Glossary » Interaction Design
a search that allows the user to enter the search query using natural language rather than a special search syntax. For instance: “What shipments have been received in the past 5 days from the west coast with a total value…Read more »
being able to use a computer from anywhere, while traveling, while moving, without restrictions based on location, without necessarily the need to even find a power grid (by using batteries) or a phone wire (by using wireless communications).Read more »
an approach to specifying commands to the computer, also called the select-then-operate paradigm. First an object or objects (representing some data — the nouns) are selected. Then an operation (or commands — the verb) is selected to perform some action…Read more »
object-oriented user interface; using representations of objects from the real world as the central metaphor within the user interface and allowing users to manipulate those objects in a way similar to the physical world in order to accomplish their tasks.…Read more »
an alternative to scrolling for moving the viewed area within a window – the user drags the view (and usually the pointer changes to a flat hand) in 2 dimensions (instead of the 1-dimensional scrollbar).
In video, panning refers to…Read more »
a search done that fits a number of simultaneous criteria (the parameters of the search). For example, finding a house within one of three neighborhoods, $3-600,000, with at least 3 bedrooms and 2 baths.
A typical difficulty for users with…Read more »
interacting with computers using a pen, as opposed to a keyboard or mouse. A pen allows fluid handwriting, gestures, and sketching that are difficult with many other input devices, thus enabling a more expressive form of input. Pen-based interfaces are…Read more »
PUI; a user interface that maximizes the bandwidth of communication between a user and a computer, using multimedia to capitalize on all the user’s senses, and using multiple input modalities. This enables a user experience that is more like the…Read more »
or “captology”; the use of computing technology to change or influence attitudes or behaviors. Examples include advertising, public service messages, and demo and attract-mode screens used for point-of-sale displays and arcade games.
Many important ethical issues need to be considered…Read more »
the degree to which a game is fun to play and usable, with an emphasis on the interaction style and plot-quality of the game; the quality of gameplay.
Playability is affected by the quality of the storyline, responsiveness, pace, usability,…Read more »
when the pointer automatically moves around to the most likely place you’ll want to click next, such as moving the pointer over the default button of a dialog box as soon as the dialog appears. This shortens the average amount…Read more »
in information retrieval, a measure of the quality of search results. Precise results have a high proportion of good matches and a low number of false positives (results that really shouldn’t count as matches.Read more »
a display showing how far a time-consuming process has gone. A progress bar, for instance, increases in size over time to show what proportion of the total time has already passed. Below is a progress indicator for copying a file.…Read more »
the design principle that says to show overviews and hide details until the user requests more detail, and then to provide only the additional level of detail required.
This principle is often used in file systems and outlines, as with…Read more »
a user interface in which the computer poses a series of questions and the user responds with answers, useful when a limited amount of information needs to be entered (as with a form) but when the series of questions may…Read more »
a file often included with a software release called “README” (or “readme.txt” or something similar) that provides information on installation, upgrades and versions, compatibility, and other product documentation that was too last-minute to make it into the printed documentation.Read more »
in information retrieval, a measure of the quality of search results. High recall means a large number of matches is returned for a search (though not all matches may be particularly good matches).Read more »
a system that recommends apparently useful information or suggests strategies users might apply to achieve their apparent goals. A recommendation may come up based on a given event, such as an error, or may be based on watching a user’s…Read more »
in search, relevance is a measure of the quality of a search result, indicating how close the search result is to the information being sought. Relevance is often measured, for instance, by the number of times a search term occurs…Read more »
the degree to which a user perceives a system as reacting quickly to user input. Responsiveness is not the same as speed. Slow systems can be perceived as highly responsive if they consistently provide quick feedback to users. This can…Read more »
any action that can be undone. Reversibility is a design principle that says people should be able to recover from their inevitable mistakes. Dialog boxes should have a Cancel button. Applications should have an Undo feature (and possibly multiple undo,…Read more »
when creating or resizing graphics, such as a rectangle or oval, the way it stretches, like a rubberband, to follow the pointer as you drag it.Read more »
a teaching technique where support tools help manage mechanics that would be difficult to master while the students learns higher-level concepts.Read more »
for the physically disabled, the ability to move through a set of options (usually automatically) and to select one of the options. This enables an interface with only one input: “select now”. With this interface, a user can select objects…Read more »
a search that applies to only a subset of the entire database, in order to narrow down results and get a more exact match. Scoped search should be avoided because users will often choose the wrong scope and get a…Read more »