I'll provide access to sample solutions if you first hand in an attempt to answer the questions.

Copyright Chris Johnson, 2000.

Xday, XX May 2000.

10.00 am - 12.00pm

University of Glasgow




Answer 3 of the 4 questions.


(a) Give three reasons why a designer might choose to use JFC/Swing rather than AWT to implement a web-based interactive system.

[3 marks]

(b) Briefly explain how designers can use inconsistency as a creative tool in interface development.

[5 marks]

(c) You have been asked to help re-design an e-commerce site. This site was set up six months ago and since then has established a thriving business in booking theatre and cinema tickets for Internet users throughout Scotland. However, the company has noticed that many of its users become lost as they navigate through the web site. Briefly describe four presentation techniques that can be used to prevent people from become lost in hyperspace and sketch how these techniques might be used in a new design for the e-commerce site.

[12 marks]


(a) Briefly explain why retrieval delays can result in users making more errors and task failures during interaction with web-based systems.

[3 marks]

(b) What techniques would you use to identify whether or not those errors were a significant problem with a particular system? (Hint: you should consider the problems created by the Hawthorne effect).

[5 marks]

(c) You have been commissioned by the Autonomous Bank of Glasgow to improve the usability of its on-line banking service. They have recognised that user error is a significant problem with the existing system. People are issuing commands to make deposits and transfers by mistake. Briefly explain how user-profiling and context sensitive help might be used to address these problems during interaction with the banking system.

[12 marks]


(a) Briefly explain why many user interface designers have begun to focus on the users working environment as a major concern during interface development.

[4 marks]

(b) It is very difficult to make predictions about the environments in which portable devices, such as personal digital assistants (PDAs) and mobile telephones, are used. As a result, designers are building new generations of devices that are context aware. In other words, they can detect properties of their environment, such as sound levels. Other devices use the Global Positioning System to determine their geographical location. Identify two advantages and two disadvantages to these new context aware systems.

[4 marks]

(c) It is now possible to install versions of the Java virtual machine on personal digital assistants (PDAs) and mobile telephones. Briefly explain why it is difficult to support the notion of write once-run anywhere for the user interfaces to these compact devices. Use your answer to propose solutions that might be adopted to increase the portability of code between desktop and mobile applications.

[12 marks]


You have been asked to design the user interface for a new route-finding system. This application will be based on a head-up display. In other words, information about the cars current location and the best route to the destination will be projected directly onto the windscreen of the car. Unlike previous route-finding systems, this project is focussing on cheaper, mass-market vehicles. Briefly explain the problems that you and your team will face in performing an accurate requirements elicitation for this new interface and the problems that you may face in evaluating any proposed interface to this in-car navigation system.

[20 marks]