Software “Pegasus Mail” Essay Example
Software “Pegasus Mail” Essay Example

Software “Pegasus Mail” Essay Example

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  • Pages: 4 (1694 words)
  • Published: November 26, 2017
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"The user interface is the users' gateway into the computer, enabling the required human-computer interaction to take place." (Operating Systems incorporation UNIX & Windows, page 32, Colin Ritchie).

Human Computer Interaction deals with the ergonomic aspects of the computer interface. The principles of HCI are of importance to the computer system designer, which means that they are also important to the operating system design. As a result, user friendliness is now a factor in the system design even though it isn't very successful in some cases.The next step in HCI was the introduction of the Graphical User Interface. The GUI is an interface where "the user sends directions to the operating system by selecting icons from a menu or manipulating icons on the screen by using a pointing device such as a mouse.

" (Computers, tools for an information age by H.L.Capron, page 551) Another interesting fact which tells us that HCI is important, is the fact that "approximately 80% of what we learn, we learn through seeing and that we retain 30% of what we see as against 10% of what we read." (Lecture notes).

Cognitive PsychologyCognitive Psychology is largely based on a model of the "human mind as a processor of information" (lecture handouts) If we look at the human processing of information, it can be put into five stages. These stages are Input > encoding > comparison> response> output. Encoding is converting input information from the environment into an internal representation. The comparison stage is when the brain tries to find a comparison from memories to the new infor

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mation it is receiving.

A response can then be decided upon and then executed by the body.A brief history and Introduction of Pegasus MailPegasus Mail is a is fully featured internationally known e-mail system for PCs and Mac's, which are connected to Novell NetWare Local Area Networks and TCP/IP networks.It has been used to send millions of e-mail and helps people around the world communicate. The system was created by David Harris and sent its first message in December 1989.

Since February 1990 it has been available on the Internet for free and first appeared on a Windows system in 1993.Due to the fact that the Internet has changed a lot since 1990 there have been many advances in the program and manuals created to help users use Pegasus.VisibilityThis is the area of the interface, which aims to enhance the user's interaction if the appropriate colour are used by the developer, it can result in degradation of the interface if the wrong colours are used, causing annoyance to the user/s. For example, bad choice of colours and layout may give some users eyestrain and headaches from trying to read inappropriate fonts.The overall look of Pegasus mail is very boring; the colour grey isn't very appealing, but it is very effective. When considering the visibility of Pegasus we must also consider the luminance.

Luminance is important because "Acuity (sharpness) increases with luminance" and "Discomfort from reflected glare may be reduced." (Lecture notes).AffordanceAffordance is perceived as something that can provide "Indications of how something can be used, Clues to what something "is for

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Pegasus is an e-mail program that can send/receive e-mails, so it does do its basic desired function. Although it does offer a lot of functions, it requires the user to look for them, which is bad HCI.

When the program is started there is no help offered unlike Microsoft word, which has an animated paperclip offering help. This lack of help too send e-mail leaves the user guessing what too press on the screen. This is also bad HCI in my opinion.FeedbackThere are some sections of Pegasus that don't give any feedback to the user. For instance, if the user clicks the (check your POP3 host for new mail) icon then there is no feedback from the program to tell the user if the function worked or not (nothing happens).Use of metaphors(Icons that can are found in Pegasus Mail)Metaphors are used in interface design to help users learn the application by facilitating the transfer of existing knowledge; this makes an application much more user friendly, and faster to learn.

Although poorly applied metaphors, on the other hand, can simply confuse the user as, the association with the icon and it's function is ambiguous, I will give some examples of this below.An example of a metaphor in Pegasus can be seen in the icons, for example theIcon shows a pen and piece of paper, this is obviously a metaphor, which means to write e-mail, and is fairly self-explanatory, and serve's its purpose well. The same can be said for the majority of icons in Pegasus, although I will say that some icons aren't as clear as others. For instance, I didn't know what the (create or manage rules for filtering your e-mails) icon meant until I read the help section given when placing the cursor over it.

Use of menusThere is one bad use of the drop down menu in the top menu bar of Pegasus mail. Once the drop down menu is clicked there is only one option available, which is the default. This function might as well not be there in my opinion.Icons"Number of items on a menu, from a large body of work in experimental psychology comes the mainly useful conclusion that our so called 'short term memory' has the ability to hold around seven items or chunks of information at a time.

" (Lecture handouts) Pegasus e-mail drop down menus have lots of separate sections which means that the user will have to remember where lots of options are, this is bad HCI.IconsPegasus mail has many icons (shortcuts) for the user to use. The only problem I discovered is that I didn't recognise many icons, which makes the whole idea about using the icons useless. For instance I didn't know what the key did due to the fact that I hadn't ever seen it before in any other program.

It wasn't until I clicked it that I found out that it was the font setting for e-mail.I have also noticed that the lower icons have a description above them to tell the user what they do, but the top section of icons don't, this brakes the design flow and

is bad HCI.ButtonsOne important point I noticed about the spelling option was the fact that there isn't a "cancel" button, which is what most users would look for. Instead, the user has to click the "End check" button to cancel the spell checker.Check BoxesI believe that there are also buttons in Pegasus, which aren't necessary and can just lead to confusion of the user. For instance, the view mail button just hides or shows pictures/fancy writing.

This isn't a very good function if the person who sent the e-mail wanted the person reading it too sees the embedded pictures and coloured writing.E-mail view 1 E-mail view 2Check boxesIn many e-mail services, the user can open a folder called "sent items" to see what e-mails have been sent, but in Pegasus the user has to create this folder themselves and tell the program to save the mail they are about to send using the "Copy self" checkbox. This is bad HCI because the user may forget to check the checkbox and then loose the information telling them who they have sent the mail to.Windows and dialogue boxesThere are many windows and dialogue boxes in Pegasus mail. One point that I have noticed is the fact that in the telephone message option, there is a lot of empty space unused by the program.

This is a waste and could be considered as bad HCI.When the user receives e-mail, they can see the "raw view" of the e-mail by selecting a window on the message. This section is useful to the user as, it gives an option of preference to the user, which is good HCI.SummarisationNegative points;I believe that although Pegasus mail has a useful help menu function, but overall it isn't very user friendly.This is because the program doesn't follow the same way of carrying out tasks, and a different design layout to other e-mail programs which the user is familiar too such as outlook express.Pegasus can be difficult to figure out at first, compared with some of the other e-mail applications that are currently available.

Its many icons are not immediately decipherable, and even the mouse rollover tips don't always help. For instance, what does "Open a list of local people on your system" mean?Lastly, the address book is very basic, it doesn't, for example, include entries for multiple telephone numbers or even an entry for a person's Web site.Positive Points;Pegasus's strength, however, is in its quirks, which help make it a powerful program. For example, Pegasus gives you extremely fine control over the rules for automatically processing incoming messages. You can create rules to send canned e-mail responses based on words in the subject line, have the client play a specific sound when messages marked urgent arrive, and create separate "I'm away" messages for different senders.

One decidedly unexpected feature is the ability to send e-mail with preformatted text, telling the recipient that he has received a phone call.Pegasus's message-viewing capabilities, are another great feature, one view lets you quickly switch between displaying an HTML message either as plain text or as HTML, and the raw view shows the entire

message, including all the header information showing the path the e-mail took to your in-box.Final ConclusionFor a program to be user friendly, it has to be "be user oriented: simple in organisation, easy to learn, and easy to navigate.I don't believe that Pegasus is very well organised due to the layout and the fact that the user may have to buy a book to be able to use the system, shows that it isn't user friendly.