Dialog-Box Rooms

This entry is part 13 of 43 in the series Words

An experimental study recently (late 2011) ballyhooed in the press looks at how we tend to forget things as we move into a doorway, and that walking back into the room doesn’t help you recover the memories. (Duh. I could have told anyone this. As could everyone.) Not sure why prior studies on the same topic haven’t been so widely reported. And does this have something to do with the fact that those with Parkinson’s Disease get stuck in doorways?

Combine this with Alan Cooper’s dictum, from the first edition of About Face: The Essentials of User Interface Design: “A dialog box is another room. Have a good reason to go there.”Doorways

We get another heuristic (rule of thumb) for usability: “The more pages or dialog boxes a user has to traverse to accomplish a task, the less likely they are to remember what they were thinking at the beginning.”

In settings where distractions are rife, this effect is more likely to result in error, as you don’t have the cueing of the original screen to remind you where you were. The high degree of interruptions in the Emergency Department is a classic example.

Therefore, for applications for such environments should use techniques such as breadcrumb trails.

Again, duh. But the point is that the transition from page to page, or page to dialog box, is the transition where most of the forgetting occurs.

It’s not just you.

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This entry was posted by kconover on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011 at 9:51 am and is filed under Tutorials . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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