A short primer about high-level design and usability principles.
- People love simple, dependable, adaptable products.
- Increasing complexity is unsustainable.
- Get out of your office; the best place to watch users is in their natural environment.
- Three types of users: experts, willing adopters, mainstreamers. Ignore experts, design for the mainstream.
- Mainstreamers want: getting the job done, ease of control (as opposed to the precision of control), reliable results, no fear of breaking something, good match, examples and stories.
- Emotional needs are important.
- Simplicity is about control.
- Focus on the main action and describe it as the user sees it (user stories).
There are four strategies for simplifying:
- “Kill lame features. Broken gets fixed, but shoddy lasts forever.” ~ Jack Moffett
- Remove words, simplify sentences.
- Lessen (information) load, isolate from distractions, remove sources of errors; every error breaks the concentration and makes the experience feel more complex.
- Clear boundaries between groups.
- Size and location.
- Color coding.
- Infrequent but necessary.
- Progressive disclosure: show simple, and complex if requested.
- NYT online edition shows a question mark icon when you select a word with a dictionary reference. Hide something completely, and reveal only when needed.
- Locus of attention - the area of the screen that the user is concentrated on.
- Mobile vs desktop, user vs computer
- Conservation of complexity: sometimes the complexity cannot be reduced, only moved to another place.
If you like these notes, read the book, it’s worth it.