Why do crappy interfaces sell?

22 Jan 2008 - 1:23pm
6 years ago
70 replies
1580 reads
Bruno Figueiredo
2007

I just spoke with a client for who I did an interface review for a CD
product that is almost on the market. They told me that they loved my work
but they have been showing the product with the old interface to clients and
they already have a couple of orders for it so they're scrapping the review
work for now.

My question is: why do people keep buying products with crappy interfaces? I
guess that since most products ship with poor interfaces, people have very
low expectations. But these kind of products have been around for what? 15
years? They should know better by now. Why do people keep giving incentives
to companies who deliver poor products?

I think that people are generally unaware that these products can indeed be
much better. So that points us towards education. Shouldn't we be educating
the general public? Maybe by rewarding good interfaces or by giving them
information about what a good product should be?

Comments

22 Jan 2008 - 1:30pm
Susie Robson
2004

I believe that Jared Spool wrote an article on this YEARS ago (and
can/should/will probably correct me where I'm wrong).

I think they buy these products with crappy interfaces because it has
the functionality that they need. When they first purchase a product,
that is their main concern. It's not until they have used it for a while
that they move on to the next step beyond functionality.

Actually--Jared, my brain hurts, do you still have this article?
Assuming you also feel that it relates to this question.

Susie Robson
The MathWorks
Sr. Usability Specialist
1.508.647.7685

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Bruno Figueiredo
Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 2:24 PM
To: discuss at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Why do crappy interfaces sell?

I just spoke with a client for who I did an interface review for a CD
product that is almost on the market. They told me that they loved my
work
but they have been showing the product with the old interface to clients
and
they already have a couple of orders for it so they're scrapping the
review
work for now.

My question is: why do people keep buying products with crappy
interfaces? I
guess that since most products ship with poor interfaces, people have
very
low expectations. But these kind of products have been around for what?
15
years? They should know better by now. Why do people keep giving
incentives
to companies who deliver poor products?

I think that people are generally unaware that these products can indeed
be
much better. So that points us towards education. Shouldn't we be
educating
the general public? Maybe by rewarding good interfaces or by giving them
information about what a good product should be?

________________________________________________________________
*Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

22 Jan 2008 - 1:39pm
Todd Warfel
2003

On Jan 22, 2008, at 2:23 PM, Bruno Figueiredo wrote:

> I think that people are generally unaware that these products can
> indeed be much better. So that points us towards education.
> Shouldn't we be educating the general public? Maybe by rewarding
> good interfaces or by giving them information about what a good
> product should be?

A number of reasons, in no specific order:
1. Traction—they're used to a product or crappy interface/experience
and don't see a need to change.
2. Fear of change.
3. Lack of knowledge—don't know any better.
4. Really good sales person. Just look at Lotus applications—ugh!
5. Sold on functionality—ever seen applications used in trading? UI?
What UI? Information hierarchy? What's that?
6. Buyer isn't the user. How many people here in large-mid sized
companies? Go ahead, raise your hands. Okay, how many of you get to
pick the platform and applications you use? Oh, right.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

22 Jan 2008 - 1:43pm
Nasir Barday
2006

>> But these kind of products have been around for what? 15 years?

Bruno, I think that's the very root of the problem: inertia. When there are
only one (or few) players in the field, the market for a product tends to
mature slowly. The financial and medical industries are classic examples.
Especially in these industries, upper management sees a different approach
as something that needs additional training and integration work. Never mind
that the "new thing" would make people more efficient and offset the costs.
On the customer and the vendor side, they see it all as extra cost that
doesn't make sense, especially when there are shareholders to report to.

Not sure what the market is for the CD product, but I'm guessing once
another company wants a piece of the pie, it'll come up with a slick new way
to do things and give your client a run for its money. That's when there's
incentive for someone like your client to use that extra cost to "buy a
competitive advantage." And when the competitors of customers in the market
become more efficient by using the new, more efficient product, they have an
incentive to demand more efficient products, too.

- N

22 Jan 2008 - 1:49pm
Bruno Figueiredo
2007

Maybe the problem is that this product is targeted to a very small
niche. I don't even know if they have competition at all.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24918

22 Jan 2008 - 1:57pm
Ari
2006

i don't have the research to cite but i also suspect that virtually any
interface can be learned given enough time.
i used to do data entry for custom mainframe software as a summer job and
later i beta tested Merrill Lynch's DOS-based brokerage information system
in the early 90s. both interfaces sucked but people dumber than the corn in
shit were able to master them given enough time...

On 1/22/08, Nasir Barday <nasir at userlicious.com> wrote:
>
> >> But these kind of products have been around for what? 15 years?
>
> Bruno, I think that's the very root of the problem: inertia. When there
> are
> only one (or few) players in the field, the market for a product tends to
> mature slowly. The financial and medical industries are classic examples.
> Especially in these industries, upper management sees a different approach
> as something that needs additional training and integration work. Never
> mind
> that the "new thing" would make people more efficient and offset the
> costs.
> On the customer and the vendor side, they see it all as extra cost that
> doesn't make sense, especially when there are shareholders to report to.
>
> Not sure what the market is for the CD product, but I'm guessing once
> another company wants a piece of the pie, it'll come up with a slick new
> way
> to do things and give your client a run for its money. That's when there's
> incentive for someone like your client to use that extra cost to "buy a
> competitive advantage." And when the competitors of customers in the
> market
> become more efficient by using the new, more efficient product, they have
> an
> incentive to demand more efficient products, too.
>
> - N
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
--------------------------------------------------
www.flyingyogi.com
--------------------------------------------------

22 Jan 2008 - 2:01pm
Todd Warfel
2003

On Jan 22, 2008, at 2:43 PM, Nasir Barday wrote:

> financial and medical industries are classic examples

These are two industries that need to most help and can show the
biggest ROI, IMHO.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

22 Jan 2008 - 2:07pm
Bruno Figueiredo
2007

Anyway, I think that the main problem is the general lack of knowledge
on how good an interface can be. I'm not talking about ROI, athough
that's a very strong (and also difficult to proove) argument. I'm
talking about the lack of frustration when using it.

The product that I'm talking about is aimed at students. I believe
that most of all, these interfaces need to be very good. After all,
students should be focusing on learning the content, not on how to
master the interface.

This leads me again to the question: "How can we, as Interaction
Designers can educate the general public about good interfaces?"

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24918

22 Jan 2008 - 2:15pm
Nasir Barday
2006

I like this question a lot, Bruno. It's really a lot like asking the
question: "How do we teach people how to dress?" I actually describe the
evangelism/education part of my job this way.

The short answer, really, is to build an impressive example product so
people can see the light. No amount of telling people about Fitt's Law, etc.
is as effective as showing people what really can be better. It all comes
down to market maturity: once there is a better product out there (provided
it makes it to market-- I totally empathize with your story), people begin
to accept it and competitors start running around with their hair on fire.

- Nasir

22 Jan 2008 - 2:21pm
Jeff Seager
2007

Easy answer in two words: Brilliant Marketing!

This applies especially to products that do something never done
before. Most people don't know such a thing as interface design
exists. Brilliant Marketing convinces them that if they don't
understand how to use the product, or if its functions are not
intuitive, they are out of step with the seething mass of humanity
and it's a malfunction within themselves.

