Sunday, April 08, 2007

How to Design a Great UX

Microsofts new User Experience Guide ...

"While simply expressed, each of these ideas is profound. We could make each a chapter, but we'll give a short explanation instead. Fill in any missing details with examples from your own experience.

1. Nail the basics
The core scenarios—the primary reasons people use your Microsoft® Windows Vista™ program—are far more important than the fringe scenarios—things people might do but probably won't. Nail the basics! (And if you do, users will overlook fringe problems.)

2. Be great at something
Think about how real users (not the marketing or PR) will describe your program. Identify your target users and make sure they can say "I love this program! It does A, B, and C super well!" If users can't say that about your program, what's the point? Today, "good enough" is no longer good enough—make your users love it.

3.Don't be all things to all people
Your program is going to be more successful by delighting its target users than attempting to satisfy everyone.

4. Make the hard decisions
Do you really need that feature, command, or option? If so, do it well. If not, cut it! Don't avoid difficult decisions by making everything optional or configurable.

5. Make the experience like a friendly conversation
Think of your UI as a conversation between you and your target users. Suppose you're looking over their shoulders while using your program and they ask, "What do I do here?" Think about the explanation you would give...the steps, their order, the language you'd use, and the way you explain things. Also think about the things you don't say. That's what your UI should be—like a conversation between friends—rather than some arcane thing that users have to decipher.

6. Do the right thing by default
Sure, you can pile on options to allow users to change things, but why? Choose safe, secure, convenient default values. Also, make the default experience the right experience for your target users. Don't assume that they will configure their way out of a bad initial experience. They won't.

7. Make it just work
People want to use your program, not configure it or learn a bunch of things. Choose an initial configuration, make it obvious how to do the most common and important tasks, and get your program working right away."    (Continued via Microsoft)    [Usability Resources]

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