Archive for April, 2013

Glad to see a technorati that articulates my complaint about UI

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Found this through Hacker News:

I don’t know who Timo Arnall is, but he/she gets it that I am so annoyed by user interfaces that leave me guessing what the f*** is going on with whatever device/app I’m using. My experience with my Android smartphone is well articulated by Arnall – having been a past programmer, I mumble curses under my breath so many times when applications (and they’re not limited to just small-screen smartphone apps) are touted as having “intuitive” UI’s, when what they really have is inscrutable UI’s. I swear, today’s UI designers are only talking to themselves and not to the hoards of users who are left looking at peculiar icons (tiny ones at that) wondering which one is safe to tap. Or, even worse, the inadvertent gesture that causes the UI to go into some strange unwanted mode (yeah… I know, ‘mode’, sorry, but it is a ‘mode’) that I have no idea how to get out of or how to avoid getting into again.

I totally see the point about ‘folk theories’ of technology. As designers create these evermore magical UI’s they induce evermore magical thinking into people’s minds about what their device is doing. Clark’s famous quip, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” seems to have become the inverse goal: if your application seems to work ‘by magic’ then it must be ‘advanced technology’. Feh.