Focusing on the user

I recently found a blog that focuses on the user experience: Creating Passionate Users. It has a pretty good dialog with very funny imagery that really drives their point home. For example in a recent post on amount of control available to the user, there’s a good diagram demonstrating the different level complexity of programs, iMovie and Final Cut, to the happiness of user experience. What I really loved about the diagram, is that the step between the levels of complexity leads to what they called the “Canyon of Pain.” It’s something I’m sure most everyone has experienced as they move from the simple abstractions of entry level programs to the high level of detail and control in professional programs.

That’s not to say that having such a step is necessarily bad, some levels of complexity naturally leads to a highly UI that allows for high level of control. The problem lies in the payoff vs the pain of using and learning the UI. Another example that is cited in that post are electronic thermostats.

I do agree with their positioning in the pain side of things. The place we’re currently living has an electronic thermostat, and it’s a pain to work. It stops the air conditioner at a certain time, letting the house get warmer and warmer. It probably has a feature to turn the air on and off at certain times of the day, but we can’t seem to figure it out. About the only thing I can do is force the air to kick in by bringing the temperature down, but then I have to get up later and bring it back up because it gets too cold.

This blog is a really great read. While it’s not entirely about web, it is about the one thing that matters in the end: your users. Making sure you keep them in mind through out your cycle of development is very important, as it could make what you’re working on very successful.

February 18, 2007 01:17 PM Development


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