Human-Computer Interaction 3e Dix, Finlay, Abowd, Beale

exercises  -  7. design rules

EXERCISE 7.13 [extra - not in book]

What is the distinction between usability paradigms and usability principles? What are their advantages and limitations, and why are both important in system design?

answer available for tutors only

Designers have two approaches to developing usable interactive systems, and demonstrating their usability:
1. By example - successful interactive systems that are commonly believed to enhance usability serve as paradigms for the development of future products.
2. More theoretically driven, deriving abstract principles for effective interaction from knowledge of the psychological, computational and sociological aspects of the problem domains. These principles direct the design and evaluation of a product.

Paradigms have been dependent on technological advances and their creative application to enhance interaction. Principles are independent of the technology; they depend more on a deeper understanding of the human element in the interaction.

The problem with paradigms is that they are rarely well defined. It is not clear how they support a user in accomplishing some tasks, so repeated use of some paradigm may not result in the design of a more usable system. Derivation of principles for interaction has usually arisen out of a need to explain why a paradigm is successful and when it might not be. Principles can provide the repeatability which paradigms cannot. But principles alone may be general and abstract definitions which are not very helpful to the designer. The future of interactive system design relies on a complementary approach. The creativity giving rise to new paradigms should be strengthened by the development of a theory which provides principles to support the paradigm in its repeated application.

Other exercises in this chapter

ex.7.1 (ans), ex.7.2 (ans), ex.7.3 (open), ex.7.4 (ans), ex.7.5 (ans), ex.7.6 (ans), ex.7.7 (tut), ex.7.8 (tut), ex.7.9 (open), ex.7.10 (tut), ex.7.11 (tut), ex.7.12 (tut), ex.7.13 (tut)

all exercises for this chapter

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