March 14, 2005
It was back in December when I first downloaded this blogger to my site. Since then I’ve been playing with creative ideas, style sheets and getting hung up on process rather than content. Enough. I’ll leave it vanilla- the branding can come later (as can the navigation back into the main site. ho hum. So in March I commence scribbling. I’ll start with a question posed at a meeting last week.
I met a potential client yesterday in a sales meeting. The client was looking to update the GUI on the employee facing application they’d developed. My turn came to speak and a stream of consciousness gushed out.
I should have caveated my thoughts. I didn’t. I told him how it is.
His application GUI was crap. Bottom line, it was difficult to use. It was supposed to support users through business processes, yet it was constructed around the application architecture and the database structure. Little thought had been paid to the daily needs and goals of the end users.
As I wrapped up my damning thoughts on the interface the potential client spoke.
“Anything good about it?” he asked, through gritted teeth, steam coming out of his ears.
Ummm. I’d not really looked for the good when I’d played with it that morning.
“The colour and general aesthetic is quite nice” I ventured.
And then he asked the question. “Why is it that you usability guys see things that no-one else does? I’ve only heard the things you have said about my application from one other person. Another UI specialist”.
That’s a good question. The answer I suppose lies in the fact that usability people have sat with countless users and observed how shocking interfaces can be, and how much difficulty users can have when things are not structured around thier needs and motivations. Maybe it is beauce UI people aspire to a utopian vision of software. Software that is invisible; that empowers and enables. Where others will put up with an awkward navigation, complex steps through a process we will say no! It doesn’t have to be this way….