Download Free Electronic Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.7 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback18 pages $20.00 $16.00 20% Web Discount

This Note describes six dimensions for user-computer interfaces (those that are easy to use, to learn, to teach, to relearn, to unlearn, to avoid harm, and to support) that distinguish among aspects of a program's behavior often confused within the "user friendly" rubric. Some of these dimensions are mutually antagonistic, so priorities and choices must be made, depending on the user's context. The authors apply the six dimensions to aid in understanding the love/hate relationship some software interfaces engender. Through categorizations of user interface traits, such as the example proposed here, they hope to aid both the design and procurement of effective user-computer interfaces for software products.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

This research in the public interest was supported by RAND, using discretionary funds made possible by the generosity of RAND's donors, the fees earned on client-funded research, and independent research and development (IR&D) funds provided by the Department of Defense.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.