Re: Side issues

Subject: Re: Side issues
From: sanders_j -at- TBOSCH -dot- DNET -dot- GE -dot- COM
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 1993 14:57:25 EDT

Hi All,

>Has anybody out there developed standards or guidelines for the use of
>text in interfaces? I'm thinking of something similar to a style sheet,
>but for an interactive application interface. How did it turn out, how
>did you go about doing it, and has it proven to be worthwhile? Any
>pointers to share?
>|Len Olszewski, Technical Writer |"Never give anything a name that you|
>|saslpo -at- unx -dot- sas -dot- com|Cary, NC, USA|might have to eat." -Klingon Proverb|
>| Opinions this ludicrous are mine. Reasonable opinions will cost you.|

Well, I worked on some multimedia software, which is very similar to setting
up a good interface (except you do it everytime), and I found out a number
of things along the way.

Text should be as concise as possible, literally because you have so little
screen space to work with. It should be large enough to read easily from two
feet away or so (a little more than arm's length), and you should choose
colors for the background and the text that: don't clash, do contrast and
give your application a good look. Try to use names that quickly identify
what they represent; one of the best ways to do this is to choose names that
are common in most applications (like "save", "save as", "quit", "search-
replace", etc.). Even if your program has unique features (and it'd better!),
try to use the simplest possible term that won't be confused with too many
other things.

All this might be too simplistic for what you're looking for, I don't know. I
imagine that some books on usability testing (or articles in the STC Journal)
might give you some other hints. In fact the Journal has a regular article on
interfaces, I think. Or at least on-line stuff.

-John Sanders-

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