Direct Manipulation Paradigm and Apple Keynote

Keynote is a presentation software application developed as a part of the iWork productivity suite by Apple Inc. Version 8 of Keynote for Mac, the latest major update, was released in April 2018. On January 27, 2010, Apple announced a new version of Keynote for iPad with an all-new touch interface. (Wikipedia)

Paradigm coined by Shneiderman in 1983 which has 3 main principles:

  1. Continuous representations of the objects and actions of interest with meaningful visual metaphors 
  2. Physical actions or pressing buttons, instead of complex syntax 
  3. Rapid, incremental, reversible actions whose effects on the objects of interest are visible immediately 

Let’s map these principles as being successful on Apple Keynote Application (for few of selected functions):

Rule 01: The application refers to the continuous representation of the objects and actions of interest to provide meaningful visual metaphors and effects to users. Continuous representation is by manipulating the font for the text. When navigating/scrolling, colour highlights the font and its selection (a check is also visible in the list to show which one is already selected). On font selection, the text changes the font immediately and the user understands that the action is performed

Rule 02: This rule refers to simple physical actions such as the menu, toolbar and its associated buttons with text. Application menu provides the range of actions starting from simple copy, paste to the format and cloud sharing of the document along with shortcuts. 

Rule 03: This rule follows the principle of continuous feedback and irreversible actions. It highlights the text mistakes by underlining with red colour whenever the user types the wrong spelling in word. To reverse or undo the spelling mistakes context menu is made available along with every mistake for its correction. 

Let’s map these principles as a failure on Apple Keynote Application (for few of selected functions):

Rule 01:Continuous representation of objects or action: This rule fails in the case of cut, copy, paste. If the user cuts the text, the text disappears magically (which makes a novice user confused). When the user cuts the text, the app should retain the text with some kind of feedback until unless the text has been pasted on the destination

Rule 02: Simple physical actions it fails when the text is hidden for buttons and the machine is one of shared (maybe in institutes, assembly points etc. etc.). We tried to hide the text and tested on users to insert a chart or play they presentation then the users were confused about the chart button, table button, rehearse play and start button.

Rule 03: Rapid, Incremental and reversible actions The app fails in that case as well. Whenever increasing/decreasing the text upon selection. It crops the text rather than making it responsive. Reversible actions fail when the app crashed and the user has to force a restart. 

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