How to craft clear interfaces

August 11, 2009

For the user, the interface IS the product!

    ‘Usable’ is

  • not a compliment
  • not sexy
  • not very meaningful.
    Applications should

  • be clear
  • be easy
  • be fast
  • be fun
  • have a feelgood factor.
    Interaction designers should take care of three domains:

  • Screen
  • Flow
  • Language

Screens:
Clarity rules! Focus on most important things; use three levels of emphasis: strong, normal, weak; have an opinion on what matters (emphasize by position, colour, size etc.) and what is less important (de-emphasize, fade back, put aside etc.).

Flow:
Think about what 80% of people will be doing and facilitate this process; skip unnecessary clicks and steps; what’s next?

Language:
Interface design is copy-writing; data input and output is like a converstation, use appropriate style; long labels are ok if they are meaningful; Be explicit with actions (don’t use just ‘submit’)

Ryan Singer of 37signals at FOWD New York 2008 [Video]

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