This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

User Centered Design Strategy for the Design of Visual Data Displays




Possien, Paul

Type of Degree



Industrial Design


In the last thirty years digital technology has revolutionized the way that we interact with products. Most digital products, such as phones, GPS devices, digital music players, and digital video and still cameras, make use of data display systems as the primary method of navigating and controlling the product’s functions. While many of these product categories didn’t even exist thirty years ago, they are all using data display principles that were created in the 1980s. These principles of ergonomics and display from the 1980s have little or no relevance to many of the crucial design decisions required for products in production today. The outdated and limited human factors approach of the 1980s, while still useful in determining many qualities of form interaction and use, is woefully inadequate to address the many user interaction needs that have come about as a result of interactive data screens that control a wide variety of complex tasks and information in many of today’s products. With the advent of website computer languages such as HTML, millions of users, many with little or no formal training, have been able to develop websites for the World Wide Web. These webpages are data display systems. In fact, of all of the data display systems mentioned so far, this type of data display system is the most complex and complicated. Many “self taught” web developers and more than a few design professionals obtain most of their information from a combination of books and online resources like blogs and user groups. The problem is that this type of information rarely discusses design principles that are critical to the effective design of data display systems. As a result, the web is riddled with data display systems that are extremely ineffective in meeting user needs.