The file system has been a trusted part of most computers for many years, and will likely continue as such in operating systems for many more. However, several emerging trends in user interfaces indicate that the basic file-system model is inadequate to fully satisfy the needs of new users, despite the flexibility of the underlying code and data structures. Originally published as: 145. Nielsen, J. (1996). The impending demise of file systems. IEEE Software 13, 2 (March).
Multimedia is gaining popularity on the Web with several technologies to support use of animation, video, and audio to supplement the traditional media of text and images. These new media provide more design options but also require design discipline. Unconstrained use of multimedia results in user interfaces that confuse users and make it harder for them to understand the information. Not every webpage needs to bombard the user with the equivalent of Times Square in impressions and movement.
In the long term we will need about a million times more bandwidth than a T1, as shown by the following list of requirements for the perfect user interface.
Many users of the World Wide Web are unaware of the rich history of the hypertext field, and those who do not understand history are often doomed to repeat it. Case in point, the release of the Java language and the HotJava browser will probably mimic the events that followed the introduction of Hypercard in 1987.
Chapter 8 from Jakob Nielsen's book, Multimedia and Hypertext: The Internet and Beyond, explores a variety of information retrieval strategies for dealing with the ever-increasing volume of information on the internet.
Chapter 3 from Jakob Nielsen's book, Multimedia and Hypertext, describes the major milestones for hypertext, the internet, and the world wide web, including Vannevar Bush's Memex and Doug Engelbart's landmark demo of the online system (NLS.)
Usability inspection is the generic name for a set of methods that are all based on having evaluators inspect a user interface. Typically, usability inspection is aimed at finding usability problems in the design, though some methods also address issues like the severity of the usability problems and the overall usability of an entire system.
The 10 most general principles for interaction design. They are called "heuristics" because they are more in the nature of rules of thumb than specific usability guidelines.
A summary of statistics for the thirteen usability laboratories in 1994, an introduction to the main uses of usability laboratories in usability engineering, and survey of some of the issues related to practical use of user testing and CAUSE tools for computer-aided usability engineering. Nielsen, J. (1994). Usability laboratories. Behaviour & Information Technology 13, 1&2, 3-8.
Jakob Nielsen's trip report overview of the Computer Human Interaction (CHI) Conferences from 1983 to 1994.
Jakob Nielsen's trip report for the 1994 Computer-Human Interaction conference (CHI '94). CHI'94 (Boston, MA, April 24-28), IEEE Software 11, 4 (July), 110-112.
This essay describes a technique for extending a task analysis based on the principle of goal composition. Basically, goal composition starts by considering each primary goal that the user may have when using the system. A list of possible additional features is then generated by combining each of these goals with a set of general meta-goals that extend the primary goals.
Jakob Nielsen's trip report for the 1993 Usability Professionals Association (UPA) Annual Meeting. Usability Professionals Association Annual Meeting (Redmond, WA, July 21-23, 1993), SIGCHI Bulletin 26, 2 (April 1994).
Several new user interface technologies and interaction principles seem to define a new generation of user interfaces that will move off the flat screen and into the physical world to some extent. Many of these next-generation interfaces will not have the user control the computer through commands, but will have the computer adapt the dialogue to the user's needs based on its inferences from observing the user. This article defines twelve dimensions across which future user interfaces may differ from the canonical window systems of today: User focus, the computer's role, interface control, syntax, object visibility, interaction stream, bandwidth, tracking feedback, interface locus, user programming, and software packaging. Nielsen, J. (1993). Noncommand user interfaces. Communications of the ACM 36, 4 (April), 83-99.
A user test of handwritten input on a pen machine achieved a 1.6% recognition error rate at the character level, corresponding to 8.8% errors on the word level. Input speed was 10 words per minute. In spite of the recognition errors, information retrieval of the handwritten notes was almost as good as retrieval of perfect text.
Jakob Nielsen's trip report for the 1992 Computer-Human Interaction conference (CHI '92). CHI'92 (Monterey, CA, 3-7 May 1992), IEEE Software 9, 4 (July 1992), pp. 78- 79.
The concept of direct manipulation is usually viewed as a single characteristic of a class of interaction styles. Here, direct manipulation is analyzed according to a detailed layered interaction model, showing that it has quite different effects on the dialogue on the different levels. In particular, the "no errors" claim may be true at the syntax level but not at several of the levels above or below that level. Furthermore, a unified framework is presented for conceptualizing Direct Manipulation, What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG), Transparency, Immediate Command Specification, Arcticulatory Directness, and Computational Appliances according to a layered interaction view.
Jakob Nielsen's trip report from the 1990 Computer-Human Interaction (CHI '90) conference. CHI'90 (Seattle, WA, 1-5 April 1990), SIGCHI Bulletin 22, 2 (October 1990), pp. 20-25.
Trip report from a one-day seminar on usability metrics and methodologies, sponsored by the British Computer Society's human-computer interaction specialist group in connection with its 1990 annual meeting in London.