I'm releasing my Brilliant Marketing theory under the Creative
Commons license, by the way, if anyone wants to borrow it. Just give
me credit anytime you use the term in public or private conversation.

In your example, Bruno -- and here I'm assuming that your design
actually is better -- people have adapted to bad design and it has
become their new norm. My guess is that the flaw in the company's
testing lies in their reliance on existing users (clients) rather
than novices who could offer a potential for expanding their market
share. Given a choice, most novices would choose the more functional
design. Clients choose the more familiar one.

And yeah, there's that whole "inertia" thing, too. So essentially
I'm in full agreement with Todd and Nasir, but in a much more
cynical way. Do you think a long vacation would help?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24918

22 Jan 2008 - 2:21pm
bminihan
2007

This may just be 5 hours of sleep talking, but what the hey....Jared, I'd be
interested to see your article on the subject...

Bruno: I think you have a point that people are generally unaware that
interfaces could be better. But probably more important, it takes a certain
kind of person to demand, and expect anything in return. There are very few
opportunities in life to demand what you want - we don't get to demand cars
that run more efficiently, we don't get to demand our relationships are more
fulfilling, and despite what Burger King says, we don't really get a Whooper
"my way". By and large I think most people "make do" with what they have,
and only really demand things when they're physically painful, EXTREMELY
annoying or offend our values.

So yeah, I think people could be better informed that you don't have to
suffer with the same bad interfaces, and their lives could be so much easier
with the right touch of design & common sense. Once informed, though, they
still have to demand something. In a work environment, it might just be all
you can handle demanding a paycheck every week, much less a web page that
doesn't give you carpal-tunnel syndrome.

As an anecdote, in her 20 years managing a radio station, my mom took a
certain amount of pride and job security knowing that she was the only one
who understood how to use their billing and program management applications.
When I pointed out there were better tools on the market, she quipped:
"What, and lose my job?". She wasn't lazy, but just felt she had mastered
those tools and didn't have a whole lot else to show for her tenure.

Bryan
http://www.bryanminihan.com

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Bruno
Figueiredo
Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 2:24 PM
To: discuss at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Why do crappy interfaces sell?

I think that people are generally unaware that these products can indeed be
much better. So that points us towards education. Shouldn't we be educating
the general public? Maybe by rewarding good interfaces or by giving them
information about what a good product should be?

22 Jan 2008 - 2:25pm
Nasir Barday
2006

>
> Interestingly enough (or not), when I was recently digging through HFI's
> CUA list, I noticed a large amount of folks getting certified were in the
> Financial (and Insurance, I believe)--at least in the midwest.
>
> I wonder what we can derive from that?
>
> --Russ

The Finance industry is starting to "catch on" in that they know what this
"usability thing" is. So some firms are throwing money at CUA
certifications. Not that CUA certifications are a bad thing to spend money
on, but the HFI curriculum focuses on testing bad stuff rather than making
it right in the first place. So recommendations end up being "lipstick on a
pig." Would be nice to see how many IxDs are working in Finance vs.
Usability Analysts.

Honestly, with so many people averse to change in this industry, and with so
few competitors, the incentive to become more efficient is not that high
yet.

- N

22 Jan 2008 - 2:39pm
Bruno Figueiredo
2007

I guess that there's also a lot of hidden frustration out there.
Fisrt, people don't want to be deemed as stupid. So, if they're
shown a crappy interface by a vendor, even if they find it cumbersome
and hard to use, they won't say it. And second, there's the sense
that whoever designs these products are geniuses and if they don't
get it, it's their fault.

This reminds me of a conversation I once overheard between motorists.
They were discussing the new key cards on the new Mercedes models and
one said that at first it took him ages to figure out how to open the
door. In the end, he concluded: "the car's technology is really
high-tech". So he thought that since he couldn't master it, it was
because he was not on the same level as technology".

About hidden frustration, as the head of the Portuguese UPA I oversaw
the lauch of a new website on the last WUD called "hard to use". We
gathered feedback from the general public about everyday products
that they found hard to use. The website closed a month later and we
sent that feedback over to the companies responsible for delivering
those products.

What we found is that there was a lot of hidden frustration out
there. But people seem to see tech products as something very distant
from them, so they generally don't question them. I believe this is
due to a lack of understandment. Shouldn't we as Design collective
be educating people about this? It would certainly make our jobs
easier.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24918

22 Jan 2008 - 2:40pm
Christine Boese
2006

I've given this idea (that any interface can be learned given enough time)
some thought for the past few years, and I have (for now) two direct
observations about this idea.

#1 What about Blinking 12? Enough time could not save Blinking 12, because
there was enough motivation. Actually, these days, I don't even bother
putting numbers into the memory of my landline phone anymore, because it is
just easier to look up the number on my cell, and then call with the
landline (when I'm wanting to make a landline call)

#2 In a past life I was a photographer who worked avidly in a good old
stinky chemical darkroom (sexy places, those stinky chemical darkrooms...
don't ask me why, and don't telll OSHA). I've been out of it for a long
time, but I did love the magic of that work, which caught hold of me from
about age 12 on when I saw my first image appear in a tray of developer. You
could say I was highly motivated to learn the "interfaces" of almost all
darkroom processes, from enlarger operation to the finer points of
transferring images through the trays, contrast control, flashing an image
while in the developer to solarize it, combining negatives in a single
print, trick photography. I actually preferred darkroom work to shooting a
lot of the time (never grew to like lugging equipment).

Now these days we all know our Photoshop arcana, same difference, and that
is fine, but consider the different assumptions made about the usability of
"darkrooms."

I also taught photography and darkroom work for many years, so I hit this
head on too. In short, most darkroom processes would not meet even the more
power user standards for mass market usability. They were far too imprecise,
artful, intuitive, and interdependently extended, for most beginners and
many advanced users to even be able to produce an identical print twice
(although work in PR, and you will soon learn to do it).

What does this mean, as Martin Luther might say?

Darkroom processes weren't developed (heh) for the mass market? Neither are
many software programs, but that doesn't mean their processes aren't often
honed to standard (dumbed down?) usability design patterns.

I also had many colleagues in the humanities (journalism) who have raging
cases of technophobia. Yet many of these same people would have no
hesitation walking into a darkroom and dusting off their rusty skills to
make a print. I've told them, when they throw up the wall at me and say BS
like "blog software is TOO HARD for me to use" or "how can I be expected to
do this (search a database) when I'm no good with computers!" that the
things I'm asking them to do are actually EASIER technically than working in
a good old fashioned sexy stinky darkroom, with far fewer processes to
remember, formulas and calculations to apply, or even dexterity required!

As you may guess, my arguments get nowhere.

I think my bigger question here (if I have one) has to do with our
assumptions about lowest common denominators, and how many technological
solutions in our world we might be blowing off, just because interfaces are
"too hard to use."

Applying that logic, we might never have developed photography at all, let
alone mass market photography, from Brownies to stereoscopic cameras to
glass negs and view cameras, flash powder and flash cubes, Instamatics and
ordinary people actually able to thread 120 film in old twin lens reflex
cameras without accidentally exposing the whole roll?

Usability is a great thing, but I don't know if I'm blaspheming the in
temple if I say, I kinda miss interfaces that challenged me to master their
mysteries and discover their Easter Eggs.

