Principle 14 - Applications Ease of Use.
Applications must be easy to use for both novice and expert users. Interfaces
should be similar enough to present a reasonably consistent "look and feel."
Individuals must use a variety of applications to accomplish their objectives.
When these applications look and operate in very different ways, productivity
is reduced and risk of error is increased.
- Novice and expert users have very different ease of use requirements;
what is easy for the novice user may be painful for the expert user and vice
versa. The user interface should address both sets of requirements.
- Applications should be easy to use for those who create transactions as
well as those who perform analytical functions. Therefore, easy-to-use analytical
functions should be an integral part of the application.
- Standards and guidelines for user interfaces must be developed and periodically
reviewed and updated. Such standards and guidelines should address the user
interface components of an individual application such a screen design, navigation,
and screen operation as well as integration issues such as navigation between
applications, upload/download operations, and import/export services between
applications. These standards and guidelines must recognize the role of the
desktop in the integration of applications.
- The development tools used to create an application place some constraints
on what the look and feel of that application will be. Wherever possible, similar
tools should be used to develop applications which are offered as University-wide
services or which tend to be used in conjunction with each other to accomplish
a particular objective.
- Wherever possible, shared data should be displayed and labeled consistently
across applications. At the same time, presentation of information must be
appropriate to the needs of the individual. Tradeoffs between flexible and
consistent presentation may be necessary in order to satisfy the specific information
- Documentation, training, and application support are important components
of the "ease of use" feature and are ongoing activities during the development
and life of an application. These activities must be carefully planned and
appropriate resources allocated.
- The implementation of security restrictions should not make access to multiple
applications complex or burdensome.
- Because the design of the user interface will change over time, migration
strategies need to address the continuous transition to and integration of
new media as well as the tradeoffs between maintaining reasonably consistent
user interface across all applications and the cost and other issues involved
in retrofitting existing applications to comply with new user interface standards.
Information Systems and Computing, University of Pennsylvania