Tots to Teens is a catalog retailer specializing in children's clothing. A project has been underway to develop a new order-entry system for the company's catalog clerks.
The old system had a character-based user interface that corresponded to the system's COBOL underpinnings. The new system will feature a graphical user interface more in keeping with up-to-date PC products in use today. The company hopes that this new user interface will help reduce the turnover they have experienced with their order-entry clerks. Many newly hired order entry staff found the old system very difficult to learn and were overwhelmed by the numerous mysterious codes that had to be used to communicate with the system. A user interface walk-through evaluation was scheduled for today to give the users a first look at the new system's interface. The project team was careful to invite several key users from the order-entry department. In particular, Norma was included because of her years of experience with the order-entry-system. Norma was known to be an informal leader in the department; her opinion influenced many of her associates. Norma had let it be known that she was less than thrilled with the ideas she had heard for the new system. Due to her experience and good memory, Norma worked very effectively with the character-based system and was able to breeze through even the most convoluted transactions with ease. Norma had trouble suppressing a sneer when she heard talk of such things as "icons" and "buttons" in the new user interface. Cindy was also invited to the walk-through because of her influence in the order-entry department. Cindy has been with the department for just one year, but she quickly became known because of her successful organization of a sick-child day-care service for the children of the department workers. Sick children are the number-one cause of absenteeism in the department, and many of the workers could not afford to miss workdays. Never one to keep quiet when a situation needed improvement, Cindy has been a vocal supporter of the new system.
a. Drawing upon the design principles presented in the text, describe the features of the user interface that will be most important to experienced users like Norma.
b. Drawing upon the design principles presented in the text, describe the features of the user interface that will be most important to novice users like Cindy.