Chris

On Jan 22, 2008 2:57 PM, Ari Feldman <ari1970 at gmail.com> wrote:

> i don't have the research to cite but i also suspect that virtually any
> interface can be learned given enough time.
> i used to do data entry for custom mainframe software as a summer job and
> later i beta tested Merrill Lynch's DOS-based brokerage information system
> in the early 90s. both interfaces sucked but people dumber than the corn
> in
> shit were able to master them given enough time...
>
>
>
> On 1/22/08, Nasir Barday <nasir at userlicious.com> wrote:
> >
> > >> But these kind of products have been around for what? 15 years?
> >
> > Bruno, I think that's the very root of the problem: inertia. When there
> > are
> > only one (or few) players in the field, the market for a product tends
> to
> > mature slowly. The financial and medical industries are classic
> examples.
> > Especially in these industries, upper management sees a different
> approach
> > as something that needs additional training and integration work. Never
> > mind
> > that the "new thing" would make people more efficient and offset the
> > costs.
> > On the customer and the vendor side, they see it all as extra cost that
> > doesn't make sense, especially when there are shareholders to report to.
> >
> > Not sure what the market is for the CD product, but I'm guessing once
> > another company wants a piece of the pie, it'll come up with a slick new
> > way
> > to do things and give your client a run for its money. That's when
> there's
> > incentive for someone like your client to use that extra cost to "buy a
> > competitive advantage." And when the competitors of customers in the
> > market
> > become more efficient by using the new, more efficient product, they
> have
> > an
> > incentive to demand more efficient products, too.
> >
> > - N
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> > February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> > Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
> >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> > List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> > List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
> >
>
>
>
> --
> --------------------------------------------------
> www.flyingyogi.com
> --------------------------------------------------
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

22 Jan 2008 - 2:57pm
Nasir Barday
2006

This thread is a total deja vu of The Inmates are Running the Asylum and
Design of Everyday Things. After reading them long ago, I felt I understood
the insanity.

Not necessarily at peace with it (or I wouldn't be an IxD), but certainly
understood the psychology of the insanity and how to fix it (at least within
my company). I'd suggest a quick read of both-- consider the total purchase
price insurance against an ulcer :-).

- Nasir

On Tue, 22 Jan 2008 12:39:57, Bruno Figueiredo <bruno.figueiredo at gmail.com>
wrote:

> I guess that there's also a lot of hidden frustration out there.
> Fisrt, people don't want to be deemed as stupid. So, if they're
> shown a crappy interface by a vendor, even if they find it cumbersome
> and hard to use, they won't say it. And second, there's the sense
> that whoever designs these products are geniuses and if they don't
> get it, it's their fault.
>
> This reminds me of a conversation I once overheard between motorists.
> They were discussing the new key cards on the new Mercedes models and
> one said that at first it took him ages to figure out how to open the
> door. In the end, he concluded: "the car's technology is really
> high-tech". So he thought that since he couldn't master it, it was
> because he was not on the same level as technology".
>
> About hidden frustration, as the head of the Portuguese UPA I oversaw
> the lauch of a new website on the last WUD called "hard to use". We
> gathered feedback from the general public about everyday products
> that they found hard to use. The website closed a month later and we
> sent that feedback over to the companies responsible for delivering
> those products.
>
> What we found is that there was a lot of hidden frustration out
> there. But people seem to see tech products as something very distant
> from them, so they generally don't question them. I believe this is
> due to a lack of understandment. Shouldn't we as Design collective
> be educating people about this? It would certainly make our jobs
> easier.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24918
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

22 Jan 2008 - 3:02pm
Bruno Figueiredo
2007

Actually, those two books were the ones who opened my eyes and made me
shift towards usability and interaction design. I think they're
really great books but most people won't read them, so how can we
send them their message?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24918

22 Jan 2008 - 3:06pm
Susie Robson
2004

Here is the link to Jared's article that I was thinking of. Note that I
haven't really re-read it so I hope it says what I think I remember it
saying....

http://www.uie.com/articles/market_maturity/

Susie Robson
The MathWorks
Sr. Usability Specialist
1.508.647.7685

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Bruno Figueiredo
Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 6:50 AM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Why do crappy interfaces sell?

Maybe the problem is that this product is targeted to a very small
niche. I don't even know if they have competition at all.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24918

________________________________________________________________
*Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

22 Jan 2008 - 3:12pm
Nasir Barday
2006

What has really worked for me, honestly, is showing off the good that IxD
can do, over and over, until people started seeing the light. Eventually
people within the company start getting convinced that it's worth it to take
the time to do things right. Then a well-designed product eventually makes
it to market, and clients say things like "OMG, this is f*ckin' awesome!" (a
direct quote, no joke). A feather in the cap later, the rest of the company
starts getting the message and gets on the ball.

We're talking about changing perceptions here, which, in my case, took a few
years of hard-hitting talks internally and perservering through rejection
after rejection. It's most effective to start with small projects, and work
your way to bigger ones, so the pain of having an idea ignored is less.

- N

22 Jan 2008 - 3:02pm
Bruno Figueiredo
2007

Actually, those two books were the ones who opened my eyes and made me
shift towards usability and interaction design. I think they're
really great books but most people won't read them, so how can we
send them their message?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24918

22 Jan 2008 - 3:16pm
Nasir Barday
2006

Oh! I forgot that you don't work internally. Don't have much experience
there, except to get a prototype in front of your client's customers,
gather feedback, and use that to your advantage. Hopefully that'll garner
some more work, too (I do and sell my work as if I was an outside consultant
and this has proven effective).

- N

22 Jan 2008 - 3:21pm
Jeff Seager
2007

Bryan said: "By and large I think most people 'make do' with what
they have, and only really demand things when they're physically
painful, EXTREMELY annoying or offend our values."

Great point. In a former life I was a police and court reporter for
newspapers, and I learned some interesting things there. Do you know
what the prevailing standard is for justifying installation of a
traffic light at an intersection? ... (wait for it) ... The number of
*fatal* accidents at that intersection. Not good design, not good
planning, but political pragmatism fueled by a public outcry.

Tangential, but it's an important point about human psychology.
Change in itself is so painful for people that it usually occurs only
after our circumstances have passed significantly beyond our pain
threshold. Then there's "The Stockholm Syndrome" ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_syndrome

... in which the captive becomes dependent upon and even enamored of
the captor (in this case, a dysfunctional interface). It's all very
sick -- and, sadly, predictable.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24918

22 Jan 2008 - 3:26pm
Bruno Figueiredo
2007

The odd thing here is that I did user research and we tested with
users, who considered the redesign a huge improvement. But in the
end, if it's selling without having to effectively redesign it, why
bother? It's just basic economy.

And Nasir, I understand your points, but I'm not talking about
selling the idea of good interfaces to clients. I'm pretty good at
that by now. I'm talking about how to make the general public DEMAND
better interfaces?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24918

22 Jan 2008 - 3:32pm
Bruno Figueiredo
2007

Thanks for the article, Susie. Very insightful. Amazing that it was
written almost 11 years ago. I love Jared's work and the way he
always seems to think so clearly and ahead of time.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24918

22 Jan 2008 - 3:53pm
Susie Robson
2004

Bruno wrote: Thanks for the article, Susie. Very insightful. Amazing
that it was written almost 11 years ago. I love Jared's work and the way
he
always seems to think so clearly and ahead of time.

