Authors: Preece, Rogers & Sharp
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Understanding Users


Chapter Introduction | Web Resources | Assignment Comments | Teaching Materials


Designing for different kinds of users

Recently there has been a drive in interaction design to increase awareness about 'universal usability'. By this, it is meant designing for everyone, including those who are physically or psychologically challenged and people of different ages (children through to senior citizens), and those from different cultures. A website on universal usability has been developed with links to information about the diverse needs of different users.

The Trace Research & Development Center is a pioneer in the field of technology and disability. It provides online papers on how to design to support people with disabilities.

Designing for children
There is considerable interest in designing products with and for children, to support more effective play and learning. A portal site that has many pointers to relevant work can be found at Gary Perlman's HCIBIB site. Also see Allison Druin's site.

GOMS and Model Human Processor (MHP)

To find out more about GOMS and the MHP, visit the Usability First glossay. start by looking at David Kieras's Home Page, which details his research into GOMS.

Mental Models

There is lots of material on mental models. A good place to start if you want to know more about the concept, from a cognitive science perspective, is a website constructed by Ruth Byrne. A review of the literature on mental models and HCI is also available online, written by Angela Sasse as part of her doctoral thesis.

External Cognition

Start by having a look at the introduction to external cognition by Yvonne Rogers and Mike Scaife.


You can read online the original paper by George Miller, called "The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information" originally published in The Psychological Review, 1956, vol. 63, pp. 81-97

History of graphical design

A paper by Patrick J. Lynch, entitled, "Visual design for the user interface" provides a history of graphical design and some psychological theories that have shaped it (Published originally in 1994, Journal of Biocommunications, 21(1):22-30)