HUMAN CENTRED COMPUTING Assignment 1 – Usability and User Experience Goals
Table of Contents
Introduction ………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 1
Usability and User Experience Goals………………………………………………………………………. 1
Design Principles ………………………………………………………………………………………………… 4
This assignment is regarding the deployment of a new design of the interface of the existing
digital search facility within the British Library website, and a new design for the interface
and interactions of the automated agent dispensing items in the relevant circulation desk in
the reading room of the British Library.
British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom with a collection of over 170
million items making it one of the largest libraries in the entire world.
Usability and User Experience Goals
Usability and user experience goals are very crucial to the design process of any application
as the wants and needs of a user must be taken into consideration. This is where the
usability and user experience goals come in.
These goals give a solid foundation and a structure to the application and a clear objective
of what is expected from them.
Usability goals focuses on the value and quality of the application or system, looking at if its
effective, efficient, memorable, safe etc, whereas the user experience goals focal point is
how the user is feeling during the usage of the service, product or application such as is it
entertaining, helpful, aesthetic pleasing to the eye, enjoyable and motivating.
Effectiveness is defined as the degree to which something is successful in producing a
wanted result and this is the first usability goal I have selected.
In the case of task 1 effectiveness is important as in many aspects of this task there are
many induvial processes being done like identifying and ordering a physical resource , the
retrieving of the item from an automated agent and then lastly item being dispensed by a
digital kiosk, robot etc. As there are many individual processes depending on each other
effectiveness ensures a great level of productivity and tasks being complete. This can of
course be measured by creating prototypes and testing how effective each process and
machine is at completing the task it’s assigned to do.
Second usability goal I have chosen is efficiency.
Efficiency is defined as working or operating in an organized, quick, and effective way.
The British Library has over 20 million books and 1.6 million visitors per year. More than any
other, making it one of the largest libraries in the world on par with the library of congress
in America, clearly showing the vast scale and the vast demand of it. Therefore, the usability
goal efficiency is so important for the British Library when using the automated agent that
dispenses of physical items in the relevant circulation desk as waste of time and energy
within this process can slow down productivity and can cause distasteful experiences with
students and curious readers that visit the British Library from all over the world resulting in
a massive reduction of the huge amount visitors per year. This can be measured similarly as
I mentioned above by creating several prototypes and analysing the efficiency of each
process and automated agent and after comparing the different prototypes created, finding
the factors that are causing inefficiencies and alter the agents to make them as efficient as
they can be.
The third usability goal I have selected is memorability
Memorability is the quality or the state of being easy to remember.
It’s important to incorporate an easy and memorable interface within the agent as the user
shouldn’t have to stress and use their brain power to work out how to select and order what
they wish to read or view. It should be so uncomplicated to operate that all age groups can
use it with no hassle or else it will put the user off their experience at The British Library and
they most likely won’t return.
An expert who has experience of creating a simple interface but still make it an effective and
an aesthetically pleasing interface is needed. Analysis of the interface must be done to
maximize the functionality but at the same time keep it as simple and easy to remember.
I’ve chosen a user experience goal which is it must be aesthetically pleasing.
Something that is referred to as aesthetically pleasing means you consider that something
to be attractive or beautiful.
The interface of the automated agent is very important as it can be a brand application
using the likes of colour, logo, animations and illustrations. Over 115,000 users have
registered to use the reading rooms and over 9000 people are members of the British
library demonstrating the enormous amount of people that return to use these facilities and
will want to see an interface that is visually pleasing as it allows users to keep a positive attitude while using the facilities and help build an engagement with the users that will want to return to the library.
This can be measured by doing surveys given out to members of the British library and
getting feedback and measuring their tastes to find the best possible interface.
The final user experience goal I have chosen is interface must be motivating/Motivation
Motivating is defined as providing the incentive to action.
Why I selected this as a crucial factor is because not only the members of the library and
curious book lovers come to British library.
There are other people who are trying better their education and vocabulary by getting into
the habit of reading. Studies from the reading agency say that nearly 1 in 3 (31%) of people
during the recent lockdowns have started reading more. To help motivate them further
constructing a motivating and creative interface can give them a sort of uplift especially
This can be measured by researching techniques and the psychology behind motivation and
using those techniques found and integrate them into an interactive interface to encourage
Efficiency is one of the main usability goals for this task as the British library has more than
20 million books and for the ALS to move items from public reading collection to the
restricted collection (which is due for restoration) with ease and at a fast pace requires
maximum efficiency. This can be measured by the creation of different prototypes built with
different materials and different weights then a comparison of the data acquired using
various graphical displays like bar charts stem plots etc. This can help find the most cost
effective and efficient ALS system for the library.
Another usability goal I selected is Safety
Safety is defined as the condition of being protected from or other danger
I’ve chosen this usability goal as the British library has over 160 million items and up to 13
million printed and electronic books yet again evidencing the sheer scale and size of the
library and moving items with automated systems can have a huge risk element to it. As
many automated systems can be prone to malfunctions which can cause a lot of
unpredictable chaos for the library assistant and malfunctions can also be harmful and
cause injuries to other staff or anyone in the vicinity at that unfortunate time. It can also
cause a delay in the restoration of books having a negative knock-on effect for the library
This can be reassured and measured by conducting thorough safety checks on machines
before brought out to use. Also, while in use the machines should be checked every week or
so to make sure the machine is the safest it possibly can be preventing the malfunctions.
