Flight Searching - A Comparison of Two User-Interface Design Strategies

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Executive Summary

The most usable user-interface is not necessarily the most popular. For example, the extent to which an interaction is based on graphics can depend highly on convention rather than usability. This paper compares contemporary flight search applications in order to investigate whether a more extensive use of graphics can enhance usability. Two user-interfaces are compared: one follows the ideal principles of graphical user-interfaces and direct manipulation, while the second interface requires text to be entered with a keyboard. The results of the comparison indicate that even an early prototype of the graphics based alternative performed better than the typical formula based search application for several measurements of usability.

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