In a recent usability test, I once again witnessed something I’ve seen a hundred times before: a frustrated user claiming he knows exactly what is wrong with the interface he was fighting with. What was his suggestion? “These guys need to make this thing a lot more intuitive. The problem is that this program isn’t intuitive enough. It needs to be more intuitive!”
I think he used the I-Word no less than 25 times during the session. His frustration was real and his desire was great. So, why wasn’t the interface ‘intuitive’? Well, it’s probably because it’s really, really hard to do.
People Intuit, not Interfaces
To those who police the English language, interfaces can’t be intuitive, since they are the behavior side of programs and programs can’t intuit anything. When someone is asking for an intuitive interface, what they are really asking for is an interface that they, themselves, can intuit easily. They are really saying, “I want something I find intuitive.”
But, I believe that English is an adaptable medium, so it’s ok with me if we call a design intuitive. Yet, what does it mean, from a design standpoint, when someone desires a design to be intuitive?
To answer that question, we first have to look at how people understand the design in the first place. To do that, we need to look at the design’s knowledge space.
Gepubliceerd door Jared Spool op User Interface Engineering.
Gevonden via de Elearningpost nieuwsbrief.
WEBSITE ONTWERP •
Inne ten Have
User interface patterns - components for user interfaces
Reusable components, known as user interface patterns, considerably simplify the development of consistent and ergonomic user interfaces.
The first part of the following article describes the pattern approach used at SAP.
The remainder of the article shows how the patterns are derived from generic user tasks and then mapped on the user interface.
Gevonden via de elearningpost
2005-01-16, door Inne ten Have
Prototypes can help to evaluate design alternatives at any stage of the development process.
Here three approaches are introduced:
storyboards, paper prototyping, and HTML prototyping.
A listing of pros and cons is given for the prototyping approaches in order to facilitate the decision of which is best for your requirements.
Gevonden via de nieuwsbrief van Dey Alexander
2005-01-16, door Inne ten Have
There is one web design tool that is universally accessible and simple to use.
It has been applied successfully in other design fields for may years.
The tool is paper.
2005-01-16, door Inne ten Have
,b>How to deal with the fact that people tend to ignore navigation tools
Most web development projects put a lot of effort into the design of navigation tools. But fact is that people tend to ignore these tools. They are fixated on getting what they came for and simply click on links or hit the back button to get there.
2005-01-16, door Inne ten Have
Why Features Don't Matter Any More
As Apple's iPod shows, success in technology has less and less to do with features, and more to do with ease of use. Welcome to the Age of User Experience.
As Apple's iPod shows, success in technology today has less and less to do with features, and more and more to do with ease of use. The iPod was never sold on the grounds of its technical merits: Apple hit a gold mine by marketing a cool new way of integrating music into your life.
10 fundamental rules for technology based on user experience:
- More features isn't better, it's worse. Feature overload is becoming a real issue.
- You can't make things easier by adding to them. Simplicity means getting something done in a minimum number of simple steps.
- Confusion is the ultimate deal-breaker. Confuse a customer, and you lose him or her.
- Style matters. Despite what nerds may think, style isn't fluff.
- Only features that provide a good user experience will be used.
- Any feature that requires learning will only be adopted by a small fraction of users.
- Unused features are not only useless, they can slow you down and diminish ease of use.
- Users do not want to think about technology: What really counts is what it does for them.
- Forget about the killer feature. Welcome to the age of the killer user experience.
- Less is difficult; that's why less is more.
Geschreven door Andreas Pfeiffer op eWeek
2006-02-17, door Inne ten Have
Software Development's Evolution towards Product Design
Occasionally, some poor fellow at a dinner party makes the unfortunate mistake of asking what I do for a living. My initial (and quite subdued) response is that I help design software for artists.
