Course: GUI, web design, psychology and human efficiency

Towards perfect interfaces and webpages, using psychology of movement, perception, language, learning and thinking. Experience, usable, design, intuitive, look and feel, marketing, personal opinions and technology are put aside for one moment. Concrete requirements, direct application using 470 simple and known interfaces, evaluation of common sense and ... opinions and interfaces of participants

Towards perfect interfaces and web pages, using psychology of movement, perception, language, learning and thinking. Experience, usable, design, intuitive, look and feel, marketing, personal opinions and technology are put aside for one moment. Concrete requirements, direct application using 470 simple and known interfaces, evaluation of common sense and ... opinions and interfaces of participants. In general interface design is a rather practical profession. Just tell me what to do. Guidelines, norms and standards are tools frequently asked for. Real experts know that that will not work. Many problems have been solved using common sense and trial and error. But you cannot find a cure for a serious disease using common sense and trial and error. For interface design it was proved in


Practical basis

Can a training based on science be practical? Yes, it can. A theory is valid only when you can test it. Usually that is done using 'test items' for experiments. However, you also can make theory concrete using requirements and design solutions. Secondly, hundreds of interfaces are shown that straightforwardly are compatible or incompatible with the theory.
  • Many interfaces are from projects Human Efficiency participated.
  • One will known example is Netherlands Railways train ticket vending machine. This is a typical Human Efficiency interface, perfect for expert users and passengers of 92 years of age as well.
  • Windows and Office provide many examples of course. There are few Mac examples. Of course, Mac’s design and technology is better. The interface is much more practical. But the Mac uses traditional concepts as a desktop, menus and tabs as well. Most participants use Windows.


  • Some interfaces were specially designed for this training. These examples are pure; they show the application of psychology without taking into account other considerations. It takes a few seconds to understand the principles.
  • Other examples are designs of participants, of course.

  • Program

    The total program would take four days. Fortunately two day will do to pick up the general idea. The interfaces and ics brought forward by the participant determine which parts of the total program will be selected.

    Input design and psychology of movement

  • Reduce input: selection of options versus entry of commands, size of buttons (not standards for minimal sizes but how to use size, flexibility of size),
  • Reduce finger travel time: multiple clicks, anti-RSI, entry of numbers, subsequent positions of buttons, keyboard – pointing device switches.
  • How to arrange (screen) buttons: Why you should never use alphabetical arrangements, invisible structures for fingers versus visible structures for eyes and brains, Why there is no need to put the OK button on a standard position.
  • Evolution: Why voice input can not solve the interface input problem., From rigid database entry towards …
  • Screen design and psychology of perception
  • Perceptual properties of interface design elements: some physiological data on perception of size, form (icons, fonts, the presentation of a date, codes and numbers), luminance, colour (when to use which colour, colour for control of attention), contrast and dynamics. Application with interfaces compatible with this knowledge and, of course interfaces not compatible.
  • Reduce eye travel time: Where to position information, Why eye tracking research is not relevant to design, How to control eye movements, Why there is no need to start at the upper left hand cornerHow to present complex information in such a way that perception time is 233 milliseconds.
  • Reduce screen crowdedness: Crowdedness is not the amount of information on the screen but …, A screen is quiet when ….
  • How to arrange information on screens: tests for visual structure, design of a line (alignment, tabs), the presentation of lists (horizontal, vertical, words or icons), visual structures (one dimensional, two dimensional, three dimensional, frames), Why you never should use conventional tabs.
  • Evolution: From direct views in databases using rigid consistent squares on screens towards ….
  • Text design

  • How to reduce the number of words (the use of synonyms, homogeneous wording, and plurals).
  • How to identify incomprehensible words (incorrect terminology, homonyms, jargon, terms describing form versus terms describing content, affirmative wording, and specific wording.

  • How to arrange words in interfaces (risks of one word sentences, verbs and nouns), order of words, punctuation, and design of icon language.
  • Evolution: not voice input but restricted artificial language and application independent interfaces.
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    Help design and psychology of learning

  • Reduce memory load: Which letter for a shortcut when two options start with the same letter?, How to reduce short term memory load, How to deal with passwords. Why Are you sure certainly is wrong and the only and best solution for that problem, fourteen requirements for the hourglass interface.
  • Reduce learning: Why common help (tips, faq, wizards, help, assistants) can’t help. Learning psychological requirements for help and how the interface looks.
  • How to arrange information for learning: Why guidelines, norms, standards and consistency do not work. Which consistencies imposed by technology we are so used to that we do not notice them anymore. When does consistency work.
  • Evolution: From training how to press a button towards becoming an expert without noticing that.
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    Interface concepts and psychology of thinking

  • Reduce mental load: How to reduced mental load? Let the computer do the computing does not go without saying at all. What design decisions should be made by the user and not by the interface designer?
  • Reduce thinking: Why you never should use a metaphor in the interface (e.g. window, desk, bar, assistant, menu, tabs, waste basket, etc). What you should do when designing for abstract contents. Virtual reality versus cognitive reality.
  • How to arrange information for thinking: Why is a menu incompatible with the ways human think? What are the solutions for the navigation problem? How do they look on a screen?
  • Evolution: The turbo function human thinking is changing from a slave now to the master of a turbo tool computer in the future.
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    Method

