User Interface: The Points

I have just finished reading the book User Interface Design for Programmers by Joel Spolsky (ex-developer of Ms Excel team).

From that book I can conclude some important things as below.

  • It's better to follow the behavior of an application that is popular and has been use by most of the people
    For example: amazon, google, firefox, etc.
  • Learnable is more crucial than usable
    If you found something that is not comfortable in a UI design, but it can be easily learnt by the user, than it doesn't have to be fixed. Otherwise, it has to be.
  • Message can't be long.
    The longer your message, the more ineffective it will be because people won't read it. People hate reading long message, people don't read, people only glanced at error messages.
    Example: "Thanks for using Juno. Are you sure want to exit?" -> sure ppl won't read it.
  • Don't force user making choices, they would be scared.
    I have a personal example for this point at: Everytime opening the home page, always have to choose country and language to continue to the next page. Unless choosing something, we can't continue, or don't know how to. So, always provide default choice for every options. Novice user can only press "next" "next" without have to be feared.
  • User will never read the fucking manual page because:
    1. They don't know where it is.
    2. They wouldn't read it even they have it.
    Jadi, UI yang baik itu seharusnya dapat digunakan tanpa membaca buku manual.
  • Conduct a DIY survey for usability testing.
    1. Create a picture of application's prototype
    2. Gather around 5-6 people
    3. Ask them how to use the application
  • Don't be creative
    The more creative an application is, the more difficult to use it.
    Button has to look like a button.
    Link has to look like a URL, use different color, underlined is preferable.
    Don't underline a text which is not a URL.

Generally users are afraid to press buttons. It may eat them if they press the wrong button.
Programmers, on the whole, are born without a lot of sympathy for how much trouble ordinary people have while using computers.

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