Happy Memeday! Here’s two I made for Mozilla (click for larger versions).
Archive for December, 2008
A good UI can balance a lot of contradictions. For instance, it should be discoverable – the user must be able to find that it’s there and what it does. But also, it should be invisible – a good UI steps aside and gives the user what he needs without making a big deal of itself.
Often, games get this balance very right. Partially that’s because the task is defined by the game itself, and partially because tutorials are something games do well and software does poorly.
Today’s thing-that-gets-it-right is a Auditorium, a silly Flash game with an elegant, discoverable UI that gives you exactly what you need and no more.
In my opinion, good user experience should feel like playing a game. Your graphics editor, programming toolkit, and web browser should be able to mirror that intense concentration you feel stalking a kill in Halo. If that sounds far-fetched, think about how you work in a state of flow. Like in a game, you lose track of time and are focused on your task – not your tools. In flow, either you’ve mastered your tools, or your tools are well-designed, or both. I think of flow as the goal in many user experience problems. For every UI design decision you make, you can ask if it helps induce flow for your user: Does it make your user’s tasks easier? Are the user’s available choices clear? Does it present the right balance of freedom and direction?