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HCI guidelines - use and misuse. Susan Turner. Now and next in MSD. This week - guidelines week 10 - case study & exam question week 11 - your turn research either HCI issues in the design & evaluation of virtual reality HCI issues in the design & evaluation of small mobile devices.

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Now and next in msd
Now and next in MSD...

  • This week - guidelines

  • week 10 - case study & exam question

  • week 11 - your turn

  • research either

    • HCI issues in the design & evaluation of virtual reality

    • HCI issues in the design & evaluation of small mobile devices

Today s lecture
Today’s lecture

  • Using guidelines and standards sensibly

  • Guidelines exercise

  • Guidelines for universal access

Guidelines and standards
Guidelines and standards

  • Guidelines

    • general purpose ‘rules’ in HCI texts and websites

      • most useful when include explanatory text

    • in-house and proprietary style guides

  • Standards

    • have formal authority


Smith & Mosier



Shneiderman s 8 golden rules of dialogue design
Shneiderman’s 8 golden rules of dialogue design

  • Strive for consistency

  • Enable frequent users to use shortcuts

  • Offer informative feedback

  • Design dialogs to yield closure

  • Offer simple error handling

  • Permit easy reversal of actions

  • Support internal locus of control

  • Reduce short-term memory load

Guidelines for web design
Guidelines for web design

  • www-3.ibm.com/ibm/easy/eou_ext.nsf/Publish/572

  • try also www.useit.com (Jakob Nielsen’s site)

Using guidelines
Using Guidelines

  • guidelines often conflict in specific instances

    • helps to understand the underlying reasoning

    • consider the requirements of the situation and decide which aspects are most important

  • basis of ‘heuristic evaluation’ (more in later lecture)

  • a collection of guidelines links

  • www.ida.liu.se/~miker/hci/guidelines.html


  • Set by (inter)national standards bodies, but often industry driven

    • International Standards Organisation (ISO)

    • International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee (CCITT)

    • British Standards Institute (BSI)

    • American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

  • prescriptive, rather than advisory

For example
For example

  • ISO 9241 Ergonomics for Office Work with Visual Display Terminals

  • ISO 14915 Ergonomics for Multimedia User Interface Design

  • BSEN ISO 13407 ‘Human Centred Design for Interactive Systems’

  • conformance usually by process not product

  • also European directives (e.g.90/270/EEC)

Iso 9241

General introduction

Guidance on task requirements

VDU requirements

Keyboard requirements

Workstation layout and postural requirements

Environmental requirements

Display requirements with reflections

Requirements for displayed colours

Requirements for non-keyboard input devices

Dialogue principles

Guidance on usability specification and measures

Presentation of information

User guidance

Menu dialogues

Command dialogues

Direct manipulation dialogues

Form-filling dialogues

ISO 9241

European directive of 29 5 90
European directive of 29.5.90

  • minimum health & safety requirements for employees who work with display screens

  • wide exceptions

  • employers’ obligations

In summary
In summary

  • Guidelines can be useful, but need thought in their application

  • Be aware of HCI standards

Universal design
Universal design

“Universal design for telecommunications and information systems means designing products which can be effectively and efficiently used by people with a wide range of abilities or in a wide range of situations.”

Universal Access Project, University of Wisconsin, 1995

  • need to be aware

    • as users

    • as designers and implementers

    • as support engineers

Justification for universal design
Justification for universal design

  • Legal and ethical rights

    • e.g. Disability Discrimination Act (UK)

  • Contribution to a more open society

    • move away from ‘disability products’

  • Broader market

    • expansion of technology into new domains and for new users

    • aging population

  • Broader application area

    • not just people with special needs, but ordinary people in special circumstances (low light, wearing gloves, noise…)

Relevant human abilities design
Relevant human abilities & design

  • Think about abilities, not types of people

    • vision

    • hearing

    • cognition

    • mobility and dexterity

  • designing for the elderly and children

    • some or all of these may be relevant

  • design proactively

    • avoid inadvertent exclusion

    • design to be accessible, usable and and acceptable

Ways of widening access
Ways of widening access

  • New features for hardware and operating systems

    • features universally available for compliant applications

  • Assistive technologies

    • enhance accessibility, but must be moved between computers

    • cost issues

  • Specialised applications

    • e.g. browsers which read pages

    • but people with special needs often work alongside others with standard applications

  • Usability features for mainstream applications

    • e.g. customisable colours to maximise contrast & therefore readability

Some assistive technologies
Some assistive technologies

  • Screen enlargers

    • like a magnifying glass

    • can set and move area of focus

  • Screen reviewers or readers

    • make text available as speech or as Braille

    • graphics only included if alternative text provided

  • Voice input

    • not just text, but also as substitute for mouse/keyboard control

  • On-screen keyboards

    • select keys using alternative input devices

  • keyboard filters

    • compensate for tremor, erratic motion, slow response time...

Did you know
Did you know?

  • Windows Accessibility Options (under control panel)

  • keyboard

  • sound

    • visual warnings & captions for sounds

  • display

    • high contrast options

  • mouse

A general approach
A general approach

  • Requirements/specification

    • include people with special needs in requirements analysis and testing of existing systems

    • consider whether new features affect users with special needs (positively or negatively) and note this in specification

  • Design

    • take account of guidelines

  • Testing

    • include evaluation against guidelines

    • include special needs users in usability testing and beta tests

  • Implementation

    • make sure programming team are aware of guidelines

    • if prioritising bugs for fixing, consider that some may have disproportionately more impact on users with special needs

Basic principles of accessible design
Basic principles of accessible design

  • Flexibility

    • customisable user interface to accommodate preferences

      • e.g. font size, menu arrangement

  • Choice of input and output methods

    • e.g. keyboard as well as mouse

    • redundant combinations of sound, graphics and text

  • Consistency

    • within and between applications


  • Number of users

    • give higher priority to features that affect more users

    • e.g. more people view documents than author them

  • Frequency of use

  • Necessity of use

    • give priority to features which are central to the product

Some useful links
Some useful links


  • detailed guidelines for Microsoft applications and more general advice


  • general advice on computing and related technologies for people with special needs


  • web site checking service - also provides guidelines

    *acknowledgment: much of previous material derived from here

A specific example designing for low vision 1
A specific example - designing for low vision (1)

  • Key principles - redundancy and flexibility

  • Keep to standard menu and dialogue box layouts

    • helps to memorise position of options

  • Provide keyboard alternatives

  • Use audio ‘tooltips’

  • Supplement visual prompts with audible signals (or vibration or tactile output, such as to Braille display)

  • Use shading and patterns for visual items to supplement colour

Designing for low vision 2
Designing for low vision (2)

  • Use characters of at least 7.5 mm or 16 point on screen

  • Use San Serif font for labels, etc., Serif font for text

  • Generally, dark letters on light background are preferable

  • Allow messages to remain on the screen until dismissed by the user

  • Allow text to be enlarged and colours, contrast and brightness to be adjusted

  • Provide documentation in media which will allow users to listen to it

In summary1
In summary

  • Be aware that guidelines and accesibility aids exist

  • Wherever possible, design for inclusion rather than exclusion