighted by emotional design is site download speed. There are many sources of delay in Web site and application delivery.

Straub, Kathleen. Human Factors International (2003). Articles>Web Design>User Centered Design>Emotions


Beating the Rap on User Interface Standards   (PDF)

When your manager asked (told) you to write a user interface (UI) design standard, was it a no-win proposition? Apparently many developers feel that way.

Schaffer, Eric M. Human Factors International (1996). Design>Web Design>User Interface


Can You Teach Me Moodle?

Teachers are a very pragmatic lot and love to borrow good stuff. Give’em a good one in Moodle and they will come! If a science teacher has a great solution using Moodle for a problem or idea her class and say, an English teacher sees it and ‘gets it’ - you can bet the English teacher will at least try or ask how to go about it. And coming from a colleague and a fellow ’struggler’ is a much more powerful thing than coming from the school’s main Moodle peddler like me.

Lasic, Tomaz. Human (2009). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Online


Challenging Current Practice

Is it better to have more items on a page and requiring fewer pages to be accessed (wide breadth), or to have fewer items per page and require more pages to be accessed (more depth)? Based primarily on studies reported three years ago by Larson and Czerwinski (1998) and Zaphiris and Mtei (1998), designers have been encouraged to construct broad, shallow sites.

Bailey, Robert. Human Factors International (2001). Design>Information Design>Web Design


Displaying Information

Do people learn more when they read material, only observe graphics, hear the material, or when they read, see graphics and read the material?

Bailey, Robert. Human Factors International (2002). Articles>Usability


Even Excellent Sites Benefit from Expert Reviews

Get the flavor of an Expert Review as Dr. Schaffer points out the strengths and weaknesses of 11 award-winning Web sites.

Schaffer, Eric M. and Phil Goddard. Human Factors International (2006). Presentations>Web Design>Assessment


Five Steps to Unlocking a Web Site's Potential   (PDF)

A systematic approach to the application of human factors principles to ensure customer satisfaction.

Israelski, Ed. Human Factors International (2000). Design>Web Design>Usability


From Inspiration to Action at A.G. Edwards

Discusses how his team of Certified Usability Analysts (CUAs) were instrumental towards making usability a routine practice at A.G. Edwards.

Nadel, Jerome and Pat Malecek. Human Factors International (2006). Presentations>Usability>Workplace


Heuristic Evaluations vs. Usability Testing

How many of the usability problems identified in a heuristic evaluation are true usability problems? Several years ago, I published an article suggesting that many of the 'problems' identified by heuristic evaluators were not problems at all (Bailey, Allan and Raiello, 1992). Even so, many of us have continued to waste time and go to the expense of fixing many usability problems that were not problems. Recently, three research papers were published that provided some insights into the validity of heuristic evaluations (Catani and Biers, 1998; Rooden, et.al., 1999; Stanton and Stevenage, 1998). The articles discussed usability testing in three totally different domains with very similar results.

Bailey, Robert. Human Factors International (2002). Articles>Usability>Web Design


HFI Certification: Fulfilling Your Needs as a Practitioner

Usability is more and more critical to online success, but most developers have no formal training in it and most companies have no formal program for it.

Schaffer, Eric M. and Phil Goddard. Human Factors International (2006). Presentations>Human Computer Interaction>Usability


Human Factors Measurement for Future Air Traffic Control Systems   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article provides a critical review of research pertaining to the measurement of human factors (HF) issues in current and future air traffic control (ATC). Growing worldwide air traffic demands call for a radical departure from current ATC systems. Future systems will have a fundamental impact on the roles and responsibilities of ATC officers (ATCOs). Valid and reliable methods of assessing HF issues associated with these changes, such as a potential increase (or decrease) in workload, are of utmost importance for advancing theory and for designing systems, procedures, and training. Method: We outline major aviation changes and how these relate to five key HF issues in ATC. Measures are outlined, compared, and evaluated and are followed by guidelines for assessing these issues in the ATC domain. Recommendations for future research are presented. A review of the literature suggests that situational awareness and workload have been widely researched and assessed using a variety of measures, but researchers have neglected the areas of trust, stress, and boredom. We make recommendations for use of particular measures and the construction of new measures. Conclusion: It is predicted that, given the changing role of ATCOs and profound future airspace requirements and configurations, issues of stress, trust, and boredom will become more significant. Researchers should develop and/or refine existing measures of all five key HF issues to assess their impact on ATCO performance. Furthermore, these issues should be considered in a holistic manner. Application: The current article provides an evaluation of research and measures used in HF research on ATC that will aid research and ATC measurement.

