ISO 9241 Part 16: Direct manipulation dialogues


ISO 9241-16:1999 Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs) -- Part 16: Direct manipulation dialogues.


International Standard. Will be replaced by ISO 9241-133.

Lifecycle Phase

Create the user experience.

Type of Guidance

Principles and general recommendations.

Application Area



This part of ISO 9241 provides recommendations for systems that use direct manipulation (such as Windows and Macintosh). With direct manipulation, the user acts directly on the objects on the screen (for example by dragging a document icon and dropping it on an application to open it). The standard points out that this is not the same as a graphical user interface, which may or may not implement direct manipulation. The standard begins by describing the appropriate application areas for these interfaces (for example, the system can simulate real-world task objects, their properties and operations). The recommendations cover: general information (metaphors; the appearance of objects used in direct manipulation; feedback; and input devices); manipulation of objects (general considerations; pointing and selecting; dragging; sizing of objects; and rotating); direct manipulation of text objects (pointing and selecting; and sizing of text); direct manipulation of windows (general considerations; pointing and selecting; and sizing of windows); and direct manipulation of control icons (pointing and selecting). The standard contains one annex and a bibliography. The annex is a sample procedure for assessing applicability and adherence and includes a three-page checklist (using a conditional compliance route, see the description of ISO 9241-12).


User interface designers and evaluators.

See Also

ISO 9241-110:2006 Ergonomics of human-system interaction -- Part 110: Dialogue principles.

ISO 9241-14:1997 Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs) -- Part 14: Menu dialogues.

ISO 9241-17:1998 Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs) -- Part 17: Form filling dialogues.

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