Chapter 5. Support the User’s Mental Models

Design for Mental Models

Eliminate Implementation Models

Prototype the Design

Test It Out

When we consider how to organize papers, we may think of filing cabinets. We fill filing cabinets with hanging folders, and fill those with manila folders, each with its own stack of files. We use labeling systems to help us remember what each folder contains.

In modern desktop operating systems, we can glance around a virtual desktop full of folders (represented by icons), spot the one we need, open it up, and scan its contents to find the file we need.

In reality, though, computers use addresses to tell them where each specific bit and byte is stored. The addresses on the hard disk don’t need to correspond ...

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