Badly Designed Parking Meter by nedrichards

Badly Designed Parking Meter by nedrichards

The influence of Norman and Viscente is strongly evident in the “Research-based web design and usability guidelines” as is evidenced in the attached concept map. It is easy to find examples of where the absence of these principles has caused a website or software application to become cumbersome and difficult to use.

One trait that information technology has given the human race is an unlimited capacity for impatience. This can be annoying or dangerous depending on the application. Managers of registration systems are familiar with this problem. Users waiting too long without feedback often press the submit button multiple times requiring the software or registrar to proofread the electronic registrations. This is even more critical for systems that require the use of a credit card. Many people will wait however if given appropriate feedback. “If computer processing will take over one minute, indicate this to the user” (p. 16). Often a moving progress bar helps the user to believe that the computer is in fact processing.

As Norman comments, “attractive things just work better” (Norman, 17). To this end, it is important to design systems that produce positive affective states. With the proliferation of high speed internet, we often forget to take into consideration all users. Users with dialup internet access or one of the “lite” services can very quickly become annoyed by pages with large graphics or flash animation. Sites that require special client software can also be problematic as the user must wait for the client to download and install before they can interact with the content. Security restrictions within many workplaces also contribute to this problem and often prevent the user from downloading or installing the appropriate client.

As we begin to build “L.O.R.I. 2.0” we need to take these principles into account. This application will require the ability to upload, download, index and display video data. Long download times mean that we will need to stream video. This in turn will require the user to download client software. By using common clients such as Adobe Flash™, we can prevent the need for such downloads.

Although good web design is becoming more and more common, mechanism largely pervades. Often we browse to a commercial web site looking for a specific piece of information. Unfortunately, “somehow we have to dance uncertainly to get the machine to do what we want” (Vicente, 2004, p. 119). As with any design, websites require both a Human-tech and emotional design approach. All of the principles in this chapter amount to one important idea: remember the user.

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