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  1. Graphical User Interfaces Andy Mayer

  2. References • Ritter, D.J. LabVIEW GUI Essential Techniques. McGraw Hill, 2002. - Quotations from Page 10/11, Page 22 Figure 2-5, and Appendix B • Mullet, K. & Sano, D. Designing Visual Interfaces – Communication Oriented Techniques. Prentice Hall, 1995. • LabVIEW Style Guide

  3. What goes into a GUI [1] • The look (10%) • Aesthetic quality of organization and layout • Color choices • Font choices • Graphic elements • Overall visual impression • Consistency

  4. What goes into a GUI [1] • The feel (30%) • GUI object choices – Does behavior match functionality • GUI object location, proximity – Affect on task flow • Access to critical and frequently used items • Navigation and freedom of movement • Appropriate feedback for each user action • Interface text: button, menu, and dialog labels and messages

  5. What goes into a GUI [1] • Conceptual elements (60%) • System metaphors • Ease of use • The power of each GUI action • Depth of GUI • Flexibility and capacity for growth and change

  6. The Software Development Process • Process experts • Users • Programmers

  7. Successful Software: Avoiding Unpleasantly Surprised Users • Early GUI • Prototypes • User interaction • Watch users interacting with the program • Good understanding of the usage model • User buy-in

  8. Evolving User Understanding [1]

  9. How Users Navigate • Exploration and unveiling process • Expected functionality • Analogies to the real world • Forgiveness • # clicks to perform an action

  10. Efficient Interfaces • Streamlined design • Simplification • Leverage • Reduction

  11. The Final Product • The programmer mostly looks at the code • The user only looks at the GUI • Programmers often put relatively little effort into what the customer is actually evaluating

  12. Helping the User • Short term memory • Consistency • Users will attempt to add meaning to elements whether or not the programmer intended it

  13. Visual Techniques – Use of Color • Use of color • 3-5 colors • Incremental impact of each additional color • Don’t do this • Don’t do this • Don’t do this

  14. Visual Techniques - Layout • Ratios • Grids • Templates • To frame or not to frame

  15. Alignment • Visual weight

  16. An Example before Part 2

  17. GUI Design Checklist [1] • The GUI reflects the user’s mental model rather than the implementation model • Program features and functions support only required user goals. • No superfluous features have been added simply because they are easy to implement or as a result of the personal biases of the programmers

  18. GUI Design Checklist [1] • The GUI design reflects the expected characteristics and abilities of the user population • Visual, physical, and cognitive abilities • Cultural and technical background • Domain experience • Education level • Etc..

  19. GUI Design Checklist [1] • The GUI design reflects any unusual characteristics of the user’s environment • Dangerous or hazardous work areas • Excessive noise • Bright or dim lighting • Etc..

  20. GUI Design Checklist [1] • The design is optimized for human perception and information processing abilities • Short term memory considerations • Recognition over recall

  21. GUI Design Checklist [1] • All user classes are adequately represented and the potentially diverse needs of user classes are balanced appropriately • All GUI items are prioritized. Critical and frequently accessed items are prominent and more easily accessed than less important items

  22. GUI Design Checklist [1] • All unnecessary GUI controls and indicators have been eliminated • The GUI heirarchy geometry is optimized to reduce panel clutter and to minimize the total number of clicks required to access each function

  23. GUI Design Checklist [1] • Panel layouts and GUI object placement logically reflect user tasks sequences • The user is never required to jump between panels or applications to complete a single task • Where possible, all necessary controls for each task are accessible from a single panel

  24. GUI Design Checklist [1] • The user is not required to manually copy information displayed on one panel into a control on another panel. • The program automatically transfers shared information between panels and eliminates unnecessary busywork for users

  25. GUI Design Checklist [1] • Tedious, mundane, and predictable tasks are automated to improve user efficiency, but not at the expense of adequate user control • Qualified users are permitted to modify or bypass automation as necessary

  26. GUI Design Checklist [1] • Tool tips, control descriptions, and keyboard shortcuts have been included for power users • User actions and task sequences lead naturally from one to the next

  27. GUI Design Checklist [1] • The function of all GUI items is visually apparent and all objects including custom controls behave as expected. • GUI buttons look and respond like real buttons from the physical world and don’t produce unexpected outcomes

  28. GUI Design Checklist [1] • GUI metaphors, visual or otherwise, are natural and consistent with their real-world counterparts • The GUI adheres as necessary to applicable standards documents and company wide style guides.

  29. GUI Design Checklist [1] • Direct user feedback has been collected and all design shortcomings have been (or will be) addressed in subsequent iterative cycles. • Documentation and help files have been created with the same level of enthusiasm and attention to detail as the software.

  30. GUI Design Checklist [1] • Panels appear immediately uncluttered and organized. • The style and mood of the GUI design are appropriate for the application and its expected users • The design style is consistent from one panel to the next, and all panel look as though they belong to the same application.

  31. GUI Design Checklist [1] • A limited number of unique design elements – control and indicator types, colors, fonts, proportions, and so forth – are used consistently and thematically thereby creating a sense of application-wide unity • Limited color palettes have been selected and applied consistently to enhance both aesthetics and mental model development. • Bright colors are used sparingly to attract the user’s attention.

  32. GUI Design Checklist [1] • The layout of each panel creates a visual hierarchy, drawing the users’ eyes to the most important items first. • GUI items are arranged and ordered to reflect natural visual scanning patterns (left to right, top to bottom in Western cultures). Task sequences are mapped directly to the natural scanning patterns to improve user productivity.

  33. GUI Design Checklist [1] • Positive and negative space have been used effectively to make panel design appear balanced and uncluttered. • GUI text, control labels, and menu text is clear, descriptive and concise. • Controls have been grouped to permit the elimination of redundant label text. • Error messages are brief, informative, and designed to help users locate and overcome difficulties. • Unnecessary technical jargon has been eliminated from panels and dialog boxes.

  34. GUI Design Checklist [1] • The selected font style, size, and color combinations provide adequate readability for users with common visual deficiencies. • Where panel resizing is permitted, panels have been designed to resize gracefully. • Bitmapped graphics have been avoided on resizing panels and the number of decoration elements have been kept to a minimum.

  35. GUI Design Checklist [1] • GUI panels targeted for cross-platform deployment have been verified visually on all target platforms. • Panels have been designed to provide a pleasing visual presentation, but form always follows function.

  36. Example - old

  37. Example - new

  38. References • Ritter, D.J. LabVIEW GUI Essential Techniques. McGraw Hill, 2002. - Quotations from Page 10/11, Page 22 Figure 2-5, and Appendix B • Mullet, K. & Sano, D. Designing Visual Interfaces – Communication Oriented Techniques. Prentice Hall, 1995. • LabVIEW Style Guide