I completely agree. And I'm very surprised that I still remember that
article after all these years. But, it was because we felt the same pain
back then, too.

Susie Robson

22 Jan 2008 - 4:13pm
SemanticWill
2007

Has it already been mentioned in this thread - but my gut tells me that a
big reason crappy interfaces sell is that the person buying is not the
person using. I won't name names - but a huge complaint about many ERP
systems is that the CIO/CFO is sold the goods - and she never ever uses it -
so the ERP companies don't have to invest time designing elegant interfaces.

An economic theory perspective would be information cost is too high
(purchasers simply don't know a better interface is out there.) - or that
the opportunity cost of finding/trying all alternatives is too high.

On Jan 22, 2008 4:53 PM, Susie Robson <Susie.Robson at mathworks.com> wrote:

> Bruno wrote: Thanks for the article, Susie. Very insightful. Amazing
> that it was written almost 11 years ago. I love Jared's work and the way
> he
> always seems to think so clearly and ahead of time.
>
> I completely agree. And I'm very surprised that I still remember that
> article after all these years. But, it was because we felt the same pain
> back then, too.
>
> Susie Robson
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
~ will

"Where you innovate, how you innovate,
and what you innovate are design problems"
-------------------------------------------------------
will evans
user experience architect
wkevans4 at gmail.com
-------------------------------------------------------

22 Jan 2008 - 4:26pm
Jeff Seager
2007

Bruno said: "I'm talking about how to make the general public DEMAND
better interfaces?"

With all due respect, that's not your problem at all. People will
not demand what they don't know about. Your Brilliant Marketing must
succeed within the company before it can succeed elsewhere.

More psychology (alas): Your frustration comes not from the failure
of consumers to demand better design, but from not getting your
groundbreaking interface to market. To do that, as Nasir wisely
suggests, you must overcome the inertia of inaction born of
complacency. That happens first inside the company, later in the
world at a large.

Considere isto: If this company is humming along happily selling
produit du crap, do you think they want to rock the boat to the
extent that they must go scout for a new factory so they can triple
production? No. Because they are humans, and when humans are fat and
happy they are also lazy. Brilliant young hotshots in any field (like
you, Bruno) confuse such people with your enthusiasm for change. That
isn't your fault, it's just a fact of life.

Put your rejected plans in a drawer and wait for the next sales
slump, when everyone is scrambling to figure out what's wrong.
You'll get their attention then, and you may just become some kind
of hero. Timing is everything!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24918

22 Jan 2008 - 6:00pm
Anonymous

Bruno and I have worked on the same products a couple of times in the past year, and I hope he knows I share his frustrations on this (hi Bruno!). But maybe I'm not as surprised at the problem.

As unsettling as it is to say, I think that under certain circumstances the quality of the interface simply doesn't matter at the point of sale - if the (short-term) measure of success is simply whether or not a sale is made. The circumstances I'm thinking of often come up in the sector Bruno drew his example from: educational software.

Part of the problem is about selling to clients who aren't the users (e.g. colleges buying materials for their students), and several comments above deal with this.

But there's a second, more significant factor when selling learning content: the sale really is all about the content. We're not selling the interface; or, at best, it's a "bonus". It's telling that most of the feedback we get from clients - and users - is about the content, and that's usually the basis of word-of-mouth sales. If we get spontaneous feedback on the interface (rare, but it happens) then you can bet it will be negative. Like a referee, it's only noticed when it's bad. If the interface is done well, it disappears (chalk up another contribution to Jared Spool, who made this point eloquently at dConstruct last year). The user simply doesn't notice it - or care about it.

This ties in with a feeling of unease I occasionally get reading Jacob Nielsen's stuff. He sometimes seems to imply that all software lives and dies on its interface - above all else. I doubt that he thinks that, but still that feeling comes through. Stats that describe the relative success and failure of websites cannot be taken as a measure of the relative usability of the interfaces on those sites. Sometimes users (or buyers) are after the content, or the features, and they simply don't care about the interface. They might care later, but not when they're buying it. And if the content's great they might never really care.

Back to where I started, the effect of a bad interface on, for example, a set of online learning materials, is to be a distraction from the content and a slow-burn frustration for users. This doesn't necessarily have any impact at point of sale.

BUT I do think it's extremely important to build high quality interfaces. In the educational sector, the ROI on interface design is about the long-game. Good design is likely to help build customer loyalty, it's a bonus, it's the absence of a negative - though it's unlikely to be the identifiable driver behind individual sales, which are all about the courses we write and not the software wrappers we put them in. This can make the internal push for investment in design a little trickier.

22 Jan 2008 - 1:43pm
Luis de la Orde...
2007

My question is: why do people keep buying products with crappy interfaces?

Hey Bruno,

If it serves as a consolation, the familiarity of the old interface, the
risk of raising legal implications with clients who pre-ordered the CD with
the old interface, manufacturing laziness and savings had a big play in your
case. Pretty much a Pareto analysis with focus on saving on remodelling a
product that sells. 7 out 10 DVD menus are horrible but if the film is good,
it puts all the nice peripheral work in perspective. [Sigh] I wish the world
was run by Honda.

Ate' mais,

Luis

22 Jan 2008 - 1:46pm
Troy Gardner
2008

1) simplicity sells, a ui that is crappier functionally, but looks
'easy' is likely to sell better than a more powerful complicated ui.

2) and most people are essentially color blind when it comes to design.

3) users have no preconceived notion/expectation like you. If it works
it's good enough...often a user coverage of features will only be
10-30% of the total functionality in a product (same goes for the
percent of books people read).

Relatedly they don't do side by side comparisons so they rarely have a
frame of reference to compare. You see this in hardware sales, yes a
52" TV side by side may be noticiably different, but back at home
...anything is better than the 20" with rabbit ears.

22 Jan 2008 - 3:13pm
Patricia Garcia
2007

I agree with educating people more. I found in user testing how much
people put themselves down when they are having a hard time with the
task. I tell them they are doing fine and if they can't find it, it
means it's not there. Figuratively speaking in most cases as it is
there, the design has just made it difficult to see.

So, should we start with demonstrations on the street or something a
bit more subtle? I'm thinking about those truth commercials about
smoking, perhaps we can hold our protests in front of the offending
companies?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24918

22 Jan 2008 - 2:11pm
Russell E. Unger
2008

On Tue, January 22, 2008 2:01 pm, Todd Zaki Warfel wrote:
>> financial and medical industries are classic examples
>
> These are two industries that need to most help and can show the
> biggest ROI, IMHO.

Interestingly enough (or not), when I was recently digging through HFI's
CUA list, I noticed a large amount of folks getting certified were in the
Financial (and Insurance, I believe)--at least in the midwest.

I wonder what we can derive from that?

--Russ

22 Jan 2008 - 7:33pm
Jeff Seager
2007

Andrew said: "Back to where I started, the effect of a bad interface
on, for example, a set of online learning materials, is to be a
distraction from the content and a slow-burn frustration for users.
This doesn't necessarily have any impact at point of sale."

Well said. Especially true for educational software, where tens of
thousands of units may be sold before anyone uncovers the flaws. Or
cares, even if they do uncover them.

