There are different types of database usability issues; you could talk about the problems that occur when a user views a database system . i. e. the user will see different from what the database contains. But with “the advance in design of highly interactive computer systems continues at an ever-increasing pace, with new developments in hardware and software being announced more frequently than ever before. ”
So with the increasing interactive computer systems, within this research proposal I am going to talk about the problems that a user may come across in the form of virtual reality VR, graphical user interface GUI and human computer interaction / interface HCI. The aim of this unit is to provide an understanding of the importance of VR, GUI and HCI in the development of user friendly computer software and to inform the reader about the components that may be involved in these features.
The Objectives that I want to achieve is to define what is meant by the terms VR, GUI and HCI. I also want to show what applications use Virtual reality, Human Computer Interaction and Graphical User Interface. The motivation I had to pick the topic of database usability issues was that I have learned about it in the past and I felt confident that it is an area that I enjoyed. It is better to write about something that you enjoy, so then the reader can feel the confidence in the review. It was also a topic I wanted to look further into especially the HCI factor.
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Within this initial literature review I have looked at a number of books and websites that I feel would help me in findings definitions for all usability features. I also looked at what applications use Virtual Reality, Human Computer Interaction and Graphical User Interface. According to (http://searchcio-midmarket. techtarget. com/sDefinition/0,,sid183_gci213303,00. html# ) “Virtual reality is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as a real environment. This means that the user will have a feeling of being able to enter a virtual world. Most of the current virtual reality environments are displayed either on a computer screen, and some simulations even include additional sensory information, such as sound through speakers or headphone. All the features make a pretend virtual reality world seem real. “The uses for virtual reality are infinite. It can be used for air traffic control, medicine, entertainment, office work and industrial design.
However, along with the good comes the bad. Virtual Reality could also be used for destructive purposes, such as war and crime. ” (http://library. thinkquest. org/26890/virtualrealityt. htm) So with having the brilliant feature of being submersed into an alternative world, there can also be downsides as well. For example I would say that gaming would be one of the most popular virtual realities, and in the news you also here about how games are taking over children’s life’s, and it is contributed to make kids obese.
This is true, but if used in the correct manner a VR can cause feeling of excitement. GUI or Graphical User Interface would possibly be the graphics that may be used to help create a virtual world. Galitz, W. (2007) also made a good point in saying that “GUIs are looked at in terms of their components, characteristics, and advantages over the older text-based systems. ” (Galitz, W. 2007) A brilliant quote I feel was found on (http://searchwindevelopment. techtarget. com/sDefinition/0,,sid8_gci213989,00. tml). “A GUI is a graphical (rather than purely textual) user interface to a computer. As you read this, you are looking at the GUI”. I love this quote because it’s true, I know that there are no images or graphics on this document, but if you were to open this document on a web browser this would be the graphical user interface you would see. I personally feel that graphics play a major role within a program whether it is a website, database or presentation. I feel as if people recognise images before text.
For example if we look at YouTube, people automatically recognise videos before even reading its title or description. On a website your eye is drawn to an image. So by having a program that incorporates high quality images, and maybe even videos, you will be catching the audience’s attention. HCI or Human Computer Interaction is a process that evaluates the interaction between the user and a program. For example does the user take advantage of features a program may have, do they use headphones when using a program.
Everything that is used to create a VR (virtual reality) or create GUI (graphical user interface) is put into play at HCI. According to (Dix, A. Finlay, J. Abowd, G. & Beale, R. 2004) Human computer interaction “is the study of how people interact with computers and to what extent computers are or are not developed for successful interaction with human beings. ” So HCI takes into account both sides of the computers users. It looks at things like the computer graphics, operating system, and programming language and on the human side according to (Cairns, P. Cox, A. 2008) “communication theory, graphic and industrial design disciplines, linguistics, social science, cognitive psychology, and human performance are relevant. ” So for a program to incorporate good HCI, it could contain features such as movable interfaces with pull-down menus, dialog books, check boxes, scroll bars etc. By incorporating features like these to a program the user will feel they have more of a input on what they are doing, this mainly created by the fact that the user will get the feeling that they are controlling what they do.
But according to (Preece, J. Rogers, Y. Sharp, H. Benyon, D. Holland, S. & Carey, T. 1994) “A decade ago, when our understanding of HCI was more limited, many systems developers might have felt that good intentions were the major requirement for producing an effective HCI design. ” However with the amount of changes that computers have gone through in the past decade, HCI is now better than it ever was. HCI nowadays is about giving a user the freedom to interact fully with a program whether it be a website, a game or a database etc.
With the rapid increase in new technologies and computers now smaller than ever, with more applications available and more advanced virtual reality experiences; we can only wonder what else can the future hold. We have already switched to digital photographs, mobile phones with GPRS, something that 20 years ago would have been laughed at. In fact GUI has taken a major leap into high definition. HCI has improved with the aspect of touch screens and wireless keyboards etc, and Virtual Reality has even branched out into the ergonomics sector.
It has produced a chair that will receive audio and vibrations from a program on a computer or TV. For example if you get shot at in a game, you will feel as if the bullet is just passing you ear and the vibrations captivate you so you feel like you in the actual game. But there is still some questions that need answered like:
- Why hasn’t the changes in HCI and GUI have an effect on things like teletext?
- I would also like to research into a device that has become available in the last year and find out why it hasn’t been available before.
- I want to find out how far Virtual Reality can stretch.
- I would also like to know if VR, HCI, GUI has had a major impact on the obese children of Brittan.
- What elderly people think about the change in technology today?
Finally I would love to know how childhoods have changed over the years with more and more computer devices available. I would use the internet mainly to gather my findings, but I would also look towards books and journals. I would use search engines to help me answer question one, and two. By doing this I could visit different sites that might give me answers.
I would probably use on-line forums for question three and four, to get a prospective on other people opinions. But for question four I would also use news websites to find statistics if any. For question five I would maybe visit an elderly / retirement home, or send out questionnaires hoping to find information that will help me answer my questions, I would also use questionnaires for question six but a little less complex maybe. As well as the questionnaires for question six I would probably go to a school and ask the kids myself, to get a real response.
To obtain answers from my research I would plan question six before school ends for summer, I would ask the kids what they plan to do for the summer, and when they return in September I would ask the same kids what they actually did with the summer. I would use the same concept for question four, I would ask for permission to maybe take note of different kids weight and height before they left for summer, and after they return from there break I would weigh and measure the same kids to work out if the summer has been an active one. Everything else I feel has no major rush but maybe for question three I would take note of the highest quality Virtual Reality system there is available now and in six months I would check if it has been improved any.
- Cairns, P. Cox, A. (2008) Research Methods for Human-Computer Interaction
- Dix, A. Finlay, J. Abowd, G. Beale, R. (2004) Human-Computer Interaction Galitz, W. (2007) The essential guide to user interface design
- Lawson, J. Yull, S. Anderson, H. Knott, G. & Waites, N. (2005) BTEC National Study Guide: IT Practitioners
- Preece, J. Rogers, Y. Sharp, H. Benvon, D. Holland, S. Carey, T. (1994) Human Computer Interaction Tech Target (2008)
- Virtual Reality [on-line]: http://searchcio-midmarket. techtarget. com/sDefinition/0,,sid183_gci213303,00. html# [Accessed: 22/04/09]
- Tech Target (2006) GUI [on-line]. (http://searchwindevelopment. techtarget. com/sDefinition/0,,sid8_gci213989,00. html). [Accessed: 26/04/09]
- Think Quest: Virtual Reality [on-line]. http://library. thinkquest. org/26890/virtualrealityt. htm [Accessed: 22/04/09]
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