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Human Computer Interaction Unit I: The Importance of User Interface

Question 8: Compare a 1970’s screen, a 1980’s screen, and a 1990’s and

beyond screen [Apr/May 2008 – IT – Set 1 Q.1 (b)
[Aug/Sep 2008 – IT – Set 1 - Q.1 (b)
Answer (Key Points):
1970’s Screen
Innovation: Text based screen design
Advantages: Messages also became clearer, Meaningful fields Disadvantages:
Screens were not entirely clutter free, not user friendly
1. At the turn of the decade guidelines for text based screen design were finally widely
available and many screens began to take on a much less cluttered look through concepts
such as grouping and alignment of elements.
2. As in the figure (give any example), user memory was supported by providing clear and
meaningful field captions and by listening commands on the screen and enabling them to be
applied through function keys.
3. Messages also became clearer.
4. These screens were not entirely clutter free.
5. Instructions and reminders to the user had to be inscribed on the screen in the form of
prompts or completion aids such as the codes PR and SC.

1980’s Screen
Innovation: Advent of graphics
Advantages: visually enhance grouping, font sizes and styles, drop down
Disadvantages: Usage of Mouse not that much popular
1. The advent of graphics yielded another milestone in the evolution of screen design as in
2. While some basic design principles did not change, grouping an alignment for eg, borders
were made available to visually enhance grouping and buttons and menus for implementing
commands replaced function keys.
3. Multiple properties of elements were also provided including many font sizes and styles, line
thickness and colors.
4. The entry field was supplemented by a multitude of other kinds of controls including list
boxes, drop down combination boxes, pin boxes and so forth.
5. These new controls were much more effective in supporting a person’s memory.

1990’s Screen
Innovation: Selection from a list
Advantages: Greater improvements in the user computer screen interface
1. Now simply allowing for selection from a list instead of requiring a remembered key entry.
Completion aids disappeared from screens replaced by one of the new listing controls.
2. Screens could also be simplified by much more powerful computers being able to quickly
present a new screen.
3. In the 1990s our knowledge concerning what makes effective screen design continued to
expand coupled with ever improving technology.
4. Result was even greater improvements in the user computer screen interface as new century
5. Touch screens improved in the end of 1990s