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6.831 • User Interface Design and Implementation

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Fall Semester, 2006

AC5: Design Principles

The purpose of this activity is to explore some of the design principles presented in this lecture. You should examine the interfaces and applications on your laptop (or cellphone, or any other device you have with you) to find examples.

1 Modes

What is a modal dialog box, and why is it a mode?

Find two examples of modes (that we haven't yet discussed). For each one, are mode errors likely to happen? Why or why not?

2 Consistency

Find two examples of inconsistency (that we haven't yet discussed). Label each with the kind of consistency violated (internal, external, or metaphorical).

3 Direct Manipulation

Find two examples of direct manipulation interfaces (that we haven't yet discussed). Identify how each example satisfies the three parts of the definition (continuous visual representation; physical actions or labeled button presses; and rapid, incremental, reversible, immediately visible effects).

4 Visibility

Find two examples of interfaces that are invisible in some way. Brainstorm ideas for making them more visible.

5 Natural Mapping

Find two examples of natural mapping of controls (that we haven't yet discussed). For each mapping, is it direct? If not, why do you find it natural?