Part II: Designing Behavior and Form in Java

Generate qrcode in Java Part II: Designing Behavior and Form
Part II: Designing Behavior and Form
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A product s posture is its behavioral stance the way it presents itself to users. Posture is a way of talking about how much attention a user will devote to interacting with the product, and how the product s behaviors respond to the kind of attention a user will be devoting to it. This decision, too, must be based upon an understanding of likely usage contexts and environments.
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Most people have a predominant behavioral stance that fits their working role on the job: The soldier is wary and alert; the toll collector is bored and disinterested; the actor is flamboyant and bigger than life; the service representative is upbeat and helpful. Products, too, have a predominant manner of presenting themselves to users. A program may be bold or timid, colorful or drab, but it should be so for a specific, goal-directed reason. Its manner shouldn t result from the personal preference of its designer or programmer. The presentation of the program affects the way users relate to it, and this relationship strongly influences the usability of the product. Programs whose appearance and behavior conflict with their purposes will seem jarring and inappropriate, like fur in a teacup or a clown at a wedding. The look and behavior of a product should reflect how it is used, rather than the personal taste of its designers. From the perspective of posture, look-and-feel is not solely an aesthetic choice: It is a behavioral choice. Your program s posture is part of its behavioral foundation, and whatever aesthetic choices you make should be in harmony with this posture. The posture of your interface dictates many important guidelines for the rest of the design, but posture is not simply a black-and-white issue. Just as a person may present herself in a number of slightly different ways depending on the context, some products may exhibit characteristics of a number of different postures. When reading e-mail on a Blackberry during a train ride, a user may devote concentrated attention to interactions with the device (and expect a commensurate experience), whereas the same user will have significantly less attention to devote if she is using it to look up an address while running to a meeting. Similarly, while a word processor should generally be optimized for concentrated, devoted, and frequent user attention, there are tools within the word processor, like the table construction tool, that are used in a transient and infrequent manner. In cases like this, it is worthwhile both to define the predominant posture for a product as a whole and to consider the posture of individual features and usage contexts.
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9: Platform and Posture
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Platform and posture are closely related: Different hardware platforms are conducive to different behavioral stances. An application running on a mobile phone clearly must accommodate a different kind of user attention than an educational program running on a game console. In this chapter we discuss appropriate postures and other design considerations for several platforms, including desktop software, Web sites and applications, kiosks, handhelds, and appliances.
Designing Desktop Software
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We use the term desktop software as a catchall phrase referring for applications that run on a modern PC. Generally speaking, interaction design has its roots in desktop software. While historically there have been designers grappling with issues related to complex behaviors on a variety of technical platforms, it has been the personal computer that has brought these complex behaviors to every desktop. As a result, much of what you ll find in this book is grounded in what it takes to effectively serve human needs with desktop software. In more recent history, this understanding has been expanded to encompass the Web, large and small devices, and other embedded systems, which we discuss later in the chapter. When defining the platform of your product, clearly you must go beyond the term desktop to consider what the appropriate operating system, database, and userinterface technology are for your product. While it is considerably outside the scope of this book to assess each of these technical aspects of the desktop platform, it is absolutely critical that these decisions be analyzed in regard to whether they will support the needs of users. Furthermore, as all design is a conversation with materials, it is also important to understand the limitations and opportunities associated with each of these fundamental technologies. In many organizations, platform decisions, particularly those regarding hardware, are unfortunately still made well in advance of the interaction designer s involvement. It is important to inform management that platform choices will be much more effective if made after interaction designers complete their work.
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