Witness the ubiquitous WebCT, which I despise ... well, OK, let's
say I really dislike it. It was widely adopted not because it was a
great tool for the job, but because it was the best *available* tool
and the education community was clamoring for such a tool to make
distance learning more feasible -- which WebCT did, in its own clunky
way, to the frustration of many students undertaking coursework on the
Web.

I look forward to the Next Big Thing in that market! It's probably
arrived by now.

Your point's well-taken about content driving the educational
software market, too, Andrew. I think it should, but in this case the
content delivery system can be almost completely disregarded -- and
the real costs of that disregard (frustration, and ultimately
failure) can be passed along to the end user.

It isn't a real-world market because the buyers are insulated from
the consequences of their flawed decisions. Happens a lot in
government, too; that's how we get $900 hammers and $600 toilet
seats for the U.S. Air Force.

So in partial answer to this thread's overarching question, can we
say that crappy interfaces are far less likely to sell when the end
user is in control of spending, and can vote with his/her pocketbook?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24918

22 Jan 2008 - 7:58pm
Christine Boese
2006

I'll give a witness to the godawfulness of WebCT, Jeff! How terrible is that
tool? Let me count the ways.

1. Totally horseless carriage. All it does is strive to reproduce
face-to-face old fashioned classroom tools online.

2. Teacher-centered instead of student-centered. When it comes to
educational UCD means STUDENT-centered design. Maybe it got adopted more
widely because it looked like a teacher's admin tool (a really CLUNKY
teacher's admin tool), and teachers make those decisions, but from what I
experienced with it (as a teacher in an intensely applied computer-assisted
pedagogy classroom), most of the adoption decisions on it were made quite a
bit higher up than individual professor- or teacher- level. Probably with an
advisory committee, tho. Its servers worked (at least when I used it) and
older teachers were immediately comfortable with it because it seemed to
give them chalk and a chalkboard.

3. WebCT is Professor Yellow-Note's best friend. The best thing the tool
supports is garbage-in, garbage-out memorization-style teaching. If you want
to do anything innovative pedagogically, you spend half your time trying to
work around or kludge around WebCT. And Blackboard wasn't much better.

4. Take a leaf from MIT's book: when it comes to educational materials,
FIREWALLS SUCK. As well as professors who hide away and copyright their
syllabi. Way to teach students about the free exchange of ideas, the
importance of dialogue and debate in the Public Commons. Balkanize the
entire pedagogical landscape already used for decades by teachers who have
built careers out of teaching collaboration and collaborative tools, both
with students and with colleagues.

Teachers could use BLOG software and support more enriching courseware
experiences than with all of the tools available in WebCT (except maybe the
integration of uploading and downloading Excel to a central administration
gradebook tied to the Registrar).

Heh. I just had to go off on a rant there for a bit. As you were.

Chris

On Tue, 22 Jan 2008 17:33:46, Jeff Seager <abrojos at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Andrew said: "Back to where I started, the effect of a bad interface
> on, for example, a set of online learning materials, is to be a
> distraction from the content and a slow-burn frustration for users.
> This doesn't necessarily have any impact at point of sale."
>
> Well said. Especially true for educational software, where tens of
> thousands of units may be sold before anyone uncovers the flaws. Or
> cares, even if they do uncover them.
>
> Witness the ubiquitous WebCT, which I despise ... well, OK, let's
> say I really dislike it. It was widely adopted not because it was a
> great tool for the job, but because it was the best *available* tool
> and the education community was clamoring for such a tool to make
> distance learning more feasible -- which WebCT did, in its own clunky
> way, to the frustration of many students undertaking coursework on the
> Web.
>
> I look forward to the Next Big Thing in that market! It's probably
> arrived by now.
>
> Your point's well-taken about content driving the educational
> software market, too, Andrew. I think it should, but in this case the
> content delivery system can be almost completely disregarded -- and
> the real costs of that disregard (frustration, and ultimately
> failure) can be passed along to the end user.
>
> It isn't a real-world market because the buyers are insulated from
> the consequences of their flawed decisions. Happens a lot in
> government, too; that's how we get $900 hammers and $600 toilet
> seats for the U.S. Air Force.
>
> So in partial answer to this thread's overarching question, can we
> say that crappy interfaces are far less likely to sell when the end
> user is in control of spending, and can vote with his/her pocketbook?
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24918
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

22 Jan 2008 - 8:55pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

Often times, crappy interfaces sell because the new and improved ones
offered to replace them don't pass the threshold required to make the
investment to learn a new interface worth it. New interfaces can't
just be better, they have to pass a threshold that makes the time
investment, the monetary investment and the emotional investment
something that can make a significant difference for the user or the
business, or both. If it doesn't, the reaction from users or business
executives often feels like a baby tossed out with the bath water
proposition.

What's the threshold? That's going to require knowing what the most
significant pain points are in an existing product or market, and
then being able to not only solve those problems, but demonstrate
easily how the new approach solves those issues as well. If you don't
do that, then the new interface is often perceived as not worth it,
and the mountain to climb to motivate adoption around it becomes
significantly steeper.

We worked on a project last year where we were able to help a company
design a whole new interface for their web application product. It
had a whole new aesthetic, new workflow, upgraded their technology
and did a whole host of things better than the old. However, the real
test of the new interface had nothing to do with the prettier icons,
the cleaner data displays, the new code using upgraded, more robust
technologies to drive the product. The real test was showing how to
do a repetitive task that in the old interface tool some 20 to 27
clicks through multiple screens whereas in the new interface, the
same task had been flattened to 3 clicks or so. That data point alone
allowed the new interface to have a solid foundation to start from in
getting people geared up and ready to make the massive change the new
interface provided.

To make this real for myself, I look at how often I need or want to
purchase a new car. The mere thought of it makes my stomach turn and
sends me into a depression at what is required to make that happen.
Even when I'm going to buy a new car that will actually improve my
overall well being, like when I bought my Honda Civic Hybrid last
year. No matter how much I'm actually going to like the new car, the
thought of having to switch everything over to the new one is not an
activity I enjoy in the least.

Most people who use our products treat changing, learning or adopting
new interfaces like that, and who can blame them? Given that, its up
to us to make such a heavy investment truly worth what it's going to
cost people. And if we are, then we also have to make sure we
demonstrate exactly how with a simple, clear and effective demo of
the new interface. (FWIW, Steve Jobs is brilliant on how to demo new
products to do exactly this.)

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

22 Jan 2008 - 8:55pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

Often times, crappy interfaces sell because the new and improved ones
offered to replace them don't pass the threshold required to make the
investment to learn a new interface worth it. New interfaces can't
just be better, they have to pass a threshold that makes the time
investment, the monetary investment and the emotional investment
something that can make a significant difference for the user or the
business, or both. If it doesn't, the reaction from users or business
executives often feels like a baby tossed out with the bath water
proposition.

What's the threshold? That's going to require knowing what the most
significant pain points are in an existing product or market, and
then being able to not only solve those problems, but demonstrate
easily how the new approach solves those issues as well. If you don't
do that, then the new interface is often perceived as not worth it,
and the mountain to climb to motivate adoption around it becomes
significantly steeper.

