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Thread: To: Kathleen -- Unattractive UIs

  1. #1
    jim evans Guest

    To: Kathleen -- Unattractive UIs


    Hi Kathleen


    I just read your article on making good User Interfaces and thought I'd try
    to get you to give me some advice on mine.

    My application has many users, so I assume the functionality of the interface
    is good, but reviewers always comment on the interface saying things like,
    "dated," "plain," "old," "uninspiring," even "ugly duckling." Here's a
    quote, "We were disappointed in the appearance of the program * very bland
    . . ."

    I don't know what these comments mean. I have asked these reviewers what
    they mean, and what they'd do to jazz up the interface. The never answer
    my question. They reply saying things like, "Those decisions are up to you,
    the developer." But, how can I correct something I can't see?

    If you republish your article you may want to consider breaking it into two
    sections -- function and cosmetics. I'm asking about cosmetics. Maybe you
    can use my interface as a, "Here's what not to do," for the group.

    The program can be downloaded at http://members.xoom.com/InfoMagic/

    If you are willing to comment, but unwilling to download the program I will
    post screen captures.

    jim evans

    If you can't get to the website [Xoom is unreliable] try downloading it directly
    with: http://members.xoom.com/InfoMagic/IMagic32.exe


  2. #2
    Kathleen Dollard-Joeris Guest

    Re: Kathleen -- Unattractive UIs

    Jim,

    We have a section here dedicated to UI. I haven't been following it, so I
    appreciate your posting this here. Your timing is a bit off, I am going to
    be off line for a while starting today, so a conversation with me will have
    to wait a couple of weeks. Since I am planning a temporary lobotomy (not
    really) I plan to recall little when I get back, so I would appreciate your
    reminding me to look at your program when I show back up.

    Without looking at it, here are some comments.

    > My application has many users, so I assume the functionality of the

    interface
    > is good


    Don't assume any causality. People do not become users of your programs
    because of good UIs _until_ something better/cheaper/faster comes along. In
    which case you are toast. Don Bradner could comment on your
    downloads/registrations if he wanders by.

    > but reviewers always comment on the interface saying things like,
    > "dated," "plain," "old," "uninspiring," even "ugly duckling." Here's a
    > quote, "We were disappointed in the appearance of the program * very bland
    > . ."


    You have a commercial package that is being reviewed by magazines/websites?
    If that is your scenario, your job is to sell software. That doesn't happen
    to be my job. My job is to improve efficiency/bottom line for my clients. It
    is a bit of a different focus. "Flash" runs a pretty low priority for me
    (except for occasions where I dummy up demos).

    I have not yet run your program, this is from the screen shot at the review
    site that had one.

    I would think about a treeview approach to this and maybe trying a coolbar
    instead of the toolbar, maybe adding icons to your menus (it is alot of
    work without a third party control, but there are a couple of downloadable
    samples out there). The most functional element would be the treeview. This
    type of scattered information would tend to be organized via a tree view.
    Names->Family->Brian's Girlfriends->Recent or Home->Appliances et
    al->Washer->Repair History->Recent. Because so many things are historical, I
    think I would have a "Recent" checkbox so that as you go through the
    hieararchy you could land on the most recent item quite easily.

    Just a few comments on the screen shot. I could be totally wrong in these
    comments since I have not looked at the program.

    Nor have I compared the reviews to others on these sites. But if the worst
    thing someone can say about your software (and what reviewer does not insist
    on saying something bad?) is that it looks a bit dated, you my be doing just
    fine.

    --
    Kathleen
    (MS-MVP)
    Reply in the newsgroup so everyone can benefit
    --



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