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JUN 2010 0

Keep it simple

Whether you're developing a webapp, a website, some native software or a simple installer, keep it simple and straightforward. We barely have time for anything these days, and effective solutions that help us doing what we need to do fast, without error will win over pretty much anything else.

This concept applies to web forms, navigation, software options, and more. The faster the users get things done, the more satisfied they will feel, they'll use your solution even more and refer others to it. This post will be best suited in a thoughts / tumblr blog, but I figured it may get in here as well.


This post was inspired from the recent Windows encounters I've had. Remember the post on web forms usability published just a while ago? Well, while installing the Microsoft Office Suite downloaded after using that faulty web form, I got a new installation wizard out of the blue, which I didn't ask for.

Microsoft installer asking to select unique component to be installed

For some reason, I was asked to install Business contact Manager for Outlook Express 2007. I have no idea what that is, but I assume what it's used for. Bottom line is I don't need it. On top of that is the really bad installer.

Let's assume someone wants to actually install it. The installer starts and shows one component that can be installed. The one I want. Why would you not simply let me get through with the process and require me to select the component to be installed. After all, moments ago I double clicked to install it? Why confirm that again?

Microsoft installer with enabled next button only after unique component is selected

What's even worse is that I cannot click the Next button until I select the unique component. Moreover, there isn't a "finish" installation button. It's a "Next" step button. I don't want to waste any more steps with this issue. Just let me get on with it.

To conclude, whatever you're doing, try to keep it simple and straightforward for your users. Don't frustrate them with never ending jibberish chat.

Published on Tuesday, June 1st, 2010 at 10:00 am in usability.

About Bogdan Pop

Bogdan Pop is a young Romanian entrepreneur who runs WebRaptor. He is a web developer with awesome design skills, who enjoys writing about everyday's work and usability. He relaxes by taking photos every once in a while and by mixing french electronic music. Connect with him via Twitter.

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