We worked on a project last year where we were able to help a company
design a whole new interface for their web application product. It
had a whole new aesthetic, new workflow, upgraded their technology
and did a whole host of things better than the old. However, the real
test of the new interface had nothing to do with the prettier icons,
the cleaner data displays, the new code using upgraded, more robust
technologies to drive the product. The real test was showing how to
do a repetitive task that in the old interface tool some 20 to 27
clicks through multiple screens whereas in the new interface, the
same task had been flattened to 3 clicks or so. That data point alone
allowed the new interface to have a solid foundation to start from in
getting people geared up and ready to make the massive change the new
interface provided.

To make this real for myself, I look at how often I need or want to
purchase a new car. The mere thought of it makes my stomach turn and
sends me into a depression at what is required to make that happen.
Even when I'm going to buy a new car that will actually improve my
overall well being, like when I bought my Honda Civic Hybrid last
year. No matter how much I'm actually going to like the new car, the
thought of having to switch everything over to the new one is not an
activity I enjoy in the least.

Most people who use our products treat changing, learning or adopting
new interfaces like that, and who can blame them? Given that, its up
to us to make such a heavy investment truly worth what it's going to
cost people. And if we are, then we also have to make sure we
demonstrate exactly how with a simple, clear and effective demo of
the new interface. (FWIW, Steve Jobs is brilliant on how to demo new
products to do exactly this.)

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

23 Jan 2008 - 4:34am
Adrian Howard
2005

On 22 Jan 2008, at 12:07, Bruno Figueiredo wrote:

> Anyway, I think that the main problem is the general lack of knowledge
> on how good an interface can be. I'm not talking about ROI, athough
> that's a very strong (and also difficult to proove) argument. I'm
> talking about the lack of frustration when using it.
>
> The product that I'm talking about is aimed at students. I believe
> that most of all, these interfaces need to be very good. After all,
> students should be focusing on learning the content, not on how to
> master the interface.
>
> This leads me again to the question: "How can we, as Interaction
> Designers can educate the general public about good interfaces?"

I find it most effective to look at things that are as close to ROI
as you can get. Looking at addressing things of direct business value
to the organisation. Improving abandonment rates on shopping baskets,
etc.

Once you've shown improvements on the detail, selling the bigger
picture becomes a lot easier.

Cheers,

Adrian

23 Jan 2008 - 4:40am
Adrian Howard
2005

On 22 Jan 2008, at 19:23, Bruno Figueiredo wrote:
[snip]
> My question is: why do people keep buying products with crappy
> interfaces? I
> guess that since most products ship with poor interfaces, people
> have very
> low expectations. But these kind of products have been around for
> what? 15
> years? They should know better by now. Why do people keep giving
> incentives
> to companies who deliver poor products?

Because the choice is between a product with a bad-UI, and no-
product. Or a product with a good-UI vs a product with a crappy-UI
and more functionality that the user needs.

The UI on my phone sucks - but there wasn't a phone with a good UI at
the functionality/price-point I wanted.

I really don't think it's an issue with users being dim and picking
the wrong product. I think it's a problem with companies being dim
and not producing better products that can win with a UI at
appropriate levels of functionality/price.

Adrian

22 Jan 2008 - 8:53pm
thomas tupper
2008

The situation described here is not one where consumers have a choice. That
is, the company involved isn't presenting the new design to consumers and
allowing them to vote with their feet. Instead, they have noted that the
old design is selling, so they don't see the ROI they could realize from
improving their product and to them the added cost is not justifiable given
that they are able to reach their sales targets just fine with the old, icky
design. I am not really surprised by that.

The fact is, good UI is a concern to many companies only if standard
measures of ROI are ignored. From a traditional ROI perspective, UI design
services are a cost that don't have a corresponding, measurable return. We
know, of course, that good design does have very significant returns on
investment over time, but not without juxtaposition to poor designs. That
is, in a competitive marketplace, good design is a plus; all things else
being equal, a better designed product will sell better. For example, given
a first time consumer making a choice between two products that offer the
same functionality, at the same price point, one of which has a better
design... the consumer will generally pick the better designed product. But
to labor under the illusion that good design in and of itself sells products
is a foolish mistake. Functionality will almost ALWAYS trump design, for
example. Price will often trump design. Availability will necessarily
trump design. There are many factors that go into making a product saleable
that extend well beyond design, and UI designers need to be cognizant of
this.

What makes a product "usable" is way more than what we might traditionally
think of as design. "Usable" is a deeply contextual concept, and even
poorly designed products can be considered "highly usable" given a mix of
other factors that have nothing (or little) to do with design. I know that
is heretical thinking, but the fact is, it is true; I have been doing this a
long time and there are many MANY examples in the market of products that
are badly designed and tremendously successful. At issue is not the way
consumers buy products; this is not a question of the dumb ignorant masses
being in need of education. Actually, WE are the ones who need the
education; we need to understand that in the competitive marketplace, good
design is just a part of making a product saleable. And yes, it can be a
very powerful added value that can catapult a product above and beyond its
competitors. It can be a defining factor. But good design is not THE
defining factor... something we would all do well to appreciate.

Just my 2 cents worth.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jeff Seager" <abrojos at hotmail.com>
To: <discuss at ixda.org>
Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 5:33 PM
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Why do crappy interfaces sell?

> Andrew said: "Back to where I started, the effect of a bad interface
> on, for example, a set of online learning materials, is to be a
> distraction from the content and a slow-burn frustration for users.
> This doesn't necessarily have any impact at point of sale."
>
> Well said. Especially true for educational software, where tens of
> thousands of units may be sold before anyone uncovers the flaws. Or
> cares, even if they do uncover them.
>
> Witness the ubiquitous WebCT, which I despise ... well, OK, let's
> say I really dislike it. It was widely adopted not because it was a
> great tool for the job, but because it was the best *available* tool
> and the education community was clamoring for such a tool to make
> distance learning more feasible -- which WebCT did, in its own clunky
> way, to the frustration of many students undertaking coursework on the
> Web.
>
> I look forward to the Next Big Thing in that market! It's probably
> arrived by now.
>
> Your point's well-taken about content driving the educational
> software market, too, Andrew. I think it should, but in this case the
> content delivery system can be almost completely disregarded -- and
> the real costs of that disregard (frustration, and ultimately
> failure) can be passed along to the end user.
>
> It isn't a real-world market because the buyers are insulated from
> the consequences of their flawed decisions. Happens a lot in
> government, too; that's how we get $900 hammers and $600 toilet
> seats for the U.S. Air Force.
>
> So in partial answer to this thread's overarching question, can we
> say that crappy interfaces are far less likely to sell when the end
> user is in control of spending, and can vote with his/her pocketbook?
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24918
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

23 Jan 2008 - 6:40am
Bruno Figueiredo
2007

Having read the Jared Spool article Susie pointed out, I think that
it's now clearer to me. The development stages he outlines there
make perfect sense and explain a lot about the maturity of markets
and why on the initial stages of exploring a market niche products
are so ill conceived.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24918

23 Jan 2008 - 7:23am
Chauncey Wilson
2007

Something that I've noticed across usability and design discussion
groups is that those of us who design and evaluate products often have
a difficult time agreeing on what a "great user interface" really is.
In fact, as a field, we are excellent at critiqueing products and
providing bad examples, but less good at highlighting really good
examples of design that nearly everyone would agree is a good design.
A question that I often ask candidates for jobs in usability,
interaction design, or related roles is "What designs have been
inspirations to you in your work and why were they inspirational?"
I've asked that question now 7 or 8 times and come up with some blank
stares. I would be fine with many answers including people saying
thinks like I was inspired by the work of Dreyfuss or Lowey or Frog
design or Oxo products or the Bauhaus movement or Gestalt theory or
..... Actually, when I ask people to list their top 5 book related to
the position, I often see them struggle.

