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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.

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