Controls provide for User Configurability. Most systems have some means of configuration or control. Many people have a difficult time configuring systems.

Is that the VCR flashing?
One reason is that users of systems cannot find the control that they are interested in.

Controls of Every day Things

One lesson learned from the automotive industry is that similar controls should always be in the same place.

A new car model is not likely to have the steering wheel in the back seat or have it replaced by a joy stick. Being creatures of habit we always want to know that the steering wheel is going to be in the same place in each car we drive.

Another lesson learned is that similar controls should always have the same size and shape. This is not to say that all controls should have the same shape but that a volume control on one machine should look like the volume control on as many machines as have volume controls.

Computer user interface developers had begun to converge on the common look of controls before a new generation of game designers came along and erased a lot of progress.

Many people believe themselves to be intuitive. When they can operate one kind of machine they would like to think that this knowledge will transfer to others. Designers can help by making their controls intuitive so that the user can leverage his experience. A control is not intuitive because the designer declares it to be. A control is intuitive when it has attributes like similar things in the user's experience.

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