Chauncey

On Wed, 23 Jan 2008 04:40:29, Bruno Figueiredo
<bruno.figueiredo at gmail.com> wrote:
> Having read the Jared Spool article Susie pointed out, I think that
> it's now clearer to me. The development stages he outlines there
> make perfect sense and explain a lot about the maturity of markets
> and why on the initial stages of exploring a market niche products
> are so ill conceived.
>
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24918
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

23 Jan 2008 - 7:33am
Susie Robson
2004

This is why World Usability Day was started a few years ago. It is a way
to try to educate the public that they don't have to settle for
difficult to use products, that there is a large group of people that
can help make things easier. World Usability Day is growing each year so
I can only hope we are making a difference, even if it is a small
difference right now.

Susie Robson
The MathWorks
Sr. Usability Specialist
1.508.647.7685

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Patricia Garcia
Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 8:13 AM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Why do crappy interfaces sell?

I agree with educating people more. I found in user testing how much
people put themselves down when they are having a hard time with the
task. I tell them they are doing fine and if they can't find it, it
means it's not there. Figuratively speaking in most cases as it is
there, the design has just made it difficult to see.

So, should we start with demonstrations on the street or something a
bit more subtle? I'm thinking about those truth commercials about
smoking, perhaps we can hold our protests in front of the offending
companies?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24918

________________________________________________________________
*Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

23 Jan 2008 - 8:45am
Benjamin Ho
2007

Here's my 2-cents:

Fact of the matter is, crappy UI's DO NOT SELL. If you don't give
the user/client a choice, they won't know any better and just take
it as it is. Down the line, they'll be figuring ways to reduce
overhead not knowing that a crappy UI may increase productivity time,
thus overhead.

I bet if you start selling the better UI and its benefits, the
users/clients will buy it. This can't happen without a top-notch
sales team.

Bruno said:
"They told me that they loved my work but they have been showing the
product with the old interface to clients and they already have a
couple of orders for it so they're scrapping the review work for
now."

Sounds like the sales team needs to be fired as they're currently
doing a disservice to their clients.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24918

23 Jan 2008 - 9:33am
Luis de la Orde...
2007

"This is why World Usability Day was started a few years ago."

With all due respect Sue, I cannot see how WUD is trying to reach the public
with the World Usability Day when from the start the name of the event is
not consistently localised to a country's language. You know, the always
Coca-Cola/Toujours Coca-Cola principle. In Brazil, UPA calls the event as
World Usability Day and the newspapers call it "Dia Mundial da Usabilidade",
and the same happens in every other country as well, a little bit of a
wasted PR effort, in my opinion.

Well, considering that the the Brasilian url for the event, wud.com.br,
contains the "w", a letter which would, it weren't for the word "Watts", be
completely unheard of by the great public, one can see that it is not just
crappy interface design that makes its way into the world but also basic
mistakes such as language, which I believe should be there even before one
starts talking about accessibility. It is easy to make it difficult.

Nevertheless, if by public (internationally speaking), they mean "people
from a certain social status who understand English" I have no argument as
to how wide the public UPA is trying to serve is.

Regards,

Luis

23 Jan 2008 - 11:41am
Stew Dean
2007

On 22/01/2008, Todd Zaki Warfel <lists at toddwarfel.com> wrote:
>

> 6. Buyer isn't the user. How many people here in large-mid sized
> companies? Go ahead, raise your hands. Okay, how many of you get to
> pick the platform and applications you use? Oh, right.

I think the term is 'Golf course purchases' :) I've seen many six
figure CMS and personalisation systems that do less than a three
figure or free CMS.

Common myth clients tend to believe 'our site is very big and very
complicated'. Then you fit their complete site with all the pages onto
a couple bits of A3 (or even one sheet).

Stew Dean

--
Stewart Dean

23 Jan 2008 - 7:44am
Scott McDaniel
2007

I hope I don't come off as the cynical sandwich in the picnic basket,
but I believe it sometimes happens to keep
power in the hands of the developers/software company - they remain
the gatekeeper of knowledge about their
product and its interface. Just sometimes.

Scott

--
sing while you may

23 Jan 2008 - 1:01pm
Susie Robson
2004

Luis,

Interesting. Has this been brought to anyone's attention that can make
the necessary changes? I would have thought, though I could be mistaken,
that each local UPA chapter had some control in how they publicize this,
call it, or create a URL for it. I can check with the founder/organizer
about it to see if we can work with each chapter around the world to fix
this for next year. But, it sounds like there was at least public
mention of the effort?

Susie

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Luis de la Orden Morais
Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 10:34 AM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Why do crappy interfaces sell?

"This is why World Usability Day was started a few years ago."

With all due respect Sue, I cannot see how WUD is trying to reach the
public
with the World Usability Day when from the start the name of the event
is
not consistently localised to a country's language. You know, the always
Coca-Cola/Toujours Coca-Cola principle. In Brazil, UPA calls the event
as
World Usability Day and the newspapers call it "Dia Mundial da
Usabilidade",
and the same happens in every other country as well, a little bit of a
wasted PR effort, in my opinion.

Well, considering that the the Brasilian url for the event, wud.com.br,
contains the "w", a letter which would, it weren't for the word "Watts",
be
completely unheard of by the great public, one can see that it is not
just
crappy interface design that makes its way into the world but also basic
mistakes such as language, which I believe should be there even before
one
starts talking about accessibility. It is easy to make it difficult.

Nevertheless, if by public (internationally speaking), they mean "people
from a certain social status who understand English" I have no argument
as
to how wide the public UPA is trying to serve is.

Regards,

Luis

________________________________________________________________
*Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

24 Jan 2008 - 3:55am
Luis de la Orde...
2007

Hi Susie,

I tried to get in touch with the Brasilian chapters at the time without any
success. I wrote to UPA and got a reply from the Switzerland Office.

In 2006, I started publishing a few articles on linguistic accessibility and
content contextualisation,
http://www.webalorixa.net/artigos/acessibilidade/acessibilidade-contextualiz
acao-linguistica-02.html#subcab1 , someone from one of the Brasilian
chapters replied with a rather snotty email all written in capitals.

UPA's Brasilian web reach still has a rather confused linguistic approach as
one can see at www.wud.com.br , http://www.diamundialdausabilidade.com.br/ ,
nevertheless, from photos of the 2007 event in Curitiba, they seem to use
Portuguese in their printed materials as I could see at
http://build.exclusiveconcepts.com/WUD-Blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/wud_2
007_curitiba.pdf , I am still looking for the website they put in the PDF,
which to my surprise is all localised, including name of the event and
motto.

I do appreciate your attention and wish the best of luck to whoever deems
this of interest,

Best regards,

Luis

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Susie
Robson
Sent: 23 January 2008 19:01
To: Luis de la Orden Morais; discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Why do crappy interfaces sell?

Luis,

Interesting. Has this been brought to anyone's attention that can make
the necessary changes? I would have thought, though I could be mistaken,
that each local UPA chapter had some control in how they publicize this,
call it, or create a URL for it. I can check with the founder/organizer
about it to see if we can work with each chapter around the world to fix
this for next year. But, it sounds like there was at least public
mention of the effort?

