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Human - Computer Interface Standards

It is often assumed that a standard means a precise specification. Such standards have brought benefits in many fields, i.e.:
  1. bolts which screw into nuts,
  2. ATMs which can read credit cards, and
  3. compilers which can read programming languages.
Some HCI standards are also of this type: many design guides provide a detailed specification of the nature of the user interface. Although standard user interfaces provide the benefit of consistency, they become out of date as technology changes, and are usually only appropriate for limited types of users and tasks. Thus most work on international standards for HCI has not been about precise specification, but instead has concentrated on the principles which need to be applied in order to produce an interface which meets user and task needs. These standards broadly fall into two categories.
  1. One is a "top-down" approach which is concerned with usability as a broad quality objective: the ability to use a product for its intended purpose.
  2. The other is a product-oriented "bottom-up" view which is concerned with aspects of the interface which make a system easier to use.
The broad quality view originates from human factors, and standards of this type are applicable in the broad context of design and quality objectives. The product-oriented view concentrates on the design of specific attributes, and relates more closely to the needs of the interface designer and the role of usability in software engineering.

Color choice can be important for visual clarity as well as for communicating some aspects of content organization

Colors: In choosing colors, avoid causing eyestrain for users. For example, large blocks of text should be high contrast to the background, such as black and white.

Which visual aspects of this page can be improved

White/Empty space: People generally prefer pages that balance content with white space or empty space. A page full of content with no breaks for the eye can overwhelm users and obscure the most important content.

What might be done to present this information in a more user-friendly way?

Chunking: In order to keep content segments at a manageable size for each page, it may be necessary to segment or chunk copy so that it fits in a standard browser window.

What layout techniques could be used to organize this content for easy consumption?

Scannability: People tend to scan online. Few users read every word on a web page. This means that structural features such headings and sidebars become even more important on the web.

What problem might a user have with a page like this one?

Graphic size / download time - Most users expect fast downloads and look unfavorably on sites that have long download times. Large graphics can significantly slow download time. Your creative role team members will know how to optimize file size, but consider using smaller and simpler images to speed loading times.