Context: The activity supported by the artifact is
secondary to other activities, but will occasionally require the user's
full attention for a short time.
Interactive kiosk display
Poster or flyer for an event
Problem: How should this artifact relate spatially
to other artifacts that might share its space, and how can it best use
the space it has?
Solution: Use as much space as needed to make it
comprehensible, but no more; focus tightly on the activity by excluding
all but the commonest actions, information, etc. from the top level, but
let those common ones take whatever space they need. Use terminology
and images familiar to the user to describe these actions. Don't
be afraid of verbosity -- no one will go read a manual to figure out a
Helper Posture artifact, so what's there has to suffice! As Alan
Cooper points out, you may also use brighter colors and larger graphic
elements than you would use for a Sovereign
Posture artifact, because the user won't see it for long enough to
become irritated. In fact, they may use it so little that they forget
how to use it between times; design it with new users in mind.
The user is principally doing something else, and this shouldn't interfere
The user doesn't want the artifact around except for the short time that
The user has little or no incentive to spend time learning the artifact,
so its learning curve should be as short as possible.
Always remember that the user's primary interest is in some other activity.
When planning for the user's possible interactions with the artifact, you
should assume that the user may stop using it at any time to return to
their primary activity. Remembered
State may be a helpful pattern to use, if the user may lose a significant
amount of effort by abruptly stopping or shutting down the Helper Posture
Resulting Context: As with Sovereign Posture, the
resulting context depends heavily upon which primary pattern you're building
the artifact around. Still, activities supported by this pattern
are generally pretty simple, so you can make the artifact's usage perfectly
obvious by using patterns like Step-by-step
Instructions (a common primary pattern for a Helper Posture artifact)
and Optional Detail On Demand.
Use Convenient Environment
Actions, of course, and Disabled
Irrelevant Things can help narrow down the user's available set of
actions even more than you've already done in the design of the artifact.
Notes: Adapted from "About Face," by Alan Cooper.
He called this pattern "Transient Posture."
Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last modified May 17, 1999
Copyright (c) 1999 by Jenifer Tidwell. All rights reserved.