Monday, February 26, 2007

What's in an Interface?

As end-users of technology products, we don't often have the luxury of communicating with the designer to find out what their intentions were when they developed the interface to the software or web application we are using.

The illustration in this post demonstrates the need for good user interface design primarily on the basis that end-users and designers are unable to speak with one another. Designers and developers manifest their model or concept of the technology they are creating through the user interface. This is, after all, how the end-user will interact with the product. A clear, concise user interface that easily communicates how it works what its purpose is to the end-user is far better than one that leaves people guessing.

End-users have the advantage of interacting with the product and receiving feedback. However, if the product is not able to provide feedback in some fashion to indicate whether or not the end-user is using it correctly or if it is not clearly communicating through its visual features how to easily use it quickly and efficiently, they are likely to grow frustrated and reject the product.

Even though we're taught not to judge a book by its cover, when it comes to product design, especially with technology, it means a lot when the designer and developer needs to communicate their intent to the end-user. If you want a good book on this subject check out Don Norman's The Design of Everyday Things.

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