Langan-Fox, Janice and James M. Canty. Human Factors (2009). Articles>Usability>Human Computer Interaction>Assessment


Human Factors: Consultant Search

HFES is pleased to provide this searchable directory of human factors/ergonomics (HF/E) consultants and expert witnesses as a free service to potential clients.

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Careers>Human Computer Interaction>Consulting


The Hunt for Usability: Tracking Eye Movements   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Usability testing methods have not changed significantly since the origins of the practice. Usability studies typically address human performance at a readily observable task-level, including measures like time to complete a task, percentage of participants succeeding, type and number of errors, and subjective ratings of ease of use. Certain types of questions are difficult to answer efficiently with these techniques.

Karn, Keith S., Steve Ellis and Cornell Juliano. Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (1999). Articles>Usability>Methods>Eye Tracking


Icons: Much Ado About Something   (PDF)

Every battle has a psy-ops component, otherwise known as psychological operations. Each side attempts to demoralize the other and re-moralize its own troops. In UI design, the battle against GUIs from hell is no different. Recall the evil influence of cryptodesign – design ideas that work for certain situations but get misapplied in other, quite different circumstances. We’ve seen a lot of developer trauma associated with icon design: cryptohyperinconitis. But hang on. This article gives you, the troops in the field, some psycho-innoculation against the cryptic IMFAP syndrome (Icon Mania, Fetish, and Phobia)!

Schaffer, Eric M. Human Factors International (1996). Design>User Interface


The Institutionalization of Usability

Discusses practical usability, The Third Wave of the Information Age, the institutionalization of usability, developing a holistic strategy, measuring success, and getting started.

Schaffer, Eric M. Human Factors International (2006). Presentations>Usability>Workplace


Is Beauty the New Usability Attribute?

The beauty of a product can influence the users' overall impression or general user satisfaction of the product. Think iPod. But how do you measure that?

Hall, Mark D. and Kathleen Straub. Human Factors International (2005). Articles>Usability>Aesthetics>User Experience


Keeping Users Stuck to Your Site

Discusses the effect of drop-off and how usability initiatives reduced drop-off at Staples.com by 73%. This discussion begins with a definition of drop-off and moves into an explanation of the value of drop-off data. Then we delve into the correlation between drop-off and return on investment. Finally, we highlight two examples of Staples.com initiatives that were focused on reducing drop-off by using a systematic process of customer research and redesign.

Hynes, Colin. Human Factors International (2006). Presentations>Web Design>Usability


Key Tips for User-Centered Design   (PDF)

We interact with many developers when researching and designing GUI standards. Some of the recurring problems we find can be solved with knowledge of a few expert tips.

Schaffer, Eric M. Human Factors International (1995). Design>User Centered Design


Location of the Scrollbar

Are scrollbars located close enough to where users typically work with a Website or list box to encourage the fastest possible use?

Bailey, Robert. Human Factors International (2002). Design>Web Design>Usability


Managing the Knowledge Behind Business Decisions Through User-Centered Design: A Case Study

Jerome and Giovanni explain why efficient access to knowledge is essential for global business operations. Giovanni discusses how his company realized its systems needed improvement – and why user-centered design proved to be the appropriate solution. This empirical approach to interface design/architecture enables effective business decisions.

Nadel, Jerome and Giovanni Piazza. Human Factors International (2006). Presentations>User Centered Design>Streaming


Managing Your Defense Against GUI's from Hell   (PDF)

Check the number of times you walk out of an office complex grasping a door handle shaped to say 'pull me' while warning you with a label that says PUSH. The unwarranted generalization of 'handle' to both sides of a one-way door shouts cryptodesign at work. You’ve see your VCR mercilessly flashing 12:00 pm into the night (and day), reminding you of your slow-witted inability to set the time. According to a consumer survey, a third of TV viewers have given up ever setting a future video recording date and time. Cryptodesign succeeds in maintaining a useless machine interface. The message is clear. Cryptodesign says 'a technique useful for one situation is probably good in all situations.' The antidote requires that we breath life back into automatic design techniques. Let’s call the antidote 'soul design'.

Schaffer, Eric M. Human Factors International (1995). Design>User Interface



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