On-Line Guidelines Repository
Université catholique de Louvain, Institut d'Administration et de Gestion
Place des Doyens, 1 - B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
Phone: +32-(0)10-47 85 25 - Fax: +32-(0)10-47 83 24
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Involving User Interface (UI) guidelines is one possible way to improve usability of interactive applications either at design/programming time or at evaluation time. At design time, they can provide designers with some assistance by helping them to orient design options to obtain Uls which are more usable, more adapted, tailored to contextual needs (i.e., user population needs, physical environment constraints, and task needs). Guidelines can also serve as requirements to be achieved by developers at programming time. At evaluation time, a new UI or a previously designed one can be submitted to guidelines checking to guarantee a minimal threshold of usability.
Guidelines today exist for a wide spectrum of interactive applications ranging from general business oriented applications, such as ( Smith and Mosier 1986) and ( Scapin 1986) to specific Uls in control rooms, such as ( O'Haraet al. 1994), from traditional applications (MIL-STD-1472D 1989) to World-Wide-Webbased applications. Guidelines are gathered into five basic types of ergonomic sources depending on their domain of human activity, software and hardware platform, corporate environment: design rules, set of guidelines, style guides, standards, and ergonomic algorithms ( Vanderdonckt, 1999). A style guide is a set of guidelines and/or functional or non-functional specifications aiming at consistency for a family of distinct Uls. This family can be based on an operating system (such as Windows'95), on a software editor (such as Borland's products), by a particular physical environment (such as IBM CUA), by a domain of human activity (such as medicine) or by a corporate (in-house style guide). Sev-