What is easier to use? A consistent interface with an inferior interface or a inconsistent interface with one part superior interface?

13 Mar 2009 - 3:21am
5 years ago
2 replies
999 reads
Roland Studer
2008

Hi

What is easier to use? A consistent interface with an inferior
interface or a inconsistent interface with one part superior
interface?
Let me explain:
I'm working on a backup client. Budget is tight, I proposed interface
for the backup section, where you choose which files should be backed
up, where you have a list of all the files, you want to back up. By
clicking plus/minus signs you can add/remove items.
See: http://tinyurl.com/cn2pos

Now with this solution the problem is, that we won't be able to
reproduce a corresponding interface for the restore section, because
it would cost too much. So the restore section would look like a big
tree view of the local file system.
http://tinyurl.com/av98g8

So what's do you think is better? Having the user cope with two
different very different interfaces, where one is easier to use or
have very close correspoding model (a tree view with checkboxes, to
choose, what should be backed up).

I'll try to get some users feedback, with paper-prototypes, but
testing is not feasible.

Have a great day!

Roland Studer

Comments

13 Mar 2009 - 8:55am
Adrian Howard
2005

Hi,

On 13 Mar 2009, at 08:21, Roland Studer wrote:
[snip]
> What is easier to use? A consistent interface with an inferior
> interface or a inconsistent interface with one part superior
> interface?
> Let me explain:
> I'm working on a backup client. Budget is tight, I proposed interface
> for the backup section, where you choose which files should be backed
> up, where you have a list of all the files, you want to back up. By
> clicking plus/minus signs you can add/remove items.
> See: http://tinyurl.com/cn2pos
>
> Now with this solution the problem is, that we won't be able to
> reproduce a corresponding interface for the restore section, because
> it would cost too much. So the restore section would look like a big
> tree view of the local file system.
> http://tinyurl.com/av98g8
[snip]

"Easy to use" in what context?

I know when I'm forced (through stupidity :-) to resort to backups
it's often because I've deleted one or files deep in a hierarchy.
Picking those out might be easier in a tree-view than using +/- select
boxes.

Conversely if I wanted to add dozens of different folders and files in
a directory to the backups - I can see the +/- solution being more
annoying than the multiple-select from tree view solution.

So - I can imagine a situation (I want to back up a few high-level
directories, but want to restore individual files from those backups)
where the different backup/restore interfaces would probably be more
effective.

I'm sure there are others where they wouldn't be.

What behaviours are you trying to make the interface best support?
Are there other UI options that might support different behaviours well?

Cheers,

Adrian

16 Mar 2009 - 3:11am
Roland Studer
2008

Hi Adrian

> "Easy to use" in what context?

> What behaviours are you trying to make the interface best support? Are
> there other UI options that might support different behaviours well?

Thx for these questions.
I think you just put me in the right direction.

Probably the most common use cases are, that you want to backup a few
root folders. But you usually want to restore only a few files in the
restore proces, often deep within a hierarchy.

btw:
I looked at some other backup software, and saw, that actually both
scenarios I thought of might work pretty well: What I considerered
inferior, doesn't really need to be inferior (a good tree view, can be
work very well, if selceted subitems are indicated well). And the
inconsistency I thought might be a problem, didn't feel like a
problem.

Thx
Roland

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