Susie

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Luis de la Orden Morais
Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 10:34 AM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Why do crappy interfaces sell?

"This is why World Usability Day was started a few years ago."

With all due respect Sue, I cannot see how WUD is trying to reach the
public
with the World Usability Day when from the start the name of the event
is
not consistently localised to a country's language. You know, the always
Coca-Cola/Toujours Coca-Cola principle. In Brazil, UPA calls the event
as
World Usability Day and the newspapers call it "Dia Mundial da
Usabilidade",
and the same happens in every other country as well, a little bit of a
wasted PR effort, in my opinion.

Well, considering that the the Brasilian url for the event, wud.com.br,
contains the "w", a letter which would, it weren't for the word "Watts",
be
completely unheard of by the great public, one can see that it is not
just
crappy interface design that makes its way into the world but also basic
mistakes such as language, which I believe should be there even before
one
starts talking about accessibility. It is easy to make it difficult.

Nevertheless, if by public (internationally speaking), they mean "people
from a certain social status who understand English" I have no argument
as
to how wide the public UPA is trying to serve is.

Regards,

Luis

________________________________________________________________
*Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
________________________________________________________________
*Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

24 Jan 2008 - 7:13am
Bruno Figueiredo
2007

Hi Susie and Luis: I don't know if this helps but in Portugal we call
it Dia Mundial da Usabilidade. I think it helped a lot in letting the
word out to the general public. Usually the press is always very
interested and P-UPA (Portuguese UPA)representatives even gave some
interviews.

I know that Brazil doesn't have a formal organization yet. Would it
make sense to use P-UPA? We get a lot of membership requests from
Brazil and other Latin-American countries.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24918

24 Jan 2008 - 8:43am
Adrian Howard
2005

On 23 Jan 2008, at 17:41, Stew Dean wrote:

> On 22/01/2008, Todd Zaki Warfel <lists at toddwarfel.com> wrote:
>>
>
>> 6. Buyer isn't the user. How many people here in large-mid sized
>> companies? Go ahead, raise your hands. Okay, how many of you get to
>> pick the platform and applications you use? Oh, right.
>
> I think the term is 'Golf course purchases' :) I've seen many six
> figure CMS and personalisation systems that do less than a three
> figure or free CMS.
>
> Common myth clients tend to believe 'our site is very big and very
> complicated'. Then you fit their complete site with all the pages onto
> a couple bits of A3 (or even one sheet).

True - although sometimes this is also related to legacy decisions in
the past that are difficult to change. Far too many people don't
understand the concept of a sunk cost :-)

Of course these sort of purchases are often wrong on all counts - not
just the crappy user interface.

Cheers,

Adrian

24 Jan 2008 - 10:50am
Susie Robson
2004

I contacted the founder/organizer of World Usability Day to let her know
about this issue. Her response was:

"Thank you for sharing this. It is a timely comment, since UPA is
currently trying to figure out just how to be more of a Global
association and not just a US based one."

So, it looks like this can be considered/worked on. How can you help
out?

Susie Robson

-----Original Message-----
From: Luis de la Orden Morais [mailto:luis at webalorixa.net]
Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2008 4:55 AM
To: Susie Robson; discuss at ixda.org
Subject: RE: [IxDA Discuss] Why do crappy interfaces sell?

Hi Susie,

I tried to get in touch with the Brasilian chapters at the time without
any
success. I wrote to UPA and got a reply from the Switzerland Office.

In 2006, I started publishing a few articles on linguistic accessibility
and
content contextualisation,
http://www.webalorixa.net/artigos/acessibilidade/acessibilidade-contextu
aliz
acao-linguistica-02.html#subcab1 , someone from one of the Brasilian
chapters replied with a rather snotty email all written in capitals.

UPA's Brasilian web reach still has a rather confused linguistic
approach as
one can see at www.wud.com.br ,
http://www.diamundialdausabilidade.com.br/ ,
nevertheless, from photos of the 2007 event in Curitiba, they seem to
use
Portuguese in their printed materials as I could see at
http://build.exclusiveconcepts.com/WUD-Blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/w
ud_2
007_curitiba.pdf , I am still looking for the website they put in the
PDF,
which to my surprise is all localised, including name of the event and
motto.

I do appreciate your attention and wish the best of luck to whoever
deems
this of interest,

Best regards,

Luis

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Susie
Robson
Sent: 23 January 2008 19:01
To: Luis de la Orden Morais; discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Why do crappy interfaces sell?

Luis,

Interesting. Has this been brought to anyone's attention that can make
the necessary changes? I would have thought, though I could be mistaken,
that each local UPA chapter had some control in how they publicize this,
call it, or create a URL for it. I can check with the founder/organizer
about it to see if we can work with each chapter around the world to fix
this for next year. But, it sounds like there was at least public
mention of the effort?

Susie

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Luis de la Orden Morais
Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 10:34 AM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Why do crappy interfaces sell?

"This is why World Usability Day was started a few years ago."

With all due respect Sue, I cannot see how WUD is trying to reach the
public
with the World Usability Day when from the start the name of the event
is
not consistently localised to a country's language. You know, the always
Coca-Cola/Toujours Coca-Cola principle. In Brazil, UPA calls the event
as
World Usability Day and the newspapers call it "Dia Mundial da
Usabilidade",
and the same happens in every other country as well, a little bit of a
wasted PR effort, in my opinion.

Well, considering that the the Brasilian url for the event, wud.com.br,
contains the "w", a letter which would, it weren't for the word "Watts",
be
completely unheard of by the great public, one can see that it is not
just
crappy interface design that makes its way into the world but also basic
mistakes such as language, which I believe should be there even before
one
starts talking about accessibility. It is easy to make it difficult.

Nevertheless, if by public (internationally speaking), they mean "people
from a certain social status who understand English" I have no argument
as
to how wide the public UPA is trying to serve is.

Regards,

Luis

________________________________________________________________
*Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
________________________________________________________________
*Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

24 Jan 2008 - 11:54am
Chauncey Wilson
2007

The term "usability" is not a term used much by the public and I think
that we should change the name of World Usability Day to something
more like "Making things easier for everyone" (OK, that can be much
improved). World Usability Day seems like a term for usability
practitioners and not the general public. The term "user experience"
seems to be more common with it coming up in TV and print ads. So
there is a localization issue, but also a bigger issue of public
understanding of "usability". We often talk about elevator speeches
to explain what we do whereas when I tell people that I help create
and design products that easier to use they seem to grasp the concept
immediately (often referring to home appliances or autos or kitchen
gadgets).

Chauncey

On Jan 23, 2008 10:33 AM, Luis de la Orden Morais <luis at webalorixa.net> wrote:
> "This is why World Usability Day was started a few years ago."
>
> With all due respect Sue, I cannot see how WUD is trying to reach the public
> with the World Usability Day when from the start the name of the event is
> not consistently localised to a country's language. You know, the always
> Coca-Cola/Toujours Coca-Cola principle. In Brazil, UPA calls the event as
> World Usability Day and the newspapers call it "Dia Mundial da Usabilidade",
> and the same happens in every other country as well, a little bit of a
> wasted PR effort, in my opinion.

Syndicate content Get the feed