Design and User Interface Decisions

    It is probably a result of reading Donald Normans The Design of Everyday Things that I have spent more time recently thinking about design, and specifically UI design. While I don't think I am, or will ever become, a great (or even good) designer I find it to be a good exercise. For me, trying to find what I believe to be is a good design is somewhat akin to the "which is better A or B?" question which you get asked at the optometrist. Except repeated, over and over, and then over again. I have a lot of respect for those who work in design, it can be a very difficult and frustrating thing to do, and that's before you even get to a good design.

    After reading Normans book, one thing that I think most people start doing (myself included) is taking a closer look at some of the common things around us to see if they really were designed intelligently. One of the things I found striking is seen in the picture to the right. Whats wrong with the Eject option for removable devices? itself.
    What I find odd, is its placement, namely directly below the Format option. I know that in my use that those two things are the most (eject) and least(format) used of all of the options in that dialogue. The thing that exacerbates this issue even more is the fact that the Format option is the most "aggressive" or drastic options available, in terms of consequence. If you mistakenly scan your flash drive for viruses, or click the explore option, no harm done. Format on the other hand, eeek. Yes theres a pop up dialogue confirming that you want to format the device, but really it wouldnt be an issue if it were placed more out of the way.


Unknown said...

So you think the placement based on frequency of use should be preferred over placement of type of use? I completely see your point but you can clearly see 3 different sections of options there. The top set allows you to browse, the middle clearly added by a third party system allows you to do what it wants you to do, and the last are various other operations you can perform of which there are only two. In this case with the two most frequently used options at the top and bottom respectively I think it's fairly good design, perhaps by consequence.

Of course it's always good to think about these things.

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