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

2.2 The characteristics of text

Text has a number of technical advantages over other media.

  • Text files are small. Images, sound, animation and video all produce large computer files, even when compressed. These files can be slow to load from CD-ROM or to transmit via the Internet; this can reduce the usability of the UI. Text files are much smaller.

  • Text can be manipulated very easily. For example, it is possible to search for words. If you are visiting a website, this sort of facility can save a huge amount of time. This is difficult to achieve with other media.

However, it is probably society's reliance on text-based materials that maintains the central role of text. Nevertheless, although certain sectors of society spend much of their time reading and writing, this is not true for all sectors; as a UI designer you should explore the attitude of your user group to text. For example, you might like to find out their average reading age and the newspapers they read.

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