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Interface Design: More Craft than Science?

Chalmers M.


Interface design can overwhelm the effects of better or worse database engines. Progressively more systems use graphical interfaces but as with any new technologically-driven medium it takes time for notions of `good' design to form and disseminate. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the nascent field of 3D interfaces where - much as in the days of font overkill which followed the introduction of laserwriters - 3D is often used for its own sake. This leads to designs that may initially be eye-catching but later turn out to be cluttered and difficult to work with. I will discuss some issues that make the design and evaluation of information visualisation systems complex such as numerical metrics for interface assessment, the use (and abuse) of metaphor, taking advantage of 3D perception, and shared information environments. This discussion will draw upon images and experiences from the Bead system in order to examine the discipline we are involved in: is it more craft than science

[Cha96b] Chalmers M.. Interface Design: More Craft than Science?. In Proc. 5th Intl. Workshop on Interfaces for Database Systems, Edinburgh, UK, July 1996, 1996.

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