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Front end web developers usually worry about the look and feel of their design interfaces since it is a major consideration by end users in their decision to use their product. As discussed in class, Shneiderman proposed eight golden rules of interface design. The first on his list is that the designer should strive for consistency.
On www.ribbonsofred.com, consistency is strictly adhered to because of the use of consistent color, layout, capitalization, fonts, and icon placement throughout the site. First, the most noticeable element of the website: the red! Beautifully and consistently practiced from the logo to the headers to the links to the buttons. Second, the texture of the button graphics is the same as what is used for the logo. In addition, observe that the buttons are visually all of the same family, even the social icons at the bottom. The display type is used consistently from the logo to the headers to the buttons. Finally, the text elements in every part the website are organized consistently, flush left and ragged right.
A second website, www.yahoo.com, fulfills the second golden rule of interface by enabling frequent users to use shortcuts. Instead of having to click the button 'new' and selecting 'message' in the resulting options list, a user can simply press the letter 'n' and he or she can start composing a message without delay. The use of special keys helps users to increase the pace of interaction.
Another website, www.exchangezone.com conducts exchange of money from cash to liberty reserve and other standards of deferred payment. They have stood by the fourth rule by designing a very convenient and interactive website to walk users through a somewhat complicated task and to make users feel an increased confidence in the financial transactions carried out on their website. The sequences of actions required for the exchange of cash for liberty reserve for example was organized into steps and there was an informative feedback at the completion of the group of actions to show that the user has successfully completed the exchange.
Shneiderman's eighth golden rule described the kind of rule upon which www.google.com based its design. Keeping it simple reduces the short-term memory load required by a user to view the important links and image on the website because the links, image and buttons are clearly visible.
For the sake of question two, I have chosen automated teller machine and I will apply the usability analysis method(s) that I have learnt from various modules.
Overall interface of ATM
An Automated Teller Machine (ATM) just as the name suggests is a computerized terminal that enables a customer to make a deposit, withdraw cash, transfer funds, or obtain other bank services, with going to queue at the banking hall and asking for services of bank cashiers. Current developments also allow one to use the card to pay for bills at shopping malls without having to pay or use cash. The customer is verified by inserting a plastic ATM card with a magnetic stripe that contains a unique card number. Security is provided by the customer entering a personal identification number (PIN).The main function of an ATM machine is to enable the customer to withdraw cash from their bank accounts in a secured way. Other functions include,
• Checking balance information
• Transfer money to other accounts
• Deposit checks or cash
The fundamental design for the interface will include three parts; a standard numeric keypad with function keys on the sides of the numbers, a qwerty keyboard, and a high-resolution color monitor. The majority of input will be through the numeric keypad and function keys, while the keyboard will be used less frequently for specialized input. Output will be provided primarily by the color monitor, though a speaker will be included for an optional audio interface. Operation of an ATM switch is conceptually uncomplicated. The reference model for an ATM machine features four layers: the physical layer, whose main duty is to convey information, the ATM layer which switches and multiplexes, and at last the ATM adaptation layer whose duty is to adapt service information to the ATM stream and lastly higher layers presenting extended services to users.
Features of ATM
(1) The ATM machine's best feature is its simplicity and the detailed step by step instructions it grants to the user.
(2) Most banks use a common user interface for the ATM machines. So even if the customer changes from one bank to another, the interface is alike and the customer need not learn anything new to operate the ATM machine.
(3) The ATM machine supports privacy to the customer and liberates the customer as the customer can withdraw money at anytime he/she wants regardless of bank timings.
(4) It provides features such as Cancel and Exit which makes it easier for the users to terminate the transactions.
(5) The user interface provides easy options such as fast cash to the customer which makes cash withdrawal even faster.
(6) Most machines use touch screens and key pads for operation which is very easy to use.
Age and ATM usage
No mutual connection was found between age and ATM usage, but the reasons for not using ATM in each of the age groups are different. Banks wishing to support the older users to use ATM should lessen the cost for the younger seniors and give training for the older ones.
The table below shows the advantages of ATM Machine to different groups of people:
ATM Customer Characteristics
Can be used by people from 12 to above 80
Applicable to both male and female
May have some physical limitation in relation to hearing sight, mobility, use of hands or wheelchair use. This should be taken care of.
May have only minimal education qualifications and posses limited literacy and numeracy skills
Computer /IT use
May have little or no prior experienced of computer or IT use
May be very motivated to use the ATM, particularly if they can do their banking quickly and avoid waiting in long lines at the bank
Attitudes to use may vary, depending on the services the ATM offers, the reliability of technology itself, and the attitude of users toward computers.
Upon analysis of the interface, the transactions are simple and even first time users can use the machine with minimum effort. Detailed visual guidance's are given on where to insert the ATM card and where to find the numbers (to enter) and where to collect the cash as well. The user interface also provides language options from which the user can select the language of his/her choice. The ATM machine also reduces the amount of time a person spends at the bank as it is self operated user interface and escapes long queues at the teller counter. Moreover, it grants privacy screens which makes it secure and allows user to complete the transaction without the person at the next machine to be able to read his/her information.
Having or using the ATM is very safe and convenient since one does not have to carry bulky of currency or risk losing their money to thugs, ATM cards also makes it easy for travelers by not bothering to change their currency when they travel.