    The program mentioned above is used when there is no input from participants. A disadvantage of taking the input of the participants is that at first sight the program becomes chaotic. However, from the participants point of view, chaotic it will be any way. Psychology as starting point is unusual and therefore, for most participants chaotic. In addition, learning is changing into a new situations, and one has to get used to the new situation. There is a very strong and reliable compass. There are five main roads only: human movement, perception, language, memory and thinking. A topic starts with an introduction (common knowledge, anecdote, a problem an attendee brings in). Psychological knowledge relevant to that ic is presented briefly. A short experiment with the attendees as subjects, may be performed. Then application using e.g. Windows, Office, design practice of the author and, preferably designs of the attendees.
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    Participants Psychological knowledge presented is not complicated. The most important requirement is open mindedness and a need for insight. All knowledge is immediately applied in concrete examples showing how to and how not to. Design aesthetics is important in design, however this course and many of the examples presented are designless. These requirements for attendees are more important than their background or roles in the design process.
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    Aims

    The main goal of the course is to provide the attendees with psychological information and methodology they can use in creating and evaluating design solutions. The problem is not the complexity of this knowledge but open-mindedness for this unusual approach. The approach is not learning to apply guidelines but insight to estimate the psychological benefits and costs
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    History of the training

    In the eighties the course focused on MS-DOS designs, in the nineties the focus changed to Windows and GUI and from 2000 internet applications were included. More than hundred courses have been given now, most of them in the Netherlands and Belgium (VIK) and some in other countries including Germany (Interact), UK and the USA (Software Quality).
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    When and where?

    Outside the Netherlands the course is given in company or in cooperation with local institutes. In most cases a two days format is chosen.
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    Search in humanefficiency.nl

    Examples of interfaces the
    trainer was involved with
    and contributed to.

    Road traffic signs

    Complex data



    Demo cognitief psychologisch verantwoorde 'kilometerteller', vooral voor de bestuurder van een zelfrijdende auto.

    complex process presentation
    Upper right red,
    Close to disaster

    complex process presentation
    All OK.

    complex process presentation
    Upper right yellow low,
    take care!

    complex process presentation
    Upper right yellow high,
    take care!
    Source: Verhoef Holslag,
    2010.

    leerroute beheers systeem
    Source: LBS/Holslag Verhoef.


    Sourrce: Holslag Verhoef


    How much information
    can be in one of these
    smiley?
    Source: Verhoef Holslag,
    2010.


    Design of tables


    Graphics for aesthetics,
    OECD house style.
    Source: OECD quarterly
    growth table.
    http://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx


    No graphics, data only.
    Same data as previous
    table.


    Same data as previous
    table.
    Graphics for content.
    OECD, adapted by
    Verhoef for demo.


    Design of scales







    One variable,
    six parameters,
    233 milliseconds
    perception time.


    An effective problem solving
    tool.
    Source: Holslag & Verhoef.


    Portrait or
    landscape?

    train traffic control information portrait orientation
    What is better for a
    train traffic
    controler?
  • portrait ...
  • train traffic control information landscape orientation

  • ...landscape?

  • Source: Holslag & Verhoef.

    What is better
    for car driving?
    tom tom autonavigatie scherm
  • ... realistic landscape?
    Source: Tom Tom, 2010.


  • auto route reisplanner reizen
  • alphanumerical portrait
    ...?
  • In this case the best
    orientation is ...

    Source: Verhoef, 2010.

    etcs ermts mmi dmi planning
  • abstract portrait ...?

  • Source: ETCS/Verhoef.

    Train traffic
    control


    How to present
    tracks and platforms?
    Presentation of tracks and platforms for train traffic controlers
  • This way?

  • Presentation of tracks and platforms for train traffic controlers
  • Or this way?

  • Source: NS/Verhoef.

    Public transport signs



    Design of in car systems


    Speed control information for cars.
    Point with cursor for an explanation.


    Design of train indicators

    Departure in 30 min.


    Grey half circle:
    Go shoping.
    Departure in 30 min.

    Departure in 15 min..
    Yellow 1/4 circle:
    Go to train.
    Departure in 15 min.


    Departure in 30 sec.

    Source: Amersfoort, The Netherlands, 2008.


    Orange half circle:
    Hurry up!
    Departure in 30 sec.

    Source: Experimental
    designs, Verhoef 2010.


    Trains indicator Amsterdam approx. 1990-2010

    Experimental design destinations indicator.
    Source: Verhoef.

    Design ticket vending


    Check in/out Dutch electronic public transport ticket system (trip costs, debit remaining, bye bye ).

    Experimental check in/out device.
    Source: Verhoef
    NS touch screen train ticket vending machine
    NS touch screen train
    ticket vending machine
    Routing problems
    solved using ...



    Ticket vending machine.
    Language optionfirst step
    (hierarchical solution)?
    Source: Belgium Railways.


    Ticket vending machine.
    Change language any time
    (parallel solution).
    Source: NS/ Verhoef.

    Netherlands Railways touch screen train ticket vending machine.

    It looks like a menu.
    However,
    no hierarchical steps.
    What is the structure?"

    Which button is
    to help whizzkids
    and it-specialists?
    Source: NS/Verhoef.


    coffee drink vending machine, use of gray out.
    The train ticket vending
    machine solution is general
    applicable. It also can
    be used for complex drink
    vending machines.
    Source: Verhoef.

    Road traffic signs


    Waterway traffic signs


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