Re: TW leading GUI design team

Subject: Re: TW leading GUI design team
From: David Cramer <dacramer -at- videon -dot- wave -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 1999 02:15:38 -0500

On Mon, 18 Oct 1999, Anonymous Poster <anonfwd -at- raycomm -dot- com> proclaimed:

>I'm a lone TW within a software development group of a medium-sized
>company. I've just successfully lobbied to lead the usability/GUI design
>team for a new web-enabled application. This is a highly configurable and
>complex piece of Java-based software for the financial services industry.

I just ran across the best central link site I have found yet on User
Interface Guidelines. The Mac, Windows, and Java official Interface
Guidelines are all referenced here, as well as the Interface Hall of Shame
(which is only marginally useful, but generally pretty funny!)

One main point should probably be kept up front at all times, that a lot of
interface guideline decisions cannot be made purely on the basis of logic,
your own or anyone else's, but instead should follow the conventions of the
targeted platform/OS environment. Note that this may often be frustrating,
but consistency with what users expect may override good judgement. If you
follow up all of the references, you'll find some pretty drastic
differences in some really fundamental design issues.

Don't always depend on the gurus to tell you what to do, either. Alan
Cooper, for example, has some good points to make at times, but he's also
guilty of some pretty appalling design. Take all advice with a grain of
salt, use your judgement where it doesn't conflict with appropriate
conventions, and employ other people's input where possible without letting
them hijack anything.

For example, the most successful design process I have ever participated in
involved posting printouts of every design component/view/layout in a very
central, publicly accessible place, over a fairly long period of time.
Updates were posted regularly showing evolution of the design. Everyone in
the entire research-and-development department was able to comment,
evaluate, provide alternative ideas, and so on, without it being tied into
any kind of frozen formal structure.

Just my experience.



David Cramer, Process Innovation Evangelist 87-1313 Border Street
PBSC Computer Training Centres (an IBM company) Winnipeg MB R3H 0X4
Corporate Office Research & Development Canada

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