It seems obvious, but it’s often overlooked. A good user interface design can spell the difference between acceptance of a software product and its failure in the market. If the end user finds the software too complex or difficult to understand, then an excellent product is doomed to fail. The aim of the developer should be to make the software as professional-looking and easy to use as possible.
The importance of good user interface design
Unfortunately, I have found that many large companies — especially small or very specialized software companies — pay little attention to the mechanics of a good user interface style.
Fortunately, that’s not how we operate at our company. Our development team invested a lot of effort into making the user interface intuitive and super easy, because we know that this is something our customers will appreciate. I often praise my teammates for realizing that excellence is worth pursuing.
Going back to the topic … I can’t remember how many times I have come across software that was designed to work, but with little regard for ease of use. If the software forces operators to constantly consult manuals or cheats, then that’s a pretty good indication that the user interface needs improvement. Likewise, software must enable users to perform tasks quickly and efficiently, without sacrificing power and flexibility. This seems intuitive, but so often this consideration is lacking.
The sad part is that this deficiency can often be remedied using a few simple guidelines. For example, this helps if users can enter data using the buttons and list boxes, rather than typing by hand. This helps if the software provides a pop-up dialog box, to guide the user along the way. Even a thoughtful selection of icons and other graphics can transform a steep learning curve into short, gentle slopes.
User Interface Design Basics
In this regard, even trivial matters such as spelling and grammar deserve attention. Bad expression of instructions can be very frustrating for an operator – and even if they don’t, they reflect badly on the app’s developer.
There’s a lot more to say about the mechanics of a good user interface design, but that’s a topic entire books can (and have) written. These are essential elements of software excellence, and they are worth pursuing.