Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Senzee's Rule of Interface Complexity

If what an interface is supposed to do, how it's supposed to do it and the role it plays in a system is not apparent in five minutes of staring at it, it's too complex.

4 comments:

Colin said...

Ben says 5 minutes is too long. I tend to agree.

Ben said...

Yep. 30 seconds is too long for usability. I like your premise, but I think your estimate is too high.

Ben said...

Actually, thinking on it, sometimes the rules change. Before there was a standard for vtr controls (play/pause/fast-forward) people could stare at a perfectly usable device for hours without any idea how to make it work.

However, once a language of usability has been established (two triangles means fast forward!) the user can pick up a device or a website or a car and make it do the things they want.

That said, sometimes that language is terrible. The language for Air Conditioning systems in cars sucks.

Senzee said...

You're right, I've left the issue of domain vocabulary completely out of it and that's an oversight.

We probably need to start off a rule like this with the assumption that the intended audience is familiar with the domain and its language. And, in that case, 5 minutes may well be too long.