Presentation Reflections of Week 5: Fundamental Usability & Interface Design Principles

06 Nov

In CGT 512, I did my first English presentation at Purdue University. Although it was not very perfect, I learned a lot of things from this experience. I blamed myself for late blogging. Every time when I have a strong desire to share something in my blog, I dare to create and dare to write because I regarded every article as my assignment and it should be perfect. In fact, blog is just the place where I can share thoughts, feelings and reflections with classmates. I should make it a habit to post what I want and quantity will finally turn into quality. Whatever, no excuse, the post is so late. Sorry about that…I am so sad but I really want to write something about what I learned in the first presentation.

In order to impress audience, our group made full preparation and dig deep into materials. We tried to encapsulate all the details into our presentation whereas forgot to focus on the most important points. I am not a good zoomer with the ability to change from details orientated to big pictures. Our direction was wrong at the first time. Out topic was about homepage design and we thought we should teach our audience about the principles and idioms. So we firstly spent a lot of time providing details of design tips. Then we illustrated them with several examples quickly because the time was limited. Why not insert the examples throughout the presentation to demonstrate the validity of principles? That will make our presentation convincing and effective. Moreover, I provided a good example in my second presentation and connected it with the principle very thoroughly. The response was amazing and it proved that with full use of examples, our audience will give us a big hug.

Other groups’ presentation really impressed me a lot. I want to make a list of things I took away from their presentation.

1. General philosophy of usability – don’t make me think, good behavior

I love the way they presented it-concise and powerful with key message. Their slides looked good and they faced the audience at all times. Through their presentation, I know a generalize philosophy of good design-considerate and smart! Being Considerate means being connected with users’ needs. That’s the same philosophy with good presentation which should be user-centered too. Designing smart products means having computers work harder. Computer should remember users’ behavior and preference when interacting with it. It can help people reach their goals and complete their tasks.

2. Navigation

Website contains seas of information and navigation helps us find what we want and know where we are. This group introduced a lot of basic concepts and principles of navigation. Especially, I felt that 12 guidelines were very useful for me. Every page should have navigation options and provide feedback to let users know where they are in the Web site. Keep navigation in one page short and group navigation elements in a consistent. If we are designing a complicated website, remember to use sitemap to help user find information easily.

3. Excise

How to eliminate excise? Excise refers to unnecessary information which doesn’t contribute to user’ goals. It is determined by users according to different resources, goals, culture and technology. Excise is interruption of work flow. In this view, navigation is excise and counted as overhead. We can use tool bars and butcons to eliminate navigation. The group used many good and bad examples to articulate how to eliminate excise, not only for website, but also for daily life product.

4. Metaphor

Many website designs are based on metaphor. It is the connection between physical world and interface design. Our design idea comes from objects or systems in the physical world. Imagine that, when you search the internet, all the images and icons symbolize familiar styling and images. Then You will find what you need very fast and consistently. That’s the power of metaphor-capture your emotion and grab visitors to the site. There are a lot of examples on the web such as folder, weather forecast, radio buttons, etc.

5. Visual design

How can we align visual elements in a layout that matches the audience’s needs in an efficient, effective and pleasing way? In our third UR report, we encounter many visual design issues such as how to make a balance, how to accomplish a cohesive and unified design, how to handle visual noise and clutter. When I went back to this presentation, I got some new things that can be applied in my report. These principles are very practical. Also, we should connect the useful information with Gestalt Principles. Keep in mind of basic knowledge and practice a lot.

6. Text & typography

The topic is quite straightforward. Typography refers to arrange text in the space to make it perceived and comprehend. Making your text legible is the first rule. Simple, consistent, and easy to understand is the second rule. The last rule is using good spacing. The speaker also listed several tips of what not to do. Avoid too many different fonts, sizes and avoid all capitals, saturated colors and splashing.

7. Presenting information visually

The presentation was beautiful. The speaker used a lot of examples to state the basic principle of information architect. The fundamental task is to make the information understandable. We should integrate text, graphics, and data in one display and clarify it. Moreover, our information is beautiful and we can select many pictures to visualize it!


Posted by on November 6, 2012 in Reading Reflections



2 responses to “Presentation Reflections of Week 5: Fundamental Usability & Interface Design Principles

  1. Mihaela

    November 6, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    In fact, being able to focus on the top most important points is the trick that will help you read faster. As you read a textbook chapter, for example – begin by browsing its table of contents and the main headings. Try to understand what are the most important concepts in that chapter. When you have a mental model of the chapter’s structure, it is much easier to fill in the details. You will not get lost in the details, and you will know why you are reading each detail – you will know where it belongs. This blog post may help you as well:

    • cgt512chenguo

      November 6, 2012 at 11:55 pm

      Got it! The post is very very helpful! Thanks again for all your kind help. I think I really need to practice my fast reading skills and remind myself not bog down in excessive details.


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