J. L. Cabaniss, ``Lessons Learned from Applying HCI Techniques to the Redesign of a User Interface'', M.S. Thesis, Technical Report CS97-548, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of California, San Diego, June 1997.


Abstract

In the last decade, the power of computers has risen, while the costs have rapidly declined. With the abundance of software products currently being developed, users are less likely to spend time learning a complex interface. It is important that software developers not only create beneficial services, but also create usable systems. There has been much research in the area of Human Computer Interface (HCI), yet there are still programs that suffer from poor interface designs. Chen's C Star Diagram restructuring planning tool is an example of a useful program that can benefit from an improved interface design. Chen's user-studies revealed many problems with the interface design. We looked to the HCI principles of consistency, visibility, the use of language, and work-flow scenarios to explain the problems seen in this interface. In this research, we have redesigned the C Star Diagram restructuring planning tool interface with the help of HCI principles and methods. We found that, many of the issues we faced involved trade-offs between the different principles of HCI design as well as the limitations of current technology. We have created a set of domain-specific rules of design to address these problems and help us redesign the interface. Our research provides an iterative approach to the redesign of an existing interface.