Kernerman Dictionary News • Number 7 • July 1999

Designing PASSPORT for Computer

Hana Cohen

The graphic design of a computer software is often a crucial factor in its success. It can make the program more fun to use and more appealing. The design component is becoming ever more significant alongside the advance of technology. Until recently well-designed software could pride itself in having a colorful windowish interface which enables the simultaneous operation of several applications, but nowadays that is seen as a trivial requirement. Today the object is to create sensory experience by applying audio and visual wealth. The goal is to simulate real-life experience and to create virtual reality by using realistic, day-to-day sound and high quality graphics which resemble tangible elements.

Another cause for the great leap forward in the standard of software design is the Internet, which has made the common gray windows and monotonous square buttons obsolete. The current aim is to activate as many as possible of the user's senses, by displaying on the screen a lively program which resembles a real plaything with the aid of relevant sound, actual textures, and command buttons which appear like perceptible objects.

In designing PASSPORT Electronic Dictionary, in addition to the above considerations, we took into account the characteristics of the target audience. The program is addressed primarily to children and youth, and is supposed to provoke and help them to learn a new language. It should thus offer the learner a comprehensive multimedia experience, but at the same time avoid creating an overburdened environment, so learning may take place under optimum conditions. It is also important to remember that this particular user age group is generally exposed to the highest quality of software design through daily use of the Internet and computer games. Since the design of the Passport dictionary application was carried out with these considerations in mind, our aim was to arrive at a simple yet progressive graphic display.

The idea was to present the user with a sophisticated graphic design by creating working surroundings that are three-dimensional and colorful though not childish, and contain panels and rubber-like buttons. In order to maintain all the elements "at hand's reach", the program was designed with the approach of "everything on the screen", thus all the functions are deployed in front of the user with no element hidden from sight. The resulting product is rich in contents, with easy and straightforward access.

Hana Cohen graduated in Computer Sciences at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan. She is the program designer of PASSPORT Electronic Dictionary.

K Dictionaries Ltd
10 Nahum Street, Tel Aviv 63503 Israel
tel: 972-3-5468102 • fax: 972-3-5468103