User Interface Design in Web and Windows

This is the white paper on user interface design that was given at a number of conferences including DevTeach 2003 and others.


From the overview:

”  Interfaces are a lot like people – no two are ever really alike. That can present a problem for developers and end-users. On one hand, you want to provide a clear , consistent and easy to use experience for the user. On the other, you want to showcase your graphical design skills. This session goes through some of the issues confronting interface designers today and how we can best deal with them. ”


This session discusses the benefits of the Inductive User Interface, a concept that Microsoft initially showed in MS Money 2001 but has found its way into certain aspects of Windows XP, Office and other tools.


Is the Inductive Approach really the best way? Well, it certainly works for new users, who can’t discern between icons. As I look at my tool bar in IE right now, I can easily see that the magnifying glass means “Search” and that the left arrow means “Back”. One icon that is pretty self-evident is the “Home” icon. Ever think about that one? I really back before 1989, a certain six-colored company introduced a product called Hypercard that featured, you guessed it, an icon for “Home”. They really haven’t changed from that time. But others certainly need some clarification and that’s what the Inductive interface is about – it is TASK-oriented for those things that need to be explained. It’s all over the web and slowly making its way into desktop apps.


I work with an application for tracking issues that uses F5 to Discard and F6 to Save. Do you know how many times I’ve lost work because I mistakenly hit F5 instead?


Anyways…enjoy and please post comments if you like this format. Maybe you would prefer it if the articles or white papers were put up as posts. If so, please let me know that as well.