Another area of research is in the negative “content awareness” of a UI e.g., how readily the content of a page is grasped.
(Actually UIs aren’t aware of anything, so it should be re-termed content-self-evidence or comprehensibility. But who am I to take on any industry buzzword).
This also applies to web services or SOA.
My thesis focuses on how fast can someone figure out WHAT IS NOT and WOULD NOT be on that page or more broadly NOT IN THAT INFORMANTION RESOURCE.
Example: A computer description:
- A text description doesn’t include FSB speed. (You don’t know if it is even part of their awareness.)
- We don’t want to confuse you
- We want to be brief
- We don’t know what it is
How about doing it in a table…
- A table description has a field for FSB but it is blank
- The field is blank but next to it is in a linked note that says, “varies with model”
- The field is blank but an error code next to it says data supplied is not displayed as it exceeded established acceptable range/rules.
This type of thing is growing in importance as XML offers optional tags and semi-structured/text data is making its way into content management (RS web database)
In the past we had only fixed fields or text. Now it is harder to know what is missing.
A dialog box in MS Excel lacks a pick option that is available in other conceptually parallel dialogs. The user goes insane trying to figure how to do the function. Better solution: The option is there but grayed out. Mousing over the option gives a shot explanation as to why it is not available in this context.
This raises the importance of methods of knowing what someone is looking for but can’t find – because it isn’t clear.
Medical Records Context,
(Just one topic for today)
Classic problem what does Null mean?
Why does a patient history not have something?
Why is there no family history?
What does blank mean?
- No one bothered to ask.
- The patient declined to answer
- Patient privacy laws/business rules prevent transmission / display
- Need-to-know not yet established
- Classification / Security
- The test was not available at the facility
- The test could not be done due to time constraints
- We couldn’t ask as the patient was unconscious
- The answer was nonsensical or appeared to a statistical outlier.
- A test was inconclusive (not the same as an outlier)
- Test results are pending (…time frame)
- We have no idea.
- The data was not sent.
- An intermediary web service had no such field so data was lost in conversion.
- The data was rejected due to a formatting problem. (Error type)
- You are being presented with an abbreviated display for your convenience
How to get the rest of it…