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Computer interfaces and input devices are designed with right-handed users in mind. Most computer mice are ergonomically designed for right-handers, control keys (arrow keys, number pad, etc.) are located on the right side of keyboards so that they can be quickly operated with the right hand. Keyboard shortcuts are located on the left side of the keyboard, so that the right hand does not have to leave the mouse.
Software also tends to be designed for the right hand (e.g. right- click menu that follows the natural movement of the right wrist). These design characteristics make it difficult to learn to use a computer differently. Left-handed people therefore learn to do many things with their non-dominant hand, even in everyday life: using scissors, various sports, driving cars with manual gear shift.
For prototype A, the widely used hamburger menu was chosen, which makes the interface look uncluttered, as the menu structure is hidden at first glance, only becoming visible when the icon is tapped. It is an icon that has embedded itself in the consciousness over decades, as the button with which users can access the navigation. The hamburger icon, placed in a familiar position, is in the so-called thumb zone on the border between green (“easily accessible”) and yellow (an area that requires expansion; just low enough on the page that it still feels natural).
The two versions differ not only in the design of the menu, but also in the arrangement of other UI elements that are predominantly left-aligned (prototype A) or centered (prototype B).
In the second version a fixed navigation bar was designed at the bottom of the screen. This has the advantage that all menu elements are visible at the same time and users can save themselves an intermediate step. An indication (in this example the wavy line) can be used to orientate oneself on which page one is currently on. The icons used are mostly universal and unique icons (e.g. house for home page), but the flower for the packages may not be directly recognizable, or may not reveal all the content hidden behind it. So that the user flow does not come to a standstill, the best practice for icons was followed here and all icons were labeled with text. When designing the bar menu, care was taken to ensure that the minimum spacing between elements was maintained. In contrast to prototype A, the menu is located entirely in the green area of the thumb zone and is easily accessible regardless of handedness.
prototype A: 3 out of 5 users
prototype B: 1 out of 5 users
prototype A: 1 out of 5 users
prototype B: 2 out of 5 users
In the last section of my thesis, the knowledge gained from the research and the usability test has been summarized in guidelines. Primarily, this guide refers to the design patterns, however, a flawless user interface and user experience comprise more than that. The measures described are intended to help designers to create a mobile user interface that is comfortable to use regardless of handedness.
Master thesis at UAS St. Pölten
Master Digital Design
The thesis project won the 2nd place in the Golden Wire competition 2021 in the category of Graphic Design.