Designing Responsive Interactive Systems Despite Performance Limitations

Wednesday, March 28, 2001 - 17:30
TH 331
Jeff Johnson

Many of today's interactive software products and services are not responsive enough. Responsiveness is one of the most important factors in determining customer satisfaction with software and online services, but it is continually slighted by developers. This tutorial distinguishes responsiveness from performance and points out that performance need not limit responsiveness. It explains that the user-computer interface is a real-time interface, with time-constraints that software must satisfy in order to be perceived as responsive. The tutorial also presents techniques for improving responsiveness despite limited or fluctuating processing resources. Many examples are provided of responsive and unresponsive systems.


Jeff Johnson is Principal Consultant at UI Wizards, Inc., a product usability consulting firm ( He has worked in the Human-Computer Interaction field since 1978.

After earning B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale and Stanford, he worked as a UI designer, programmer, manager, usability tester, and researcher at Cromemco, Xerox, US West, Hewlett-Packard Labs, Sun/FirstPerson, and SunSoft. He is the author of the recent user-interface design book "GUI Bloopers: Don'ts and Dos for Software Developers and Web Designers". He has also also authored or co-authored articles and book chapters on a variety of topics in Human-Computer Interaction and the impact of technology on society.