Secret ingredients to quality software


Do you realize that a good interface should not require instructions?

Created on 27 Nov 2012 | Last updated by Barry Sanders on 15 Nov 2017 05:21 AM (over 3 years ago)

The corner stone of good user interface design is that if your users need instructions, you haven't done a good job. Of course with particularly complex applications there will be exceptions to this rule, but all developers should aim to make your interface as self-evident as possible.

  • There are no surprises
  • There is no need to use help
  • No excuse for RTFM (read the freaking manual)

Figure: A good interface does not need instructions!

A good UI is:

  • Intuitive
  • Feels fast e.g. no white screen, threading code
  • Consistent
  • Minimal popups
  • No clutter - not busy
  • Good error handling
  • Easy to customize + apps (aka a platform)
  • Gamification e.g. badges

    ** **

Suggested reading:

Figure: Good example - Teamviewer's interface requires very little explanation

Figure: Good Example - See the fly? (an example of excellent usability) Dutch manufacturers realized that a fly painted on the urinal became a "target" for men using the facility. And the fly is positioned in precisely the right place for minimal spillage or splash back. Clever people those Dutch!

We open source. This page is on GitHub