Designing the user interface: Text, colour, images, moving images and sound
Designing the user interface: Text, colour, images, moving images and sound

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Designing the user interface: Text, colour, images, moving images and sound

2 Text

2.1 The role of text

Text is the dominant component in most education and training software, and on many websites. It also plays a central role in standard software applications such as word processors and spreadsheets. It is a flexible and powerful means of communication.

Activity 1

Look at a multimedia encyclopaedia. Identify four ways in which it uses text. For each, what are the characteristics of the text (for example, is it a single word or a block of text)? What is its purpose?


On my encyclopaedia I identified the following uses of text.

  • Blocks of text intended to provide information about a particular topic.

  • Headlines in bold with a larger type size. These structure the information.

  • Buttons with text on them. The text, usually a single word, communicates the meaning of the underlying command.

  • Captions under illustrations to identify them and explain their content.

As we can see from this activity, text is used in very different ways within UIs. Thus there is a variety of issues to consider.


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