foxfirefey: Dreamwidth: social content with dimension. (dreamwidth)
foxfirefey ([personal profile] foxfirefey) wrote in [site community profile] dw_design2010-10-24 12:22 pm

Recommended design reading

Cognitive dimensions of notations -- someone at the GSOC gave a great review of these. I'm putting my notes in below the cut, and it looks like there's also a nice printable tutorial.


1. Abstraction Level

If you have wrong abstraction level, users always need to translate into the abstraction level you need.

2. Closeness of mapping

In the kitchen, you have four burners and four valves with no obvious mapping so you always use the wrong one--one way is to shift the burners so the valves line up, or replicate the burner pattern in the valve placement

You are using a control that is far from the thing you are operating.

Depends on the audience and the field.

3. Consistency

Once you've learn one feature, how much do you need to learn to use another feature?

Example: having a right click menu on all items, using the same icons

There's also consistency with the operating system and system settings so users have to learn less and don't have to configure it separately

4. Diffuseness/terseness

How brief or tense your data is -- how much information on each screen do your users need? If you cram too much at once, you need information overload. If you don't include enough, they'll have to click or go out of their way to get it. What is the crucial information? Difficult decision. Need to do some testing.

5. Error-Proneness

How easy is it to make an error.

Design the interface in such a way that it's not even possible to make the error. What errors are possible, how can you avoid them?

Example: typing in a filename as opposed to dragging an icon to the trash

6. Hard mental operations

Example: resizing where the user has to calculate height/width proportions by themselves. Can have a input field for aspect ratio, or maintain ratio, etc

What data does the user have, what are you asking for? Ask for the data the user has, not modified version of it, so you avoid hard mental operations. Looking for something is a hard thing--for instance, in icon example, finding the file can be harder than typing

7. Hidden dependencies

Make dependencies obvious -- display things close together if possible so that you don't have situation where you change something and come back to your work to find other things changed completely. XML is very bad for thing for humans.

8. Juxtaposition

Example: diffs, because programming languages don't have this feature on their own

Remember what your users actually care about, make similar things close together

9. Premature commitment

Don't ask users for information they don't know yet--makes situations where the user has to go BACK to change previous information to match what they want later

With systems like LaTeX, you have to specify things like the width of margins before they see the document--can be hard unless they come with the specifications--would be better if the user could edit those margins when they are viewing

10. Progressive evolution

Connected, displaying partial results even when you don't have all the data yet

Example: you should display some circle if they give a position even if you haven't been given a radius yet

Bad example: programming languages

11. Role expressiveness

Is the role of each component obvious as part of the whole solution?

12. Secondary notation

Allows users to input things that don't matter to the computer for their own reminders -- example, comments in source code

13. Viscosity

How hard is it to change something once it's already done? Easier to edit is better.

14. Visibility

Is the information users need displayed? Is it displayed in the format the user needs?

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