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Glossary » Acronyms


internet service provider; a service that provides access to the internet for users, usually through a telephone dialup.

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keep it simple, stupid! The extremely popular principle of simplicity applicable to any area of design and engineering.

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Keystroke Level Model. A simple GOMS technique dealing mainly with observable events and organized as a single stream of sequential operators. KLM is easy to learn and can provide fast, but crude, task execution times.

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multiple document interface; an application that consists of one primary application window (the parent window) that contains all the other windows of the application (child windows). The other windows cannot be dragged outside of the main window. This can be…

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Model Human Processor. A simple cognitive architecture used as the basis of the GOMS family of user modeling techniques. This representation of human cognition consists of separate components for cognitive, motor, and perceptual processors (and associated buffers), as well as…

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massively multiplayer role playing game; an online game with an essentially unlimited number of human players were each player takes on the role of a character in the game world.

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(MVC) an architecture for software that separates the underlying application (model) from the user interface display (view) and input (controller).

MVC is generally implemented with callbacks – the underlying application registers with user interface widgets (in the view and controller)…

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multi-user dimension (or dungeon), a virtual reality, usually text-based, populated by many people, often used for chatting or playing games with other users.

Variations include a MOO (object-oriented MUD), MUCK (multi-user chat kingdom), and MUSH (multi-user shared hallucination). While some…

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multi-dimensional scaling

MDS; a statistical technique useful for understanding the structure of a domain, especially useful in early stages of design. People are asked to rate pairs of concepts for their similarity, then these similarities are fed into the statistical algorithm to…

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or m17n (m and n separated by 17 letters); the support in a product for multiple languages, especially support for other scripts, writing systems that don’t use the Roman alphabet supported in ASCII.

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Natural GOMS Language. NGOMSL was developed as a formally defined version of CMN-GOMS based on cognitive complexity theory (CCT). It has a more structured hierarchy than CMN-GOMS and a well-defined analysis methodology for developing models. In addition to the execution…

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nominal-ordinal-interval-ratio. A mnemonic for remembering common data scales used in empirical measurement.

Nominal – a set of items that can be distinguished by name or category. Ordinal – items that can be ordered, such as military rank, or units of

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optical character recognition; using image recognition techniques so that a computer can convert an image of text (from a scan or photograph) to the computer-readable alphanumeric representation of that text. The challenge to successful OCR is in correctly interpreting the…

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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.…

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out-of-box experience

OOBE; the interactions and first impressions a user has with technology when first opening the box it comes in and installing it, as opposed to the point-of-sale experience or the interaction experience of an expert user.

The out-of-box experience affects…

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personal digital assistant; a hand-held computer, typically with the capabilities of a personal information management system, such as a clock, appointment book, and address book.

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perceptual user interface

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…

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persuasive computing

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…

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PERT chart

(Program Evaluation and Review Technique) a type of flowchart used in project management, where each task is represented by a node and connected to other tasks with arrows to indicate task dependencies. Each node may be labeled with necessary resources…

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personal information manager; a software application designed to help people manage personal information, such as appointments, contact lists, notes, and reminders, and often integrated with email/messaging systems. Their user interfaces are distinguished by the relative lack of structure to the…

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psychology of programming

PoP; the study of how programmers create software, including such topics as learning a programming language, planning a program, how language features affect coding time and accuracy, and how programmers isolate and repair bugs.

In addition to understanding basic principles…

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quality assurance

QA or quality control; ensuring that the results of your processes have high quality, measured my minimization of flaws in design and production and by product success and customer satisfaction. Quality assurance can be implemented throughout a design process (not…

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a Rapid Application Development tool. These are tools, such as Visual Basic and Delphi, which are designed to make developing software applications a faster process, usually by focusing on the design of the user interface in terms of screen layout…

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red-green-blue; a common color model used especially in CRTs which specifies any given color as a combination of 3 brightness values for red, green, and blue elements. While theoretically equivalent to other color models (HSV, HSB, CMYK), the RGB makes…

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return on investment. A measure of the value of making an investment. Spending money on information systems development, and on usability in particular, means providing a rationale for how the project will be managed to achieve maximum return, i.e. providing…

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