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201

Yes, people need multiple windows. For example, a web developer will be looking at 2 windows all the time - a text editor and a browser. Another more general example, people like to chat with friends using something like AIM or Skype or even facebook, all while watching videos on youtube. That would require 2 browser windows opened simultaneously. This ...


107

There is an old article I got from the ACM library on Human-Computer-Interaction that provides some useful feedback. (The ACM library is not very intuitive, but Microsoft have a PDF version of it) An initial study attempted to demonstrate that users are significantly more productive and more satisfied when carrying out complex, multiple window tasks ...


76

I've always viewed it as a matter of "state" tracking. When I use a computer, I am doing a task, not using a program. This task may be something as simple as check email, and only requires one window open. Or it could be complex, such as design a section of a code project. In the more complicated case, the task is independent of any individual program. I ...


58

"I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that." That scene from 2001: A space odyssey is a good example for why this can be a dangerous practice. Beware of anthropomorphising a computer to the point where the user starts ascribing malice to it. Error messages need to be non-personal to avoid the user feeling like the computer is complaining at them, or ...


55

Personalisation Igor. Content personalisation can be appropriate at times, like in an email or after login. Amongst a few, it makes the system appear more 'human', and can facilitate some personal 'bond' with the user. But one can argue that by attaching a name to a notification you won't achieve that (I see proper personalisation as real user-dependent ...


38

There are two big problems, from an internationalization perspective: How sure are you that your Name data contains the name the user is called by? Getting your name data format correct is a classically difficult problem. As soon as you add name wildcards to your error messages, they will become much more difficult to translate to other languages. Without ...


36

I work in a video game studio. Everyone, from programmers to artists, uses two to three screens with multiple applications and/or windows: programmers have a window with the source code, a window with the debugging information (registers, stack trace, debugging messages) and a window with the game running. level designers have a window with the assets ...


33

Yes, people do really want to look at multiple windows/monitors/screens at once. For various reasons. Working on a screen while monitoring something else, security personnel monitoring multiple devices/networks/places, stock trading, flying an airplane (I guess a pilot needs the information available always, not through clicking and restoring ...


25

I don't think this is about user intuition - it's much more about writing style and conventions. The norm in forms is that the heading serves a category label to the adjectives/nouns below. So Car Features should do the trick here. Another norm is to use imperative statements, but mostly for interactive controls (not labels), still you could also phrase ...


20

I strongly believe that the user should know all of the charges. I think you should give the user a final calculated value and not go into much detail about the travel charge. In other words, say that there is a travel charge, show the amount and end it there. Additionally, the users usually aren't interested about charges unrelated to them, so also avoid ...


13

You could always use a Mad Libs style: I drive a [Color v] [Brand v].


12

Usually justifications for having hidden content come from a misplaced desire to reduce scrolling or to (rightly) let the user see all of the questions without getting distracted by the answer text. There is a better way to do this: a list of questions at the top with anchor links within the page to the question and answer. download bmml source ...


12

You could try using the same approach Eclipse uses (or any other Java program I guess). They're using checkbox to indicate that all elements of the group are selected and a --symbol if only some of them are selected. Nothing selected All selected Not all elements selected One plus is that it's easy for the user to (un-)select the whole group. ...


11

The most relevant research I could find on this topic is a little dated. Fundamentally, adding user names to error messages deals with humanizing an interface. In a study of using human faces as part of computer interface [1] (admittedly, a step well beyond just including user names), the researchers found that increasing the humanization of an interface ...


9

For content consumption, it may not be that important since the user is going to be focused on the content they are consuming. This is why such an interface works well on content consumption devices like tablets. For actually getting work done however, it is frequently critical to have multiple windows open in parallel. Looking at my desktop right now, I ...


8

You are facing a problem that Google has already solved and extensively tested, so copy them. In essence it is: Use a query language that is appropriate for your audience - Lucene is a decent choice for this. Query languages are faster for advanced users to use, and is what most search engines allow. Offer an "Advanced search" link/tab/button that shows ...


7

Combining the two fields into one is confusing. For instance, it's not clear from the image you included what the button does and what I'm supposed to enter in the field. From your explanation it's clear that you want to allow both options. In these cases, the best way to do that is to actually show the user the two different options. If space is a concern ...


7

As others said, you should look into generating HTML files that you ship with your product for help. One of our products (used in an environment without internet access) has been doing this for years and many users prefer it to the PDFs we also ship because the navigation is easier, the content lays itself out to fit the browser window, and the chunk size ...


7

I would hope that it is not controversial to say that multiple on-screen windows are extremely important or even essential for many computer tasks. For web-browsing tasks as well, especially with how many tasks can now be performed via a web browser, there are certainly many cases where seeing multiple browser windows at once is important to the user. But ...


7

I am always amazed at people who think their way of using a computer is the only way there is. Having several windows side by side can be useful and productive. And in some user cases, it's not only "nice", it's vital. proofreading a translation: Source on one side, translation on the other. Working with one window at a time is unworkable. Programming: ...


6

Keep it vague. Say something like "travel charges may apply to extended locations, contact us for details." This way, if you do live one street out of bounds, the business owner has the option to waive the fee, negotiate it, etc. Who knows, maybe it's a big job that he is charging a lot for anyway and decides that he would rather take the job and forget ...


6

People don't read. The best help is no help. Of course to do that, you need to put a ton of time and work into the UX. So, assuming you do need help, I'd suggest the best would be context sensitive help that can link to your web site with the latest up-to-date help information. You'd publish help as HTML, saving you from proprietary CHM production ...


6

IMO this screen is problematic because: It's deterring for the user, as every single option appears non trivial (since it requires an explanation). Being the heaviest and most colorful element, makes it be the center of attention instead of the supportive role it should have. So much repetition usually implies a more "global" approach has to be used. ...


6

Although 2001 SO is one of my favourite movie, here are a few things to keep in mind: Users don't like to read, the shorter the better. Kudos if it smarts and eventually witty. As a user, I would find quite redundant (and annoying) to have to read my name every 2 minutes. I'm already engaged in this 1 to 1 interaction with the interface. In a conversation, ...


6

I think you could use sparklines as a compact visualization tool. This view is not precise, but it allows to view errors distribution and total error count for each process. More precise information is displayed in process specific screen. Light grey bar is an observation time window (a week or two, etc.). Dark line is an error occured within observed ...


6

I'm wondering if the success/fail values in your graph have the same properties as those generated by a continuous integration server: Successful builds are essentially boring Sequential failed builds usually have the same cause If so, you could bundle "runs" of the same status together in the chart, something like this: (The righthand five bubbles ...


6

The table is not organized in proper way, so you are trying to overcome this issue with your options. The problems are: Established reading pattern (by rows) makes it hard to distinguish the number (83%) as subtotal. It is perceived as normal row rather than subtotal one. Placing missed items info within the table is a logic error. The format of this row ...


5

When you tested this, how was the question phrased? Was it: "Can you complete this form? Which one did you like better?" Or was it: "Which method of invoking tool tip do you like better?" If it is the latter, then you may have inadvertently influenced the outcome in favor of clicking the "i", because the question itself explains to the user what ...


5

The conventional placement of a software version number is in the About message box. You reach it through the menu Help > About and have a window that can look very different between applications, but here is one example:


5

What is the context in which the version number is important? I have only looked for the version number when I'm troubleshooting or updating the software. Under that circumstance, the version number should be incredibly easy to find or it'll compound my effort in trying to complete an inherently frustrating task. Having said that, the version number in ...



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