Sunday, March 08, 2009

M364 Block 1, Unit 2, Computer Activity 3

Using the design principles (visibility, feedback, constraints, mapping, consistency and affordance) to informally evaluate the user interface of the rather old-fashioned Casio watch simulated on this DVD [...]

As it is easier to evaluate an interactive product with a particular task or tasks in mind, I suggest that without looking at the Help menu (the user may not carry the manual with them), you:
  • use the stop-watch function that the digital watch provides, switching on the stop watch and then switching if off after one minute, then resetting it to zero.
As you use the simulation you will be playing the role of a real user of the watch.

As you complete the exercise, consider how the design addresses each of the design principles.
The watch's four buttons offer physical affordance for clicking. Due to the limited space available on the watch face and around the watch's sides, and the limits to how text and buttons can be shrunk while still being usable by human eye and finger, I was unsurprised to find limited visibility of the watch's extended functions. 

In fact there are two sets of button labels - an outer set of four labels, in light blue, and an inner set of two labels (for the right-hand buttons) in white on black. Given that one of the outer labels was "MODE" this mapped to the idea that the "inner" labels would only apply when the watch was "in" an applicable mode. 

As none of the outer labels (ADJUST, LIGHT, 24HR and MODE) would stop or start a stop-watch, I cycled through the modes until I saw "ST" appear in the top left section, and "0:00 00" in the main display. The mode-cycling operation was consistent with other digital watches, and the "ST" was feedback (of a kind) that we might be in STopwatch mode.

I then used the bottom right button, with an inner label of "SIG.ON-OFF / START-STOP" to start and stop the stopwatch.

To reset it, I first tried changing  to the default mode and back again, but this left the stopwatch value unchanged. So, still in stopwatch mode, I used the top-right button, with an inner label of "ALM.ON-OFF / LAP-RESET / REPEAT" and this immediately set the display back to zeroes.

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