User Experience (Usability)
|Apr 20, 2004 1:20 pm
||re: Familiarity (f)or usability
| Kyle Pero
|| Hi Ashutosh,
I think you're wise to stick to a learned interface rather than an "innovative" one. I've found that the most usable interfaces are the least original when it comes to design. If your interface offers no familiarity then it guarantees a learning curve for each user.
Jakob's Law of the Web User Experience: Users spend most of their time on other sites. Thus, anything that is a convention and used on the majority of other sites will be burned into the users' brains and you can only deviate from it on pain of major usability problems.
Do Interface Standards Stifle Design Creativity?
I believe that what Jakob is saying here definitely translates to the offline world. I don't mind originality, but typically in an effort to create those groundbreaking designs usability gets left behind.
Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox, August 22, 1999
I think designers have a very tough job nowadays. They feel pressure to create cutting-edge designs, but not so cutting-edge that users can't interact with them successfully. I see it all the time... Designers don't feel like they're doing their job if they don't put tons of bells and whistles in their designs. It makes them afraid to keep their designs simple. I feel for them because it’s their natural instinct to be as creative as they can be. Finding a designer that can put just the right amount of style in a design without going overboard is tough.
> Ashutosh Bijoor wrote:
> Hi everyone
>I would like your opinions on the relationship of familiarity to usability of user interfaces.
>We are in the process of revamping the interface of our enterprise relationship management suite. We had several different "innovative" design options. However, based on initial responses from users, we find that familiarity seems to play an inordinately high role in determining usability for most users.
>Based on this observation, and given that all our target users are expected to use the software over extended periods all day, we have decided to adopt an interface that mimics the standard Windows look as closely as possible so as to provide a seamless transition between our application and the usual Office applications that users spent most of their time on.
>We have ofcourse, attempted to stick to W3C standards and used CSS and DHTML as much as possible while trying to keep compatibility with a fixed number of browser versions (IE6+ and Moz1.5+), thus keeping the interface efficient in performance over slower networks.
>Initial user reports are encouraging. But before we jump in the deep end, I am hoping to get some feedback / advice from experts on this network about potential pitfalls if any, or validation of our strategy.
>Thank you in advance
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