Fwd: [Usability] UI principles



Heya,
I thought that this should probably be sent to gnome-hackers
as a useful thing to read.

				See ya,
					Glynn :)
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Last GUP meeting I took on the action of proposing a set UI principles 
which we could use to base our design  and style guide decisions on. 
As with most things once you dive into something, you realise 
that the task is perhaps a little larger that you first imagined :)

Anyway I like a lot of the stuff IBM has done in this area:

http://www-3.ibm.com/ibm/easy/eou_ext.nsf/Publish/6

Simplicity: Don't compromise usability for function 
Support: Place the user in control and provide proactive assistance
Familiarity: Build on users' prior knowledge 
Obviousness: Make objects and their controls visible and intuitive 
Encouragement: Make actions predictable and reversible 
Satisfaction: Create a feeling of progress and achievement 
Availability: Make all objects available at all times 
Safety: Keep the user out of trouble 
Versatility: Support alternate interaction techniques 
Personalization: Allow users to customize 
Affinity: Bring objects to life through good visual design 

(which seems to have been based on work Jakob Nielsen did for them)

There seems to be an implied priority in the ordering. For example:
Simplicity would trump Personalization (and we all know what I 
mean here :-)).

One thing they do say in another document:

http://www-3.ibm.com/ibm/easy/eou_ext.nsf/Publish/1392/$File/ibm_uia.pdf

Principles 

Refer to fundamental ideals and beliefs that guide your
decision-making and courses of action in achieving a predefined
goal. Principles are fairly abstract. You must have extensive
interface design knowledge and experience to understand and
interpret them.

Guidelines 

Recommend specific courses of action, based broadly on a set of
principles. Guidelines can be construed as good practices within a
general design domain, such as Windows  GUI or Java  Swing.
They are generally more specific than principles and require less
design knowledge and experience on your part to understand and
interpret them.

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Extrapolating to GNOME in general

I think one of the reasons why we see the flame wars is that
the respective participants have a differing set of principles
(I guess you could call them goals as well) that they are using 
to base their design decisions on. And even if they have the 
same set of principles, people may well set different priorities 
on each of those principles. Unless we agree on a common set 
of principles/goals and their priorities then this type of 
thing is not going to go away.

Nils

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