Sunday, May 21, 2006

Good usability is like "water flowing downhill"

Designing it like water flowing downhill ...

"I prefer reactions in which the fabric of the organization is changed so that it's easier for people to do the "right" thing. Like water flowing downhill." Silkandspinach's Kevin Rutherford said that in a comment to David HH's post don't scar on the first cut, and I loved it on the spot.

I've talked about this many times before; my horse trainer's mantra is, "Make the right things easy and the wrong things hard"--but the opposite is everywhere. It's ridiculously easy for me to screw up the settings on my digital devices. The API methods that intuivitely feel right turn out to be dead wrong. I click the button I think will do X, and instead I get... WTF?

And sometimes, many times, those screw-ups are hard to undo. Sometimes, they're unrecoverable (or might as well be, since the documentation never seems to cover the most likely bad thing you'll do).

But while my earlier comments on this were mostly about usability, I hadn't thought of it as a management principle. (Works great with kids, too) Think about how many procedures we see in companies that feel like hacks... workarounds for a system that makes it too easy to make mistakes. And you see it from the highest levels of business right down to the duct tape someone put over the switch that you must NEVER EVER TURN OFF."   continued ...   (Via Creating Passionate Users)

Making it easy - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

Making it easy

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of usability... I'm immediate instinct upon visiting this blog is to click the "continued..." text so I can see the continuation. It takes me a moment, especially when there is a graphic separating "continued" and "Full Article", to realize what I need to do to get the rest.

So, in the interest of allowing reading of this blog to flow as water does downhill... Might I suggest making "continued..." a link (along with the Full Article link).

11:08 PM  
Blogger Usernomics said...

Thanks for the comment.

You are quite right from a usability viewpoint. The only reason for the "Full Article" being the link is the blogging software limitations.

We will look into this a little further.

9:00 AM  

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