Design and Implementation of User Interfaces
a device uses a language, not too different from natural language. Languages
are easy to learn, when the vocabulary is easy to remember and the grammar is logical and so concise,
that it just fits the purpose of the language
Everywhere, where efficient communication is essential, language is reduced
to fit these requirements (Navigation, Military, Operating Room).
If a device is easy or difficult to operate depends on widgets,
which are easy to identify and operating procedures, which are easy to
remember, i.e. simple vocabulary and grammar. From those considerations,
simple rules may be deviated:
- UI elements with obvious purpose (explained by meaningful texts
or understandable pictograms).
Operation (press, pull, tilt, turn) demonstrated by form.
Use of established paradigms (e.g. WIMP).
- Clear feedback for any input, tactile, visible or audible
announcement. Especially important is negative feedback on invalid
- Similar sequences for similar processes. Intermediate states
have to be distinct and recognizable. When aborted, the system should be
put back into the original state. Shortcuts should not lead to
- The likeness of operating procedures and formal languages makes it
possible, to take advantage of the mature knowledge available for design
and processing of grammars for the design of user interfaces. All, what can be
described by a concise formal grammar is also easy to remember.
Procedures, which cannot be easily transformed into a formal language
usually annoy the users too..
These recommendations may look trivial, creating a good user interface is
.a long and tedious task.
Understanding of the users requirements, experience in design of UI layouts
and workflows, patience and careful evaluation of variants, all
together will make better user interfaces. And using an
for creating prototypes will limmit the effort to create a convincing