HCI International 2011

9-14 July 2011, Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, Orlando, Florida, USA

T13: Designing with the Mind in Mind: The Psychological Basis for UI Design Rules

Half Day Tutorial

Jeff Johnson (short bio)
UI Wizards, Inc, USA


Give HCI practitioners the background in human perception and cognition to be able to apply UI design guidelines and rules effectively.

Contents and Benefits:

UI design rules, guidelines, and heuristics are not simple recipes to be applied mindlessly. Applying them effectively requires determining their applicability (and precedence) in specific situations. It also requires balancing the trade-offs that inevitably arise in situations when design rules appear to contradict each other. By understanding the underlying psychology for the design rules, designers and evaluators enhance their ability to interpret and apply them. Explaining that psychology is the focus of this half-day course. The first half focuses on perception; the second half focuses on cognition.

  • Part 1: Perception
    • Introduction: UI design rules must be applied with intelligence
    • Factors that bias human perception: experience, context, goals
    • Our vision is optimized to perceive structure (Gestalt principles of visual perception)
    • People seek and use structure
    • Color perception: function, strengths, weaknesses
    • Peripheral perception: function, strengths, weaknesses
  • Part II: Cognition
    • Human attention and memory is imperfect
    • We think mostly about our tasks, not our tools
    • Human thought-cycle: goal, execute, evaluate
    • Recognition is easier than recall
    • Learning from experience & executing learned actions are easy; problem-solving & calculation are hard
    • Human real-time requirements

Target Audience:

Software designers and developers of all experience levels, especially those who did not take cognitive psychology in college. Also: Q/A engineers, usability testers, and managers.

Brief biography:

Jeff Johnson is Principal Consultant at UI Wizards, a product usability consultancy. He has worked in HCI since 1978. After earning B.A. and Ph.D. degrees in cognitive psychology from Yale and Stanford, he worked as a UI designer/implementer, usability tester, manager, and researcher at Cromemco, Xerox, US West, Hewlett-Packard, and Sun. Since 1996 he has been a consultant and author. He has taught at Stanford, Mills, and the University of Canterbury. He has authored numerous articles and chapters on HCI, as well as the books GUI Bloopers, Web Bloopers, GUI Bloopers 2.0, and Designing with the Mind in Mind.
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