The Idea Dude


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Seeing is believing

One of the projects we're doing for a client is close to being finished. At least it is the end of the beginning, but hopefully as a new venture, far from being the beginning of the end. In a couple of weeks, I'll be able to talk more about it. The last couple of days, the user interface is starting to fall into place. Everyone on the team is getting pretty excited now that they can see what the end result will look like. They say that the majority of people are visually biased, i.e. they are emotionally affected by what they see more than what they hear and touch. Eye candy is everything. Around here, we refer to it as making the application 'pop', i.e. it comes right out of the screen and grabs you emotionally.

Today an interesting conversation I overhead was when a team member commented how good it was starting to look. The reply to that was the UI was a very small part and most of the heavy lifting in the last few months was underneath the covers. The reply to that was while that may be true, unfortunately, it is the visual element that gets people excited and that is what matters the most from an adoption point of view. The analogy he made was how patients often equated the success of an operation by how well the scar had healed, and not so much about how well the inner organs had survived the operation because that's not something the patient can see.

I agree with that entirely, the need for great functionality and usefulness of the application is a given but often software developers forget that the ultimate success and mass appeal is basic on a very simple premise. How it looks. Like buying a car, I suspect most of us do our homework to ensure it has all the right bells and whistles but in the end even though we are unlikely to admit it, we buy the car that in our mind looks the best. In the real estate market, you would call it curb appeal. Apple has succeeded in that regarded. They are masters in making sure you connect emotionally with their products. Apple product owners would never say they 'like' their notebook or the iPod. They are more likely to use the word, 'love'. Yes, we do judge books by their covers and clothes do maketh the man. What do you think?


Blogger Karen Putz said...

As someone who depends fully on the eyes-- I like websites with a lot of visual appeal, yet are easy to navigate.

9:20 AM  
Blogger The Idea Dude said...

Hello Karen,

That's a great point. The hardest part of UI design is to have enough intuitive visual cues without too much clutter.

Visual appeal is like the door to the conversation. If you can't get past the door, you can't start the conversation.

More often than not, on our projects, we end up removing fluff and than adding stuff.

Thanks for sharing.


10:24 AM  

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