Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Usability guidelines never grow old

This post is especially directed towards my fellow classmates in Dr. Graham's HCI class. I recently saw an article by Jakob Nielsen where he sampled 60 usability guidelines from the 944 created for military designs in the 1970s and 1980s. He felt that 90 % of these guidelines were still valid. He concludes that:
The more permanent guidelines tend to be those that are the most abstracted from technology. ... Usability guidelines have proven highly durable, and most hold true over time. Present-day designers should not dismiss old findings because of their age.
I'm reading Donald Norman's Design of Everyday Things right now and would tend to agree with Nielsen. While Norman's book is about doorknobs and phones, there are good principles that can be abstracted for computer interface design. I've summarized these principles from his book, for anyone who's interested, at http://ipt.byu.edu/~wiki/515/Main/RWNotes011105.

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