Intuitive Interfaces

February 07, 2017

An Anger Inducing Mess

Web apps are great. But the speed of single-page apps, the availability on any device using any platform, and the “no wait” magic of real-time data is of little use if the interface is clunky, confusing and ugly. Who wants to struggle with an anger-inducing mess all day?

But How Do I . . .

For example, an app was built to automate the standard processes for your industry. You have been working in that industry for years. You’ve been using computers forever. Using the app should be fairly straightforward, but it isn’t. You shake your head in frustration. What industry was this built for? Has the developer even seen a user interface before, much less used one?

The Mom Test

My mother is an intelligent women. She has a graduate degree in education with a 4.0 GPA. She is computer literate. She bought the first computer we ever owned and for a while, was the only person who knew how to use it. She has the latest iPhone, an iPad and a MacBook Pro. She is computer support for my dad (that’s a lot of support). But she is not going to be writing javascript or C++ anytime soon. She really is the average computer user.

User interfaces should pass the mom test. When designing an interface for a new web app, the bottom line is this: Would I have to explain it to my mother or would she just get it? If it would have to be explained to her, it’s not good enough.

Any app is going to require a bit of help and training to use proficiently, but the interface should be clean, crisp and clear. It should help you get going quickly, not be a impediment.

Article Tags

Design Usability