User Interfaces and Usability for Embedded Systems

Feedback to 'Looking Good - A Lesson in Layout'- Murphy's Law, August 2004

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Hello Niall,

Another good GUI reference I found is "Humane Interface" by Jef Raskin. This is one of the inventors of the Macintosh interface. It goes into the human physiological reasons for the design of the interface. Information applies to embedded systems as well.

Tim Flynn
Director of R&D
RMS Welding Systems


Some good ideas in the "Lesson in Layout." As you point out, it's left for later, and later never comes!

Worse for this artistically-challenged correspondent than unbalanced or less than ideal layout are these common problems:

1: Incomprehensible icons, i.e., most. If programmers must use an icon, then a mouseover should indicate what it represents, without fail!

2: Idiotic dialog boxes. My least favorite are those that start a debugger environment either by pressing "YES" or "NO" depending on how the question is worded. How about "DEBUG" or "EXIT"?

3: Spelling errors! Misspelling common words makes an otherwise compelling and felicitous interface appear to be the work of a (sorry) programmer. Check your figure 4.

Richard Factor



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