To ensure the user's control over the hardware or software, the following rules should be observed: p>
On / Off button
Each software program on a computer or laptop and / or app on a tablet or smartphone must possess a (virtual) on / off button. This allows the user of the device to decide whether he / she wants to keep the program running, or send to background, or is completely turned off.
The reason is threefold:
Consumer Privacy: thus the user can protect sensitive information against parties who harvest data over the Internet.
Sustainability: the user can determine when and how much energy (electric current) his device uses in order to save the expensive and environmentally polluting battery / rechargeable battery
. Cost: Moreover, the user must be in control of how much traffic can unwittingly place to rein in the cost of his subscription with the service provider (ISP or phone provider, music streaming service, etc.)
. With the prospect of future increases in robotics products, this advice is strongly recommended.
Dialog windows (message boxes, warning pop-ups) should provide clarity about:
Context: To which software or app does that window belong (pop-up that has just appeared for no apparent reason)
? Expertise: To whom is the message or question addressed regarding difficulty: end user, administrator, etc.
? Responsible: Whom is expected to take action that action: the application itself, the operating system, a peripheral device, the administrator or end user?
Sentence Structure: In the grammar of the message / question, it must be clear who the subject is, who / what the direct object, and what action is going to take place.
. Consequences: It should be stated what the consequences of the action will be, regarding choices such as Yes / No, Activate / Cancel.
Choice: When a button shown or optional link with the text 'Cancel', it must be clear what is cancelled: the dialog box? The entire application? The next action to take? etc. (For example, Cancel window? Or cancel function? Or cancel stepwise question process? Or cancel whole program?)
Remote control: When working from one computer over the network / Internet to another computer, be clear to what computer the dialog window belongs: to the server or to the client.
At each step a loophole must be installed (via Escape key) to get out of the steps enforced by the programmer or functional process.
Version number and production owner p>
Each program (web) application or app should clearly display which version it is, or the date on which that version was released.
The version number should be at an accessible place for finding by the consumer / end-user.
Of each piece of software, the end user must be able to easily see the status quo as regards version number, status update or upgrade order.
In any program, (web) application or App must be clearly indicated who the software manufacturer is and where to reach the person or organization (e.g. website address).
Any device or peripheral should have a unique -for the end user/layman recognizable- name, that it must broadcast/display on the network to which it is connected.
Error messages (except advanced information for programmers) must also contain a text written in language understandable to the consumer / end user.
For the end user, there must be a help text, that describes which steps must be taken to resolve the error.
The software manufacturer should provide the possibility that a user can completely uninstall a program or app, without leaving residue (programming code, registry keys, folders, or data) on the device.
© RGES 2016
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