The next usability goal I’ve chosen is memorability
This is important in my opinion for this task as the library assistant who requests the ALS to
do certain tasks or operations should feel at ease when using the interface of the
automated systems as the interfaces can get quite complex at times due to the number of
different functionalities all crammed onto a screen. Therefore, efficient interfaces can lead
to an increase in memorability as there are less steps to accomplish what the person is set
out to do, in our case efficient interface of the automated library systems allows the library assistant to have an effortless experience and allows the assistant to remember the process even after not visiting that interface after a long period of time.
The Memorability can be measured by using people with no experience conducting
experiments by exposing the interface and allowing them to learn and familiarise
themselves with the system. Then call the same person back again after a few months and
test how well they can use the same interface
User experience goal I’ve chosen is helpful/helpfulness
Why this goal is because it links into the last point I made about memorability. Making the
interface of the ALS as memorable and simple as possible for the library assistant (our user)
is very important and this is very helpful for them as even if the Assistant doesn’t see the
interface for a while, due to its memorable features they can use it with ease. Coming back
to the main point making it helpful, the features and the design of the interface for him or
her should prompt them to make it simpler as they have many other duties as a library
assistant so helping them by adding features that are interactive and informative making their role easier which results in more productiveness
Last user experience goal I’ve selected is making it engaging
A badly designed interface or even an average designed can be in some ways boring losing
the users interest due to its basic design and features. Making an interface and its features
engaging can keep the user interested over a longer period of time which subsequently
increases the productivity of that employee. Engaging interfaces can be achieved using
sound, animations and other interactive methods.
There are six main design principles which outline a structure of the dos and don’ts to create
an up to mark design. These are Visibility, Feedback, Constraints, Consistency, Affordance
Feedback is an important design principle as it lets the user know if the actions he or she is
performing are working or else the user wouldn’t know if they should move onto the next
step of the process or not. Every action taken needs a reaction therefore system reacts to a
certain action the user does and produces an output of some kind, for example a pop up
with a message that says complete in green font etc. There are many ways of giving
feedback to the user like a certain sound, a loading animation or a pop up as mentioned in
the example. Feedback also helps with engaging with the user resulting in better user
satisfaction of the interface.
Constraints are defined as a limitation or a restrictions
The users (being the student in our case) are prone to making mistakes and it is our duty to
reduce those mistakes as much as possible to give them a user-friendly experience on the
interface. Users can easily press buttons accidentally or without knowledge and do certain
actions you didn’t mean for them to do. As you can see in the screenshot above on my MacBook, they have dulled certain options out like “Actual Size” and “Stop “or “Customise Touch Bar” meaning I can’t press on them.
This is a great example of a constraint. It restricts me from pressing on that specific action
which clearly is unnecessary for me.
Visibility is another design principle, and it means how clear cut the specific feature or a
component of a software is. It allows a user to have a clear insight of what they should do.
In a way links to constraints. Having visible constraints and a visible interface allows the user
to use the interface with more ease and less hassle as everything is crystal clear to them.
Consistency means the maintenance of something. In a similar way throughout and in this
context creating a consistent interface is important as a user shouldn’t have surprises and
have to use their thinking power throughout the interface. This can be done by using
consistent fonts and similar button sizes making the interface very appealing and overall, an
aesthetically pleasing interface (which is a user experience goal).
Buttons which have similar functionalities on different pages should be kept the same
maintaining that consistency and helping improve the overall user experience. The same
action performed should have the exact same reaction throughout.
Affordance referred to the attributes of an object which shows users what actions they can
take, in simple terms a clue for the user (guiding them what to do).
A real-world example of this is a switch. A light switch slanted shape hints to the user to
push the switch to perform the action of turning the light on. Affordance allows users to
perceive how to use certain items without prior knowledge or any real thought.
Mapping refers to the relationship between the actions and their specific desired effects.
Top level mapping is when the outcome corresponds to your desired expectation.
The creation of prototypes is very crucial as having a simple design of the massive
applications allows you to streamline and refine every fine detail minimising the problems
to arise later in the development phase.
Low fidelity prototypes are very inexpensive and simple but very affective for laying out the
skeleton of the design and making changes very easily.
The user starts by typing the British library URL ‘bl.uk’ in their favoured search engine. That
will take them of course to the British libraries main page. On the pages we tried to maintain
visibility by spacing the buttons and words apart. On the main page they will have a huge
button that has ‘search here’ which helps the user indicate without any hassle where to
search for his/her resource. If of course they can’t find their desired resource, they will
emerge at a page where it will say 0 results which is feedback, letting the user know that the
item they entered wasn’t found and we also give them suggestions on how to find the thing
they’re looking for, also as you can see consistency throughout all the pages of the website
resulting in a better user experience. For them to go back a big ‘go back’ button is placed.
The font and the number of functionalities on that page is minimised to maintain the
efficiency and the memorability of the page due to its simple layout. When they do go back,
they have an advanced search button where it expands and gives them options refine the
search. This is made with simple refine search parameters like name of author, date
published etc so that it’s easy for the user to understand. After the resource is found
options are displayed in a neat vertical manner with a photo of the book or item cover with
brief details beside it. After selecting which resource you want. Two options come up as a
radio button either a digital copy or a physical copy this is an affordance, we used to prompt
the user to choose a format of book by clicking one of the radio buttons. Details are
required below, and a constraint was added to the phone number section as only numbers
are allowed to be typed reducing accidental typing in of normal letters or special characters
Finally, after entering details and selecting book format a receipt is sent to both email and
phone number provided.
The users are the most important and the usability goals and user experiences allow the
creators and developers to really ask the questions required of what they want
Disregarding these goals can lead to tragic design and of course a tragic development of