Thursday, May 18, 2006

Interface Math

Metrics to justify interface design...

"Interface design isn't about choosing a particularly pleasing color of blue. Nor is it something that can be slapped-on at the end of the product design cycle. For the user, the interface is the product. The technology behind a product is useless if no one can actually use it.

Google has really taken this to heart. Why do people use Google Maps? Because it's just so nice to use. Microsoft's Terraserver gave users access to high resolution satellite images many years before Google Maps did the same. (In fact, while attempting to be clever, I inadvertently terrified my to-be roommate: I used the service to view an aerial photograph of his home and asked him some leading questions about the stuff in his backyard. It took until the second quarter of college before he even talked to me, and then only warily.) But, it wasn't until Google rethought online maps that the security and privacy issues of such a service came into the national conscience. Why? Because whereas Mircorsoft had given access to satellite imagery, Google made them accessible.

"Okay," you say, "Sounds good. But, how do I convince my clients that there's more to interface design than just aesthetics and fluffy feelings?" The answer: By using math.

Many people are unaware of the theoretical work that has been done in the field---work that transitions the field from mystic guruism to hard engineering. I'm only going to discuss three tools here, but there's plenty more out there to explore."   continued ...   (Via Humanized)


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