Thursday, January 26, 2006

Obsession to Detail

On the importance of getting the details right...

"The success of a user interface depends on getting the details right. That's not to say that a little bit of fit-and-finish work can save a horrible design, but a good idea won't thrive either unless enough of the little details are right.
I know that I am sometimes frustrating to work for because I can be a bit of a perfectionist around the UI. Especially during the last part of the product cycle, I'm constantly prodding and poking (and asking those around me to prod and poke) to make sure that every decision we make is as good as it can be. (I mean, you only get one chance to do something like this, right?)

Our development team has gone out of their way to provide us the opportunities to get the details right. Unfortunately, sometimes getting the small stuff right costs way more time and energy than doing something "most of the way." Yet, the whole team has remained committed to going beyond the "good enough" mentality so that the user experience is seamless in ways you wouldn't even notice unless we got them wrong.

One of my favorite examples of this was a design change we made a number of months ago called "Eat Dismiss Clicks."

Here's the setup. Let's say that you drop down a menu in Windows. Now, instead of clicking a menu item, you click somewhere else on the screen. This has always dismissed the menu and sent a mouse click to wherever you clicked. Nothing surprising so far; this is just how the Windows focus model works."   continued ...   (Via Jensen Harris)


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