User interface design

I will be re-designing a site in the next week or so, the SuperbHosting.net and HopOne.net sites are being updated, and shortly thereafter, we’ll be looking at doing a major update to the control panel used for dedicated and shared hosting customers, as well. I was doing a bit of poking around, and I came across an article from April 2006 about designing user interfaces - Designing for People Who Have Better Things To Do With Their Lives, by Joel Spolsky. It starts off:

When you design user interfaces, it’s a good idea to keep two principles in mind:

1. Users don’t have the manual, and if they did, they wouldn’t read it.
2. In fact, users can’t read anything, and if they could, they wouldn’t want to.

These are not, strictly speaking, facts, but you should act as if they are facts, for it will make your program easier and friendlier.

The article raises some interesting points about taking a minimlist approach to design, and how that improves usability. It’s actually a great look at some of the common mistakes people make when designing and documenting their products and applications, and the author is quite blunt in his delivery. A good read for those who might want some tips, and a little humerous for those already in the know.

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