2 Vital Principles of User Interface Design and Evaluation
Most software have graphic user interface. The focuses of graphic user interface design and evaluation are exactness, ease of use and visual effects.
A well-designed interface can exert guide effect and lead users to complete an operation. Meanwhile, interface, similar to a human face, has a direct advantage of attracting users. Rationally-designed interface can bring users joyful feelings and a sense of accomplishment.
As a tester, you should do a test on whether the style of user interface can meet users’ needs and follow some UI design and evaluation principles. For instance, whether an interface is beautiful and visualized and whether the operation is user-friendly and easy to be done.
There being no fixed rule on what an interface should be, it depends on tester’s subjective judgment especially for usability and visual effect evaluation. Therefore, personal viewpoints should be better taken into consideration.
One thing to note is that there are some basic principles in user interface design and UI design and testing should be done.
There are various kinds of currently prevalent UI styles: the style of the browser used by B/S-structured software, the style of single-window and multiwindow, the style of resource manager, etc. No matter what kind of the style it is, great importance should be attached to the followinguser interface design and evaluation principles.
I. Ease of use
This user interface design and evaluation principle suggests that the names of buttons and menu items on the screen should be easy to be understood. Make sure that the right words are used; avoid confusing and misleading terms. Words and terms should make it easy to make a distinction among the buttons and menu items in the same interface. Ever better, users can understand the functions of the interface and make correct operations relevantly without referring to FAQ.
Here are some details of this principle of user interface design and evaluation:
1. Buttons with the same or similar functions should be framed by Frame; shortcuts should be supported by commonly used buttons.
2. Elements with the same functions or tasks should be placed on centralized location so as to shorten the distance of icon movement.
3. Interface should be divided into several zones based on functions; zones should be framed by Frame and be provided with functional specifications or titles.
4. Interface should support the function of keyboard auto-browsing button, that is, auto-switching function of Tab button.
5. Significant components and information that should be firstly input on the interface should be located at the front place of Tab order and the full position of the window.
II. visual effects
This user interface design and evaluation principle suggests that the size of interface should be aesthetically pleasing, harmonious and effectively arranged to attract user’s attention within the valid range.
This user interface design and evaluation principle includes more subjective judgments:
1. Length-to-width ratio should be mainly equal to golden ratio; disproportionality should be avoided; breadth shouldn’t be larger than width.
2. Layout should be reasonable, but neither too dense nor too empty; space should be utilized reasonably.
3. Buttons should be similar in size; names shouldn’t be too long lest interface space be excessively occupied.
4. Button’s size should be coordinated with that of interface.
5. Big buttons should be forbidden in an empty interface.
6. There shouldn’t be a large vacancy after finishing setting all buttons.
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