Training Wheels in a User Interface

John M. Carroll, Caroline Carrithers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

181 Scopus citations


New users of high-function application systems can become frustrated and confused by the errors they make in the early stages of learning. A training interface for a commercial word processor was designed to make typical and troublesome error states “unreachable,” thus eliminating the sources of some new-user learning problems. Creating a training environment from the basic function of the system itself afforded substantially faster learning coupled with better learning achievement and better performance on a comprehension post-test. A control group spent almost a quarter of their time recovering from the error states that the training interface blocked off. We speculate on how this training strategy might be refined, and more generally, on how function should be organized in a user interface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)800-806
Number of pages7
JournalCommunications of the ACM
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 1984

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science


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