Then comes the inevitable question, "Oh, so you are a programmer?" A gleam appears in my eye and I no longer feel obligated to blather on about the rainy weather. With a great flourish, I whip out my gold nibbed pen and draw a little diagram on a napkin that explains concisely how modern software development works. In the grand finale, I circle one of the little scribbles buried deep in the entire convoluted process and proudly proclaim 'And that is what I do!". This admittedly selfish exercise usually keeps everyone involved merrily entertained until dessert arrives.
After dozens of napkin defiling lectures, I've put together an extended PDF of my sketch for download. In short, we have a one page infographic that explains:
The diagram also contains a surprising amount of poo. But then, that is the bigger lesson lurking within the scrawls. Much of what software developers create fails to serve the full spectrum of their customer's needs. The funny part is that the usually non-technical folks that I'm talking to laugh heartily at this point…they know exactly what I'm talking about.
- The evolution of software development over four distinct eras.
- The key goals of software development and our saddest failures
- Where software development is moving in the future.
You can download the full PDF here. Print it, share it with your friends. Read on to hear how we got to this point.
Gepubliceerd op Lost Garden verder
2006-02-18, door Inne ten Have
MarketingSherpa Interview with Web Design God Steve Krug
(Audio MP3 + Transcript)
Steve Krug is a genuinely humble guy - so he will be fairly embarrassed when he sees we called him a 'design god' in the headline above. But, we had no choice.
Steve's the expert we admire more than any other Web designer on the planet today.
In honor of the newly released 2nd edition of his 100,000 copy bestseller, 'Don't Make Me Think,' Steve graciously allowed Marketing Sherpa's Publisher Anne Holland and Internet Director Scott McDaniel to grill him for an hour on what works (and what doesn't.)
Here's an audio MP3 for you to listen to plus a typed transcript if you prefer reading.
Gevonden via www.naarvoren.nl
(in de zijlijn)
2006-03-15, door Inne ten Have
Innovation Through Design Thinking
Not so long ago, Tim Brown recounts, designers belonged to a “priesthood.” Given an assignment, a designer would disappear into a back room, “bring the result out under a black sheet and present it to the client.” Brown and his colleagues at IDEO, the company that brought us the first Apple Macintosh mouse, couldn’t have traveled farther from this notion.
At IDEO, a “design thinker” must not only be intensely collaborative, but “empathic, as well as have a craft to making things real in the world.” Since design flavors virtually all of our experiences, from products to services to spaces, a design thinker must explore a “landscape of innovation” that has to do with people, their needs, technology and business. Brown dips into three central “buckets” in the process of creating a new design: inspiration, ideation and implementation.
Design thinkers must set out like anthropologists or psychologists, investigating how people experience the world emotionally and cognitively. While designing a new hospital, IDEO staff stretched out on a gurney to see what the emergency room experience felt like. “You see 20 minutes of ceiling tiles,” says Brown, and realize the “most important thing is telling people what’s going on.” In a completely different venue, IDEO visited a NASCAR pit crew to come up with a more effective design for operating theaters.
After inspiration comes “building to think:” often a hundred prototypes created quickly, both to test the design and to create stakeholders in the process. Says Brown, “So many good ideas fail to make it out to market because they couldn’t navigate through the system.” IDEO counts on storytelling to develop and express its ideas, and to buy key players into the concept. Finally, IDEO relies on constantly refreshing its sources of inspiration by bringing in bold thinkers to campus, and increasingly, focusing on socially oriented design problems.
Een registratie van een lezing van Timothy Brown (CEO IDEO) op MIT World
2006-06-03, door Inne ten Have
Een mooi boekje over eenvoud in ontwerp.
John Maeda van het MIT komt met 10 regels
om tot vereenvoudiging van zaken te komen.
2006-11-10, door Inne ten Have
Progressive disclosure defers advanced or rarely used features to a secondary screen, making applications easier to learn and less error-prone.
Interaction designers face a dilemma
Progressive disclosure is one of the best ways to satisfy both of these conflicting requirements. It's a simple, yet powerful idea
- Users want power, features, and enough options to handle all of their special needs. Everybody is a special case somehow. For example: Who wants line numbers in a word processor? Millions of users, that's who, including most big law firms.
