Friday, March 14, 2008

Getting Users to Fall in Love with Your Software

Getting Users to Fall in Love with Your Software

  • When developing an application you loose one point for every dialog you add.
    • Users don't read them unless they are expecting them
    • It just anoys them that they have to clear them.
  • Most people look at software development as making trade offs in four areas:
    • Experience vs. Tool
      • A coffee pot is a tool, it gets the job done
      • Starbucks is an experience, the point is more then just the outcome
    • Powerful vs. Simple
      • The more features you add, the more powerful it is
      • Presents the user with fewer choices so it “just works” – more Wizards
    • Automatic vs. Manual
      • Provides automatic solutions without requiring the user to tell it to
      • The user has the option to tweak the settings and make changes through-out the process.
    • Familiar vs. Special
      • Common look and feel using the usual keystrokes, etc.
      • Stands out from other applications and has specialized behavior.

  • Real good software is “both” not a trade off.
    • Tool and Experience
      • Provide the solution quickly and easily, but keep the “ambience”
    • Powerful and Simple
      • Many features, but keep them contextual and focus on the most common features.
      • Don’t punish the “power users” by making the special features hard to find, but at the same time don’t punish the starter users by obsuring the common features with ones they don’t need.
    • Automatic and Manual
      • Offer the most common or most frequent solution by default, and then allow the user to tweak it and make changes. Don’t hide the ability to tweak, but don’t require advanced knowledge to get things done.
    • Familiar and Special
      • Build on the common and familiar. Improve and innovate.


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