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Creating the Illusion of Consistency in GUI Software...

Jonathan Grudin has observed that sometimes the most `intuitive' or seemingly consistent behavior for an interface actually violates the pattern of continuity established by the program's designers. ``... the `inconsistent' interface choices described earlier are so naturally molded to the users' tasks that users may not even notice the inconsistency.''[5] Design teams need someone to be an advocate for the user, someone who will continually discourage programmers from representing program features to the user in technical terms. A visual artist is the ideal candidate for this position.

Artistic manipulation can be made in an interface to create the illusion of consistency- Art on paper can create the illusion of depth when there is none. Art in animation creates the illusion of movement when there is none. Visual Art in general creates the illusion of visual harmony (or discord) within a narrow time frame- and does it well. If user interface designers and can persuade artists to apply these elusive talents to the user interface, programmers would be able to incorporate unique and powerful features into their application, and users would still gain the speed and ease of learning associated with consistent interfaces--because a visual artist would be involved in the project to help assure a consistent look and feel.


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sean dreilinger

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