- Users want simplicity. They don't have time learn a profusion of features in enough depth to select the few that are optimal for their needs.
- Initially show users only a few of the most important options.
- Offer a larger set of specialized options upon request. Disclose these secondary features only if a user asks for them, meaning that most users can proceed with their tasks without worrying about this added complexity.
De laatste Alertbox
van Jacob Nielsen
2006-12-04, door Inne ten Have
Simplicity Is Highly Overrated
“Why can’t products be simpler?” cries the reviewer in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the local newspaper. “We want simplicity” cry the people befuddled by all the features of their latest whatever. Do they really mean it? No.
But when it came time for the journalists to review the simple products they had gathered together, they complained that they lacked what they considered to be “critical” features. So, what do people mean when they ask for simplicity? One-button operation, of course, but with all of their favorite features.
I recently toured a department store in South Korea. Visiting department stores and the local markets is one of my favorite pastimes whenever I visit a country new to me, the better to get to know the local culture. Foods differ, clothes differ, and in the past, appliances differed: appliances, kitchen utensils, gardening tools, and shop tools.
I found the traditional “white goods” most interesting: Refrigerators and washing machines. The store obviously had the Korean companies LG and Samsung, but also GE, Braun, and Philips. The Korean products seemed more complex than the non-Korean ones, even though the specifications and prices were essentially identical. “Why?” I asked my two guides, both of whom were usability professionals. “Because Koreans like things to look complex,” they responded. It is a symbol: it shows their status.
But while at the store, I marveled at the advance complexities of all appliances, especially ones that once upon a time were quite simple: for example, toasters, refrigerators, and coffee makers, all of which had multiple control dials, multiple LCD displays, and a complexity that defied description.
Once upon a time, a toaster had one knob to control how much the bread was to be toasted and that was all. A simple lever lowered the bread and started the operation. Toasters cost around $20. But in the Korean store, I found a German toaster for 250,000 Korean Won (about $250). It had complex controls, a motor to lower the untoasted bread and to lift it when finished, and an LCD panel with many cryptic icons, graphs, and numbers. Simplicity?
After touring the store my two friendly guides and I stopped outside to where two new automobiles were on display: two brand new Korean SUVs. Complexity again. I’m old enough to remember when a steering wheel was just a steering wheel, the rear view mirror just a mirror. These steering wheels were also complex control structures with multiple buttons and controls including two sets of loudness controls, one for music and one for the telephone (and I’m not even mentioning the multiple stalks on the steering column). The rear view mirror had two controls, one to illuminate the compass the other simply labeled “mirror,” which lit a small red light when depressed. A rear view mirror with an on-off switch? The salesperson didn't know what it did either.
Why such expensive toasters? Why all the buttons and controls on steering wheels and rear-view mirrors? Because they appear to add features that people want to have. They make a difference at the time of sale, which is when it matters most.
Why is this? Why do we deliberately build things that confuse the people who use them?
Answer: Because the people want the features.
Geschreven door Don Norman
2006-12-13, door Inne ten Have
Simplicity: The Ultimate Sophistication
Is simplicity a bad design goal?
Most designers place simplicity above all else. We value simple things because they do all the things we need easily and none of the things we don't. Simplicity is harmonious. Even Leonardo Da Vinci said "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." This is one of my favorite quotes, and it plays on the idea that being simple isn't banal, it's elegant.
Don Norman recently ignited a discussion about simplicity in his piece Simplicity is Highly Overrated. He observes that although designers treat simplicity as the ultimate goal, many consumers, when faced with a purchase decision, choose complexity instead. He uses examples from shopping in South Korea: people there choose complex, feature-laden electronics and SUVs over simpler ones. Norman says that people choose complexity because they assume a complex product is more capable.
What does this mean for designers?
What does this mean for your design team? Certainly, following Norman's conclusion that people choose complex over simple would suggest that teams strive for complex designs with many features. It may not be right aesthetically, but it is better for the bottom line. Norman states it plainly: "the truth is, simplicity does not sell."
