While coming to and from a meeting the other day, I rode in an elevator that had this user interface design: I’m guessing the history of this elevator goes something like this: The elevator was designed and delivered with a very straightforward, easy-to-use user interface such as this: A new requirement emerged: “We need to support braille!” Rather than redesigning the user interface properly, additional design was merely crowbarred into the original design. Requirement met. Problem solved. Or was it? I had the good fortune of watching two other people step on the elevator and try to select their floor.
Are you about to take on a big website redesign? How about rebuilding that clunky-but-critical software application? Before you dive in, remember that the final arbiter of quality is not you, it’s your users. Here are a few steps to better understanding their needs and behaviors before you spend any precious programming dollars.