Aaron Marcus, John Armitage, Volker Frank, and Edward Guttman Aaron Marcus and Associates, Inc., 1144 65th Street, Suite F, Emeryville, CA 94608-1053 USA;Tel:+ 1-510-601-0994x19, Fax:+ 1-510-547-6125 Email: Aaron@AmandA.com, Web: http://www.AMandA.com.
In 1998-99, the authors' firm, Aaron Marcus and Associates, Inc. (AM+A), designed and implemented the user interface (UI) for Eye-to-MindTM CD-ROMbased multimedia products of Cogito Learning Media (CLM), which summarize knowledge of a discipline. AM+A also designed and implemented the UI of a prototype for Unigraphics Solutions, Inc.'s (USI) Computer-Assisted SelfTeaching TM (CAST) Web-based online help to serve as a guide for a major redesign of the company's online training for its computer-aided design and manufacturing software. Based on two different technologies, audiences, and products, AM+A has derived recommendations for user-interface development relevant to CD-ROM- and Web-based education and training.
Developing a user interface for a system enabling access, search, retrieval, and rapid decision making about competing elements of knowledge typically has these steps: planning, research, analysis, design, implementation, evaluation, documentation, and training. Development is cyclical and may be partially repetitive. For example, evaluation may be carried out prior to, during, or after the design step. For specific users (defined by their demographics, experience, education, and roles in organizations of work or play) and their tasks, user interfaces must provide these components: Metaphors are essential concepts conveyed visually through words, images, and acoustic or tactile cues. Mental Models are organizations of data, functions, tasks, roles, and people in groups at work or play. Navigation is the movement through mental models afforded by windows, menus, dialogue areas, control panels, etc. Interaction is the means by which users input changes, and the system supplies feedback. Appearance consists of verbal, visual, acoustic, and tactile perceptual characteristics.