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GUI advantages validated.

In the first known study of its kind, Zenith Data Systems (ZDS) and Microsoft Corp. compared the performance of character-based (CUI) and graphical user interfaces (GUI) with novice and experienced users. The study was developed and administered by Temple, Barker & Sloane Inc., an independent research firm.

Research results strongly indicate that GUI provides benefits over CUI in office environments. Specifically, the research supports seven benefits. GUI users (1) work faster, (2) work better (complete more of their tasks accurately) and have (3) higher productivity than CUI users. GUI users express (4) lower frustration and (5) lower fatigue after working with PCs. Also, GUI users are better able than CUI users to (6) self-teach and explore and to (7) learn more capabilities within applications.

These findings support three powerful conclusions: GUI generates higher output per work hour through higher productivity; higher output per employee because of lower frustration and fatigue levels; and greater return on the technology investment because GUI users master more capabilities and require less training and support.

Many of these benefits can be attributed to the "navigation theory," which holds that the intuitive icons and menus embodied by GUIs help exploration, use, and retention of applications' functions-making users more productive, self-sufficient, and confident in their computing. The navigation theory suggests that GUI is superior to CUI for all corporate microcomputer users: clerical, professional an managerial.

Research Summary

(1) Work Faster-On average, novice GUI users completed 42% more tasks than novice CUI users in the same time. Experienced GUI users completed 35% more tasks than CLTI users.

(2) Work Better-Experienced GUI users correctly completed a higher proportion of attempted exercises: 91% vs. 74%. And 69% of experienced GUI users completed all tasks correctly vs. 17% for CUI users.

(3) More Productive-Both experienced and novice GUI users accomplished 58% more correct work in the same time frame than CUI users.

(4) Lower Frustration & (5) Lower Fatigue-After two days learning to use microcomputers and applications, GUI novices rated their frustration at 2.7 (out of 10), whereas CUI novices rated their frustration at 5.3. Experienced users' fatigue was rated at 4.3 for GUI and 5.8 for CUI.

(6) Better Ability to Self Teach and Explore-GUI novices felt greater confidence than CUI novices in their abilities to explore an application's advanced features: 5.0 vs. 2.4 before a test, and 7.5 5.8 after.

(7) Learn More Capabilities-GUI novices attempted 23% more new tasks than CUI novices.

From a Zenith Data Systems news release, dated May 15, 1990.

COPYRIGHT 1990 1105 Media, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Title Annotation:graphical user interface
Publication:T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)
Date:Aug 1, 1990
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