CSE 171 MIDTERM 16 February 2000
Please write a short essay for each question below. You will have one hour.
1. What relevance (if any) does Fitt's law have for user interface design?
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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