User Interface Design

Subject: User Interface Design
From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- FS -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Fri, 16 Aug 1996 14:59:04 +0800

Karen, a trained UI specialist is the right person for the job, but if
you don't have one, an enthusiastic tech writer is definitely the next
best thing. If you can't contribute to the interface, all you're doing
is putting make-up on the corpse.

Sue Gallagher's suggestions are all good. Another way to soften up your
developers is to help write error messages and on-screen help text.
This is often seen as a chore. Rewriting error messages leads to "...if
we rename this field and reverse the order of those and validate this
field, the error probably won't ever happen..."

Other references:

"Design of Everyday Things" is great.

"About Face" is good. Very opinionated, but lots of useful stuff.

"TOG on Interface" (Addison-Wesley) Bruce Tognazzini. ISBN: 0-201-60842-1

"The Icon Book" (Wiley) William Horton. Good on icon design (naturally)
and generally on design of visual interface elements.

"User-Interface Screen Design" (Wiley) Wilbert O Galitz. A bit dated, but
some good nuts-and-bolts.

Style guides for your platform -- e.g. Motif Style Guide, The Windows
Interface: An Application Design Guide, end so on.

The UTEST listserv. Like TECHWR-L but for UI Design and Usability Testing.

A newsletter, "Eye for Design", put out by User Interface Engineering.
(Mail to uie -at- uie -dot- com for details)

The STC Usability PIC

Chauncey Wilson's 'User Interface Design Bibliography'. Ten pages of
references to books on UI Design and usability testing. (Mail
to 71431 -dot- 2205 -at- compuserve -dot- com)

Good luck -- let us know how you get on. Coincidentally, I'm off to
Sydney next week for a UI blitzkrieg on four different products.
Stuart Burnfield (slb -at- fs -dot- com -dot- au) Voice: +61 9 328 8288
Functional Software Pty Ltd Fax: +61 9 328 8616

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