GUI applications

Our approach

The unique focus here involves navigational efficiency (and clarity). "You have one chance to make a good first impression." True not only for people, but for whole applications. We make that first screen work. Our usability testing ensures that it works.

Benefits to count on:

  • Systematic process that guarantees user-friendly software
  • Phased achievement milestones
  • Efficient task flows
  • Reduced help desk and training
  • Reduced data entry errors
  • Happier, less-stressed CSRs and other computer-intensive employees
  • Happy customers of shrink-wrapped software
Step Activity
1. Have an idea: COULD you save $$ with a re-design of your application?

If your text-based or GUI application is fast, training is minimal, and users are happy. Why switch? However, if your main menu options grew haphazardly like barnacles on a ship, thus forcing your users to return to the main menu and re-enter a customer name, it's costing you money. We look for elements that contribute to awkward navigation, especially excessive use of drop-down menus and "stove-pipe" navigation. Solution: we re-engineer the task flow. We re-engineer the navigation. Many re-designs see a 25%-40% savings in time. Figure 25% of an 8-hour day. You could save the salary of ¼ person per year! It adds up.

2. Expert review of current application.

If you wonder about potential savings, we can provide an "expert review" – an ergonomic doctor's visit to check your possible savings. Memory and training-intensive applications raise user-stress and consequent turnover. Expensive. We...

  • Check navigation (most applications have issues)
  • Look for excessive jargon and abbreviations (confuses trainees)
  • Evaluate screen clutter: ragged left margins and poor grouping intimidates new and casual users
  • Check procedures and methods guides
  • Find arbitrary task flows, lack of left-right, top-down work patterns: issues that confuse new and casual users
3. Create an efficient "user interface structure" (UIS) for your user interface (UI).

Remember the phrase "You have one chance to make a good first impression"? While true for meeting people, it's also true for users meeting the first screen on an application. The first screen must present a familiar, clear, and lucid "story" to the user. It must fit their job. It can help users learn their job! We gather data on functions and mock up the top screen plus 3 or 4 second-level screens. We test and revise. We call this a User Interface Structure project. After this project, your developers can start coding back-end functions.

4. Tackle the big design challenges: mid-level and detailed design.

Some issues are more thorny than others. How do you handle "adding" a vendor while in a billing module? This requires a mid-level architectural investigation. We address the tough issues of this and detailed design to provide examples for your developers. They can carry it through to the other screens. Or if you're pressed for time, we can do as much as you need. By the way, we test our solutions. Perfection accompanies the process.

5. Expert review of developer-designed screens.

Users fail to identify developer design problems (research shows they're wrong 60% of the time). Our experience teaching GUI design and testing many designs gives us an edge in using "expert knowledge." An expert review lets us identify the major issues that would interfere with detecting real problems during a usability test. Why pay for subjects to test on the gross issues? We teach expert review, too! Research shows the first expert reviewer catches about 40 to 50% of problems. Catch an additional 10% with each additional reviewer up to 80 to 90%. 100% requires usability testing with domain knowledge.

6. Test mid-level and detailed design.

If you have three different types of users, we make sure each group can use the vocabulary and mid-level navigation we create for their separate situations or modules. To get subtle problems we need more for each type – 10 to 12 subjects. To get problems that should show up more often, we can get by with 4 to 7 subjects for each group. User types include novice and casual, as well as experts. Buying test time is like buying insurance!

7. Create a GUI standard.

Why have 20 developers re-invent screen styles when we can give them templates? We can create a standard for your current application or for cross-application use. We select about 8 to 10 screens from one or more applications that represent tasks that will show up more than once. We consider: form filling, search and list, CRUD functions (Create, Review, Update, and Delete), display only, tables, etc. For a small development group that works together, pictures can do it. For distributed, larger groups, we add descriptive text with design checklists.

P.S., we can create a corporate "look" for your GUI that matches your corporate image guidelines.

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Reviewed: 18 Mar 2014

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Terms and Conditions for Public Training Courses

Reviewed: 18 Mar 2014

Cancellation of Course by HFI

HFI reserves the right to cancel any course up to 14 (fourteen) days prior to the first day of the course. Registrants will be promptly notified and will receive a full refund or be transferred to the equivalent class of their choice within a 12-month period. HFI is not responsible for travel expenses or any costs that may be incurred as a result of cancellations.

Cancellation of Course by Participants (All regions except India)

$100 processing fee if cancelling within two weeks of course start date.

Cancellation / Transfer by Participants (India)

4 Pack + Exam registration: Rs. 10,000 per participant processing fee (to be paid by the participant) if cancelling or transferring the course (4 Pack-CUA/CXA) registration before three weeks from the course start date. No refund or carry forward of the course fees if cancelling or transferring the course registration within three weeks before the course start date.

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