But Schwartz' description of trade-offs suggests a different approach. Instead of focusing on adding features, design teams should focus on helping users find out what they really need before they purchase. When design teams understand that buyers want to avoid trade-offs, they can use this insight to their advantage.
By understanding what users really need, design teams will prevent users from falling into the trap of assuming that complexity equals capability. The trick is to communicate to your customers before they purchase. Designers (and this includes copy writers!) must communicate that a product contains all of the features users need (or will need), while also communicating that each of those necessary features is simple to use. This will prevent users from worrying about trade-offs and provide people with the confidence that they're choosing the right product.
Simplicity reaches beyond the interface
Simplicity isn't a bad design goal; complexity isn't a good one. As Schwartz' insight into user behavior suggests, simplicity goes beyond the interface of the product to the decision process surrounding it. We want simple decisions as much as simple products.
In other words, the experience of buying a product is more than just how the product looks. The larger process of buying, trying out, reading the box, and talking to the salesperson also comes into play. Unfortunately, in our world of cheap, hastily designed, me-too products most of these other issues aren't considered. Design teams that take advantage of these influence points will move purchasers away from a superficial choice based on the way the product looks and help them answer the question, "Is this product right for me?"
When the elegant balance of being and communicating simplicity is achieved, Leonardo once again proves his genius. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
Geschreven door Joshua Porter op User Interface Engineering
2007-04-13, door Inne ten Have
Why Simplicity is Essential to Web Design
A simple website charges you less time. A complex website charges you more time. Time is your most precious resource.
GEEF ZELF COMMENTAAR OP DIT ARTIKEL
Simplicity is highly overrated, according to Donald Norman, a design thinker I very much admire. “I’m a champion of elegance, simplicity, and ease of use,” Norman writes. “But, as a business person, I also know that companies have to make money, which means they have to deliver the products that their customers want, not the products they believe they should want. And the truth is, simplicity does not sell.”
So why do we buy complexity even when the simple option would be better?
“When users choose a feature-laden product, they may not be exhibiting a desire for complexity,” Joshua Porter writes in his very interesting article, Simplicity: The Ultimate Sophistication. “Instead, users are anxious about predicting their future needs.”
- Firstly, because we do judge a book by its cover; we do think beauty is skin deep. If something looks complicated, then we immediately assume that it must be powerful; must have greater value.
- Secondly, we love to show off. Complexity is like the peacock’s feathers. It is brash and impossible to miss. Complexity lets other people know how clever we are and how rich, because we can afford such complexity.
- Thirdly, buying complexity is like buying insurance. We might not need all these fancy features right now, but there might be some time in the future when we will. Buying complexity insures us against future need.
None of the above conditions operate on a website for the following reasons.
If people loved complexity on the Web, then everyone would be using Advanced Search. We’d all be going to the 10th page of search results instead of clicking on one of the first three results on the first page.
- First, we don’t pay for visiting a website with our money; we pay for it with our time. The longer we spend on a website the more we pay, so there is a strong motivation to spend as little time as possible.
- Second, websites are about the present, not the future. Investing in a product is about predicting all the future uses we may have for it. Visiting a website is about now. We have a particular need and we visit the website to meet that particular need.
Website behavior is not about insuring against future conditions but rather about reaping the benefits of past actions. In other words, we like websites that resemble websites we’re used to visiting, because they are more familiar and easier to navigate.
- Third, we can’t wear a website, drive around in it or show it off at a party. Browsing a website is essentially private behavior. When we go to Google we are usually alone. We search for cheap flights, but we certainly don’t go around advertising that we’re cheap.
We may still end up buying complex products on the Web, but our web behavior will remain relentlessly simple and hugely impatient. We use the Web during the ad breaks for Desperate Housewives. We simply don’t have time to waste on complex navigation, convoluted language, or the vanity publishing of navel-gazing organizations.
Geschreven door Gerry McGovern
op CMS Wire
2007-04-17, door Inne ten Have