Software Sim Design Best Practices

So I've been searching the net for some software simulation design best practices to validate some ideas and design choices that I do while developing software simulations and haven't really found what I was looking for. Most of the information I found was about learning theories such as making the learning relevant and other standard learning principles.

What I'm looking for is best DESIGN practices.  For example:

  • I like to create different color icons for the various actions that will need to be taken. I use a different icon on captions when the user needs to watch what happens and a different icon when the user needs to click on something (interactive), or if the info is a reminder or a warning.  Below is an example of what I usually add to my software sims. My theory behind this design choice is because it helps cue the user to different actions or emphasizes certain information and makes it easier to remember. 
  • Another design choice I make is that I never have captions and mouse movement shown at the same time. When I need to demonstrate a mouse action, I play the narration first and show a caption explaining the action, then I fade the caption and animate the mouse movement or action.  Same thing with typing something in. I believe that having both the caption (the user has to read it) and the mouse movement (the user has to watch it) causes visual overload for the user. While this isn't specifically referenced by Mayer in his 12 principles for multi-media learning, I do believe that the Redundancy principle applies. 

If anybody has a online source, article, or book that they can link about other software sim design best practices or if you can share some design practices you do I would appreciate it. 

Be the first to reply