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2:3 Standardize Task Sequences

Relative Importance:

Relative Importance rating of 4 out of 5

Strength of Evidence:

Strength of Evidence rating of 5 out of 5

Document Type: Guideline


Topic:

General User Experience


Guideline:

Allow users to perform tasks in the same sequence and manner across similar conditions.


Comments:

Users learn certain sequences of behaviors and perform best when they can be reliably repeated. For example, users become accustomed to looking in either the left or right panels for additional information. Also, users become familiar with the steps in a search or checkout process.


Sources:

  • Bovair, S., Kieras, D.E., & Polson, P.G. (1990). The acquisition and performance of text-editing skill: A cognitive complexity analysis. Human-Computer Interaction, 5(1),1-48.
  • Czaja, S.J., & Sharit, J. (1997). The influence of age and experience on the performance of a data entry task. Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting Proceedings, 144-147.
  • Detweiler, M.C. & Omanson, R.C. (1996). Ameritech Web Page User Interface Standards and Design Guidelines. Ameritech (now SBC).
  • Foltz, P.W., Davies, S.E., Polson, P.G., & Kieras, D.E. (1988). Transfer between menu systems. Proceedings of CHI’88, 107-112.
  • Kieras, D. (1997). A guide to GOMS model usability evaluation using NGOMSL (Chapter 31). In M. Helander, T.K. Landauer & P.V. Prabhu (Eds.), Handbook of Human-Computer Interaction. Amsterdam: North-Holland Elsevier Science Publishers.
  • Polson, P.G. & Kieras, D.E. (1985). A quantitative model of the learning and performance of text editing knowledge. Proceedings of CHI’85, 207-212.
  • Polson, P.G., Bovair, S., & Kieras, D. (1987). Transfer between text editors: Predictive cognitive modeling. Proceedings of CHI+GI’87, 27-32.
  • Polson, P.G., Muncher, E., & Engelbeck, G. (1986). A test of a common elements theory of transfer. Proceedings of CHI’86, 78-83.
  • Smith, J.A., Bubb-Lewis, C., & Suh, Y. (2000, June). Taking order status to task: Improving usability on the ibuy Lucent Web site. Proceedings of the 6th Conference on Human Factors and the Web. Retrieved November 2005.
  • Sonderegger, P., Manning, H., Souza, R.K., Goldman, H., & Dalton, J.P. (1999, December). Why most B-to-B sites fail. Forester Research.
  • Ziegler, J.E., Hoppe, H.U., & Fahnrich, K.P. (1986). Learning and transfer for text and graphics editing with a direct manipulation interface: Transfer of user skill between systems. Proceedings of CHI’86, 72-77.

Poor Example:

Drop-down boxes for date selection are consistent across the site, but one page places calendars in 'pop-up' windows, whereas other pages in the site show the calendars. This can confuse users, and should be avoided.02_03_bad_example