Today, we’ve looked at a variety of Gestalt principles that describe how we perceive visual information. In particular, these principles tell us how our mind interprets an interface as more than the sum of its parts. These Gestalt principles include:
- Proximity: we group things together that are close to each other in space.
- Similarity: we group things together that look alike.
- Continuity: we fill in discrete structures into continuous structures automatically.
- Closure: we automatically close structures that are open.
- Symmetry: we reduce complexity by seeking out symmetry.
- Figure/ground: we recognize elements that are in the foreground versus the background.
For this lab, we’ll take a look at various IDEs and see how these Gestalt principles are applied in practice in development tools. Choose three development environments that your group members are familiar with. Try to choose a variety of environments that span languages and complexity. For each environment, perform a heuristic analysis using these Gestalt principles. How well does the environment take advantage (or not) of these Gestalt principles?
Finally, once you are done with your heuristic analysis, create a sketch-based prototype of an IDE that takes advantage of all these principles in some way. Outline in your sketch concretely where each principle comes into play.