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Content last updated 1998
screen interface design
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Designing a good screen interface requires that you know who the users are or will be.

You need to answer some or all of the following questions:

  1. Are there different types of users?
  2. How will the product help each type of user do their job?
  3. How much computer experience or expertise do they have?
  4. What computer equipment will they run your product on, for example laptops or NT workstations with 21" monitors.

These questions are important because without answers you run the risk of designing an interface that does not suit the target market. The secret of a good screen design is the consistent application of design rules that conform to the answer the three questions above.

Who are the users & how will they use the product?spacer
For example, an application designed to be used for many hours per day by engineers:
  • should emphasise efficiency aids such as extensive keyboard shortcuts
  • can usually assume that the engineers have considerable computer expertise,
  • will typically be run on powerful workstation computers with big monitors
An expert power user



compared to
By contrast an application designed for occasional use by everyone in the company:
  • should emphasise intuitiveness (assume zero training)
  • should not assume that the average user is an expert (or power) user
  • should run on anything from a small laptop at 640x480 upwards.
An inexperienced and probably untrained user
We recommend building and showing a prototype to some of the potential users.  It is surprising how often there is a difference between what users actually need and what the functional spec says they need.

We also recommend using some of the techniques for customer and user participation.

Build a prototype
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Copyright Khodes Consulting. Content as created 1998, site only 'maintained' in memory of David Singleton.