The importance of user interfaces

To know me, is to know how much I recommend The Design of Everyday Things and/or The Psychology of Everyday Things. Those books cover some interesting ground on why it’s important to have an intuitive interface – to anything, not just software.

That being said, if you’ve called my cell phone in the past month or so and it rang once or twice, then went to voicemail – let me explain what happened. When my new HTC Touch Pro 2 is ringing, this is what the screen looks like:


it says “Slide to Answer/Ignore”. Ok, but wait – that thing in the middle is the slider – do I slide it in the direction of what I want, or do I move the slider so that one side is “maximized”. In other words, I think if I slide it to the right, that “covers up” the “Ignore” and sets the whole panel to the green/answer. Right? Guess first before looking below!

It’s confusing.

Worse, is when you are trying to answer the phone – you don’t really have time to decipher this riddle. So far, about 80% of the time, I would slide it in the wrong direction. Here’s what REALLY happens when you slide the slider:

After after2

Brilliant! So, when I move the slider to the left, the green bar moves to the right, to push away the “Ignore”. So, it moves something in the opposite direction. If I slide to the right, then that expands the right side??

This is seriously one of the stupidest designs I’ve seen in a long while! In fact, it’s so idiotic, I’m taking the time to take pictures of it and write about it!

The lesson to be learned here is one we hear over and over. Cleverness can be good for methodical functions, but for superficial or fast-paced UI’s, you REALLY need to make things intuitive. In the end, users won’t remember how clever something is – they will only remember how aggravating it was to work with! So don’t try to be different, make your user interfaces intuitive and easy to use – please!!

Posted in Best-practices, Uncategorized

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