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Chapter: User Interface Design

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Graphical system disadvantages

The body of positive research, hypotheses, and comment concerning graphical systems is being challenged by some studies, findings, and opinions that indicate that graphical representation and interaction may not necessarily always be better.

Graphical system disadvantages

 

The body of positive research, hypotheses, and comment concerning graphical systems is being challenged by some studies, findings, and opinions that indicate that graphical representation and interaction may not necessarily always be better. Indeed, in some cases, it may be poorer than pure textual or alphanumeric displays. Sometimes arcane, and even bizarre. Among the disadvantages put forth are these:

 

Greater design complexity: Controls and basic alternatives must be chosen from a pile of choices numbering in excess of 50. This design potential may not necessarily result in better design unless proper controls and windows are selected. Poor design can undermine acceptance.

 

Learning still necessary: The first time one encounters many graphical systems, what to do is not immediately obvious. A severe learning and remembering requirement is imposed on many users because meanings of icons or using pointing device have to be learned.

 

Lack of experimentally-derived design guidelines: today there is a lack of widely available experimentally-derived design guidelines. Earlier only few studies to aid in making design decisions were performed and available for today now. Consequently, there is too little understanding of how most design aspects relate to productivity and satisfaction.

Inconsistencies in technique and terminology: Many differences in technique, terminology, and look and feel exist among various graphical system providers, and even among successive versions of the same system. So the user has to learn or relearn again while shifting to next terminology.

 

Not always familiar: Symbolic representations may not be as familiar as words or numbers. Numeric symbols elicit faster responses than graphic symbols in a visual search task.

 

Window manipulation requirements: Window handling and manipulation times are still excessive and repetitive. This wastes time

 

Production limitations: The number of symbols that can be clearly produced using today’s technology is still limited. A body of recognizable symbols must be produced that are equally legible and equally recognizable using differing technologies. This is extremely difficult today.

 

Few tested icons exist: Icons must be researched, designed, tested, and then introduced into the marketplace. The consequences of poor or improper design will be confusion and lower productivity for users.

 

Inefficient for touch typists: For an experienced touch typist, the keyboard is a very fast and powerful device.

 

Not always the preferred style of interaction: Not all users prefer a pure iconic interface. User will also prefer alternatives with textual captions.

 

Not always fastest style of interaction: graphic instructions on an automated bank teller machine were inferior to textual instructions.

 

May consume more screen space: Not all applications will consume less screen space. A listing of names and telephone numbers in a textual format will be more efficient to scan than a card file.

 

Hardware limitations: Good design also requires hardware of adequate power, processing speed, screen resolution, and graphic capability.


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