CHI14C09 / CHI15C23: Conceptual Models: Core to Good Design

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A crucial step in designing a user interface for a software application is to design a coherent, task-focused conceptual model (CM). With a CM, designers design better, developers develop better, and users learn and use better. Unfortunately, this step is often skipped, resulting in incoherent, arbitrary, inconsistent, overly-complex applications that impede design, development, learning, understanding, and use. This course covers what CMs are, how they help, how to develop them, and provides hands-on experience.

  • Our attention is limited and our memory is imperfect
    • Short-term memory (STM, WM)
    • Long-term memory (LTM)
  • We have two minds
    • Old brain + midbrain
      • can run many processes in parallel
      • fast but approximate, “satisfying”
      • des not use working memory
      • unconscious, governs most of our behavior
    • Cerebral Cortex
      • slow but precise
      • uses working memory
      • one serial processor
      • cannot multi-task
      • conscious, self-aware, believes it governs our behavior
    • Example: A ball and a bat cost $110, the bat costs $100 more than the ball, how much does the ball cost? 1 wrong, 2 reject
  • Conceptual Model
    • Functionality
    • Scenarios
    • UI (Interaction)
    • Implementation
    • Documentation
    • Support

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