Wednesday, July 02, 2008


UI = (you) Vs (i)

Its pretty obvious ain't it? All the times it ends up being what design 'you' the developer thinks of(if at all one bothers to think, as there are many UI examples out there pointing to the contrary) Vs what 'i' the user needs. And when both coincide, you get some amazing products. Example that immediately comes to mind when you say good UI?
Apple of course. iPod, you notice the 'i' there? its no coincidence, its there to show that emphasis is on 'i' the user. (Ok, i just made up that last part, but i think the Apple guys did name it, with that in mind ;) ).

Other good UI examples would be Google(gmail, gtalk, reader), Gnome's SLAB Menu, Flock al.
And bad UI examples...well here's a nice comic which gives you an idea. :)

Beauty in simplicity. We know that. But still many of us choose to ignore the KISS principle! Why? Maybe that, all those years of education, robbed us of the ability to think simple. Or as they say, maybe its the case of being afflicted with 'improve beyond use' syndrome.

On a side note: was searching for a Blogger link in Gmail in the quick links section at top left corner in Gmail and found a 'Blogs' in the more section but surprise!surprise! it leads to Blog Search and not blogger! When Photos,Reader,Orkut links take me to my Picasa,Google Reader and Orkut page respectively, isn't it reasonable to expect Blogs to take me to my blogger page?
Wonder when Google will correct this.


Sarfraaz Ahmed said...

I was part of a training for UI Improvements. Trust me, after meeting people and getting their inputs, you just dont know what they want :) It is very tough to come up with this balance of "U" and "I". And thats the precise reason why we have so few products that are very user friendly.

Moreover, all the examples that you have given, are good only when seen on hind-sight. That last image in your comic joke is horrible. But it is still very tough to come up with something that can make it better. Only after you release it to customers you start realising how good the UI matches with what the users expect.

I feel that, most of these great UIs are accidental or atleast, out of the box thinking, but not built on purpose. They were just lucky that most of the people didnt find any problems with those UIs.

Ram said...

U vs I.. lol.. It doesnt apply to software alone - if u know what i mean :)

Anonymous said...

I really loved the comic. And about the google bit, I think that is not a correction that is required rather a addition :). They should add a link to blogger too.

pavi said...

BTW google took over a company called blogger , though similar is the case with youtube and picasa . Google I guess wanted to feature blog search more than blogger.. as search is its main business

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