Exam 1


Software Systems

Spring Semester 2001

Thursday, February 22, 2001 @ 10:00 AM



  1. Shneiderman uses five measurable human factors as one standard for evaluating user interfaces. Briefly (one sentence each) describe three of the five measurable factors, and explain why these factors are so important in the evaluation of user interfaces.

  2. You have just joined Jane McMurdock's staff as a technical specialist, and she has assigned you to the Killer Robot case. Your first task is to develop a list of at least three criteria that McMurdock can use to decide whether a computer programmer should be held accountable for the negative outcome of a program's execution. Each criterion, if partially or completely satisfied, must indicate that a particular programmer should be held accountable in some way.

  3. In Designing the User Interface, you read about Smith and Mosier's five high-level objectives for data display. Briefly (one sentence each) describe these objectives.

  4. Two of Shneiderman's 'golden rules' of interface design are "Design dialogs to yield closure." and "Support internal locus of control." Explain what these rules mean, give an example of each, and explain why Shneiderman considers them golden rules.

  5. Both the LUCID development methodology and Kent Beck's Early Development patterns emphasize the importance of participatory design. Identify the motivations for doing participatory design, and then briefly describe two kinds of prototype that Beck proposes one can develop through this approach.

  6. Experience has shown that three "pillars of design" help user-interface designs create better interfaces better. Identify each pillar and describe the role it plays in the design process.

  7. For what kinds of systems is the Model-View-Controller pattern a useful technique for designing interfaces? What advantages does MVC offer in such systems, and what costs does it impose?

  8. "Resolved: accidental death caused by poorly-programmed software is analogous to accidental death caused by firearm and should be treated similarly under the law." In one paragraph, outline an argument--pro or con--on this resolution.

  9. Read the scenario below. Based on your study of the ACM Code of Ethics and your in-class discussions of ethics, outline the ethical issues involved in this story. Should Dianne refuse to build the system as requested by the client?

Eugene Wallingford ==== wallingf@cs.uni.edu ==== February 19, 2001