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2.2 Ease of Use

These interface models are optimized for ease of use rather than for ease of learning. Users learn by exploring the system after some initial training. Once users have learned a few basic things about the interface, such as how to move the cursor to a choice and select it and how to get help, they should feel free to explore and continue to learn about an application.

An interface optimized for ease of learning is often called walk-up-and-use. This type of interface requires that applications lead users step by step through their activities and present information frequently to tell users what to do next and how to do it. New users find this very helpful. However, once they know how to use the applications, the continued presentation of tutorial information, once so welcome, becomes an annoyance.

In designing your applications, you should consider carefully before choosing to put ease-of-learning features in the user interface. In general, these features should be frequent only in applications that you expect will be used primarily by inexperienced users or will be used only a few times. A good place for such an application might be an automated information booth in an airport or hotel lobby. The entry model is better suited than the text subset for providing ease-of-learning features.

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