In designing any interface to be used with an information system, one must be clear, concise and unambiguous, in manners of text, or else risk losing the person performing interaction. One thing that will frustrate a user quicker than anything is not being able to find help when it is needed. We will discuss three aspects of text in the interface redesign of the KUCampus Course Landing page; they are commentary text, help text and hypertext.
Commentary text should allow a user to see a system state or the functionality behind a system. As an example, if a user places the mouse over an icon that has a picture of a pair of scissors; the commentary text would be, cut, hopefully. If anything other than cut is displayed the user may be confused, since the pair of scissors is generally accepted as the cut icon. For the redesign of the KUCampus Course Landing page, I will endeavor to utilize generally accepted commentary text for all icons, ...view middle of the document...
Procedure help, which provides step by step instructions for accomplishing the task, will be tutorial in nature, not only with step by step instructions, but also when applicable a video tutorial will be shown. Reference help, which is similar in nature to an online reference book, will take users to a reference guide on the topic which the user is requesting assistance on. The reference help page will open in a new window so the user does not lose their place in the page of origin. Conceptual help like reference help will open in a new window. Conceptual help provides the background for the subject in which the user is interaction. Conceptual help provides a higher level overview of the process.
Hypertext will be used to move users to other resources via the two primary protocols associated with the World Wide Web, Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). Hypertext will be easily identifiable by using different color text characteristics for the linked items. Generally, hypertext will be blue in color prior to the user clicking on it, and red after returning to the source page. The color change will notify the user that they have visited that link already. Additionally the use of commentary text will be incorporated into hypertext; when the user places the mouse over the hypertext link, commentary text will appear telling the user where they are going. The commentary text will not be the Uniform Resource Locator (URL), but a short clear description of the resource which it links to; simply placing a URL in as the commentary text will serve no purpose to the user who is looking for help. Many URLs are unclear as to the ultimate destination.
In summary, the text associated with help on the redesigned KUCampus Course Landing page will, help. It will be clear, understandable and provide the user with a sense that the help was thought out and designed with the potentially frustrated user in mind.
(1) Heim, Steven G. "Chapter 12, 2.31.2 Interaction Framework." The Resonant Interface: HCI Foundations for Interaction Design. Boston: Pearson/Addison Wesley, 2008. Print.