Copyright by Jeff Johnson

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Chapter 8. Limits on Attention, Shape, Thought and Action

When people interact purposefully with the world around them, including computer systems, some aspects of their behavior follow predictable patterns, some of which result from the limited capacity of attention and short-term memory. When interactive systems are designed to recognize and support those patterns, they fit better with the way people operate. Some user interface design rules, then, are based directly on the patterns and thus indirectly on the limits of short-term memory and attention. This chapter describes six important patterns.

We Focus on Our Goals and Pay Little Attention to Our Tools

As Chapter 7 explained, our attention has very limited capacity. When people are doing a ...

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