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I recently finished my winter master’s term at Southern New Hampshire University and the course focused on the role of a System’s Analyst. Reading some of the similarities I run into as a support engineer and learning on how they reflect in the role of a systems analyst was pretty daunting. The workload, the expected knowledge of the platform, and the project management skills you need to have nailed down truly opened my eyes to the job load. Part of me felt relieved to know most of the innate skills I posses are already being practiced yet the other part felt like there was a learning gap in my current role.

An exercise that we did, which brought my ease to rest, was when our professor had us do a User Experience review on a selected website. Doing this exercise was served to help apply all the developmental parts in a system analysis proposal that the analyst runs over and then have the user validate that by going on the application and navigating in the application successfully.

WHAT IS USER INTERFACE?

The user interface is the “finished product” of what the User will see as they interact with the Interface that you design. The design is typically successful if it passes the User Experience Designer and no major changes need to be made before it goes to the programmers for construction.

The User Interface should aim to be invisible to the User so that the User won’t want to question the next action on the screen. It should aim to be strategically and uniformly designed so that the colors, layout placement, and end-point of the actions taken as the User is achieved. Too much steps can make the flow bumpy and turbulent. Too little steps make the usability design feel ‘unfinished‘. Checking back as the ‘User‘ helps to answer your question about the design.

When I went on the The Weather Channel website, I was met with a clear header to select my target location. As soon as I went to the 24hr view I panicked because I wanted to look for that setting specifically, and instead, was met with weather updates on the hour by hour span. I then had to ask if the cite was showing 24hrs in a 12 by 12 hour reel or if that button was missing, so I got confused and moved over to the hourly, incoming report, and then the 5-day span forecast. At this point, I was able to better navigate where I wanted to look at, which is the sunrise and sunset times. I was relieved because I was able to find what I was looking for – those times! LOL

Usability Foundations

When I moved to the 1 year forecast, I navigated there much easier after getting to know the cite layout a little better. Once I tried going 5 years back, no data came up. Which made me question why the cite wouldn’t want to provide that much data that far OR that the cite couldn’t hold that much data. Overall, my interface experience was exactly how I would feel looking at a TV screen watching the news. Overwhelmed.

The exercise that was assigned in the class helped me remember the overall picture of the analysts role. It may be difficult to foresee all bumps and shortcomings in a project but the goal should always be to help the User navigate to their intended place. Whether that be checking the status of your shipping order or getting the nightly forecast before setting your alarm for the following morning, user interface actions are the only place the user and the analyst’s design structure meet, so keeping the line of communication clear and concise is the most important mission in seeing if the design was successful.

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