The User Interface Design Process

Part 2 presents an extensive series of guidelines for the interface design process. It is organized in the order of the development steps typically followed in creating a graphical system's or Web site's screens and pages. In total, 14 steps are presented, beginning with “Know Your User or Client” and ending with a discussion of testing. Other topics addressed include considerations in screen design, navigation, screen-based controls, writing messages and text, color, and graphics. This organization scheme enables all the interface design activities to be addressed easily, clearly, and sequentially.

Let's first look at several critical general aspects of the design process. “Obstacles and Pitfalls in the Development Path” points out the realities of designing for people, and some reasons why design may not live up to expectations. “Designing for People: The Seven Commandments” lists the guidelines that are the cornerstones of the entire design process. Then, the concept of usability, the primary objective on any development effort, is defined and discussed.

Obstacles and Pitfalls in the Development Path

Developing a computer system is never easy. The path is littered with obstacles and traps, many of them human in nature. Gould (1988) has made these general observations about design:

  • Nobody ever gets it right the first time.
  • Development is chock-full of surprises.
  • Good design requires living in a sea of changes.
  • Making contracts to ignore ...

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