The Importance of the User Interface:
The Rights of the User
* The right of people to be superior to technology. If there's a conflict between technology and people, then technology must change.
* The right of empowerment. Users should understand what's happening and be capable of controlling the outcome.
* The right to simplicity. Users should get their way with computers without excessive hassle.
* The right of people to have their time respected. Awkward user interfaces waste valuable time.
"Usability as Ideology - The belief in a certain specialized type of human rights."
Return on Investment
"On average, websites that try usability double their sales or other desired business metrics. The reason? The Web is the ultimate competitive environment, and users won't invest their time and mental resources in struggling with websites that violate their right to simplicity. There's always another site they can visit instead"
Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox 6/27/2005
I sure as hell don't want to waste my time and temper on programs with crummy interfaces. And I don't want to inflict them on others
What is it:
Names - GUI Design, Interface Design, Interaction Design
Studies - Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Usability, Ergonomics, Human Factors, Usability Professionals, or Visual Designers
Goal-Directed Approach. It's based on understanding the User by understanding their Goals. And understanding their Goals by understanding the User.
Industrial Design is about making buttons which look pushable, but not about making buttons which allow people to understand the consequences of pushing them. The consequences are an Interaction Design Issue.
The design choices one makes for a Web-based application are quite different from those of a content-based Web site.
The web has grown up in a market driven society, unlike previous legacy systems which were built by information systems groups in large companys. As such user-friendly interfaces must be a requirement, not an afterthought.