Linked by Julian Fietkau on Fri 11th Mar 2011 09:55 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces Over the past few decades, the software that enables us to be productive with our computers has become increasingly sophisticated and complex. Today's UI designers are faced with the challenge of devising graphical user interfaces that are easy to grasp and use, yet still provide access to a wide range of features. Here are some ideas about the nature of GUI complexity, followed by a couple of thoughts on simplicity that might just surprise you.
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Quantity vs. quality
by Torbjorn Vik Lunde on Fri 11th Mar 2011 12:14 UTC
Torbjorn Vik Lunde
Member since:

Complexity often come in the form of more features. Now, the problem itself isn't having too many features, but focusing on “feature count” instead of the quality of each feature.

You can't both have very high quality, and very high quantity. You have to choose. (At least not in a short period of time)

Great article by the way. I'd love more articles about design and UI! They are by far my favorite here on OSnews.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Quantity vs. quality
by JulianFietkau on Fri 11th Mar 2011 15:14 in reply to "Quantity vs. quality"
JulianFietkau Member since:

I see where you're coming from and I think you're fundamentally quite right, but I don't really agree with the implication that there's a dichotomy between more features and better features.

Sure, in high-level manager-speak, developing more features and improving the usability both consume time and money, but that line of thought IMO neglects that both of them also have long-term consequences.

That said, if the two extremes are "many mediocre features" and "few high-quality features", how do you find a sweet spot in between? How do you prioritize? That's assuming you're active in this line of work. Sorry if you're not, then I've misread your comment. But I'm always curious how other people deal with these questions. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 1

Torbjorn Vik Lunde Member since:

I am a web designer. So I'm not really a proper UI designer, although one has to think about UI when designing simple content oriented sites.

It is obviously about balance, and there certainly are applications that are complex, yet have high quality in many of it’s features.

While I am not so extreme that I think that complexity is never appropriate I still tend to push for simplicity. There are some reasons for this:

• It is very easy to add features later on, but very hard to remove them once you’ve added them.

• Often one thinks that the needs are more complex than they are in reality. If you try it out you quickly find out whether you need the complexity.

• Often the complexity you need might be in another form than the one you thought. Again, when you actually try it out you know this better.

• There are often many people involved in a project, and often many people striving (indirectly and unknowingly, through wanting features) for complexity. Something becoming too simple is rarely a

• More features usually makes it much more difficult to create an easy to use UI.

The most important thing to think about is not just avoid complexity, but that features and complexity come at a price. Is a feature worth the complexity it brings?

Reply Parent Score: 1