Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 25th Oct 2007 16:52 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces This is the first article in a series on common usability and graphical user interface related terms. On the internet, and especially in forum discussions like we all have here on OSNews, it is almost certain that in any given discussion, someone will most likely bring up usability and GUI related terms - things like spatial memory, widgets, consistency, Fitts' Law, and more. The aim of this series is to explain these terms, learn something about their origins, and finally rate their importance in the field of usability and (graphical) user interface design. We start off with spatial memory - my personal favourite.
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Man if I have to read...
by bryanv on Thu 25th Oct 2007 19:07 UTC
bryanv
Member since:
2005-08-26

one more person moaning about Fitt's Law I think I'm going to spoon my eyeballs out.

Yes, most of us who are in development know it.

Yes, we all know the Windows start button sucks at it.

My problem with it is that it's over-applied to situations in which it has no application by people who have little to no context to what they're speaking about. It drives me absolutely nuts when people start spouting about GUI design without ever having completed any guided studies on UI design, been involved in TA testing of GUI principles or prototype software, and generally think UI design is about 'teh webpage should never scroll'.

Gah.

So thanks for trying to put something together that is more in-depth and might actually enlighten people that there's more to UI design than freakin' Fitts.

Edited 2007-10-25 19:09

Reply Score: 9

RE: Man if I have to read...
by StephenBeDoper on Thu 25th Oct 2007 20:21 in reply to "Man if I have to read..."
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

Definitely agreed. I find it especially silly when Fitt's Law gets cited as some sort of trump card argument "proving" the superiority of E.g. global menu bars. Fitt's Law, IIRC, just has to do with where UI elements can be placed to make them easiest to "hit" with the mouse pointer - it doesn't say a thing about which particular elements should be placed in those easy-to-hit parts of the screen. That's the difference between usability theory and its practical implementation.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RIchard James13 Member since:
2007-10-26

If you are not using a mouse but a touch screen instead does Fitt's Law still apply? I wouldn't think so because the mouse pointer stops moving when it gets to the edge of the screen whereas your hand does not. I would think that with both mouse and touchscreen interfaces that the size of the widgets is more important than Fitt's Law anyway. Consistent spacial layout would come before Fitt's as well. Who cares if it is hard to reach for a button if the button is not in the same place every time anyway.

Reply Parent Score: 2

google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

I find it especially silly when Fitt's Law gets cited as some sort of trump card argument "proving" the superiority of E.g. global menu bars. Fitt's Law, IIRC, just has to do with where UI elements can be placed to make them easiest to "hit" with the mouse pointer - it doesn't say a thing about which particular elements should be placed in those easy-to-hit parts of the screen.


Fitts' Law doesn't say "put a menu at the top of the screen", but it does explain why placement a is superior to placement b, as long as you buy into the whole "infinite height" thing.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Man if I have to read...
by google_ninja on Fri 26th Oct 2007 05:11 in reply to "Man if I have to read..."
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

The start button doesnt suck at it, it is in one of the four easiest to hit places on the desktop, a corner. You can have the mouse anywhere on the screen, close your eyes, and still be able to trigger the start menu.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Man if I have to read...
by hyriand on Fri 26th Oct 2007 09:58 in reply to "RE: Man if I have to read..."
hyriand Member since:
2006-04-03

Uhm... Doesn't work here... The start button is a couple of pixels from the left and a couple of pixels from the bottom of the screen. This is windows xp with the classical theme.

Although I can trigger the start menu with my eyes closed (using the windows button on the keyboard).

Reply Parent Score: 1