Assignment 1
Version 1.01

Interaction Experiments

Due - Friday October 16 at 9:50 a.m.

Question 1

Using both Norman's model and the interaction framework, analyze the following:
  1. The layer feature of Adobe Photoshop.
  2. The blend modes of Adobe Photoshop.
  3. Editing formulas in Microsoft Excel.
For each feature, create a model of the interaction using both Norman's model and the interaction framework. State how each feature either works well or poorly based on the result of your modeling.  Show how each part of the feature maps onto the model components.  When some part of the operation does not perform well, state this.  When part of the interaction matches the model well, state this also.

Question 2

Consider a textual command language for printing a document.  The format of the command is:
print [options] file_name
where the options are
-p printer_name  (omitting this uses default printer)
-r range         (page range like 1,3 or 1-3, 5 or 8- to print from 8 to end. 
                  if omitted prints all.)
-c copies        (prints multiple copies, 1 is the default if not specified.)
-a [e|o]         (print alternate pages, either even or odd)
-t [d|s|m|a|k|l] (print type - document, styles, doc with markup, auto text, key
                  assignment, list of styles)
-n pps           (print pps pages per sheet of paper)
-s paper_size    (scale page to fit on paper of letter, legal, A4, etc.)

Write down 20 different comninations of print options.  Take 5 minutes to study the command language.  Bring up a DOS shell and measure the time it takes to type each command.  You can refer to the documentation for the print command if necessary.  Do NOT use shell history to simplify typing during the first timing -- type each command by hand.

After timing these commands, select all of the options necessary to do the same print operation in Microsoft Word.  Measure the time it takes to select these equivalent options. 

Finally, repeat the timings for the textual commands using shell history and or copy and paste with the mouse.

Compare the results of these three sets of tests.  Which is faster.  What effect does learning have on timings?  Do people get better over time?  What can we conclude?

Question 3

Color is always attractive in user interfaces, but it can distract as well.  Moreover, it can cause problems for people suffering from various forms of colour blindness.  Develop a series of guidelines for the use of colour in user interfaces.  To develop these guidelines, investigate the various forms of color blindness.  Also, look at user interface standards for large organizations such as IBM, Microsoft, and Apple.  Check standards organizations such as IEEE, CSA, ISO, ANSI, etc. as well.  Your standards can be written as a combination of guidelines, or do's and dont's.  Finish off your guidelines with a list of the sources that you used to formulate your guidelines.

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