CSE 171 MIDTERM                                               16 February 2000



Please write a short essay for each question below.  You will have one hour.
Good luck!



1. What relevance (if any) does Fitt's law have for user interface design?
   [10 pts]


2. What is the difference between the meaning of the term "icon" as used in
   computer graphics, and in semiotics?  [10 pts]


3. What is the "say-do problem" and what important lesson does it give us
   for using interviews in user interface design?  [15 pts]


4. Air traffic controllers at some centers prominently attach colorful
   "strips" to their consoles, and regularly update them.  Explain why
   replacing a controller's strips by a video display on his/her screen might
   be a bad idea.  [20 pts]


5. Could you describe to another person, with enough accuracy so that they
   could do it the same way, how you pick up and hold a pen for writing?  Why?
   What technical term is used to describe this kind of difficulty?  How is
   this relevant to user interface design?  [15 pts]


6. Why is it important to understand the goals of a website before designing 
   its style?  Give a simple example.  [15 pts]


7. Usually dates appear on a separate line near the top of a business letter,
   but in a smaller font at the bottom of a webpage, often combined with other
   information.  Use the notion of semiotic morphism to explain why these
   choices are appropriate (assuming ordinary situations).  [15 pts]


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