You have arrived at the web home of Noah Brier. This is mostly an archive of over a decade of blogging and other writing. You can read more about me or get in touch. If you want more recent writing of mine, most of that is at my BrXnd marketing x AI newsletter and Why Is This Interesting?, a daily email for the intellectually omnivorous.

June, 2005

If Your Interface Sucks, Your Product Sucks

Things should be easy to use. I know it's kind of a broad statement, but it's true.

I was explaining my feelings on this just last night. My feeling on any new technology is that if I can't figure it out in five minutes it's probably not worth figuring out. I know that's a tiny amount of time and probably a bad way to live, but if you haven't created something that I can figure out in a short period of time, then why should I bother. Chances are if it's that confusing your company/product/webapp won't exist six months from now anyway.

Yeah, it's a little egotistical, but it's also a way for me to weed out the static. If I put lots of time into every new thing I saw I'd waste a whole lot of time. So I don't.

Garrett Dimon echoes this idea in a post titled, appropriately enough, "If It Needs Instructions, It Doesn't Work".

If it needs a lot of explaining it's probably too confusing.

So why don't you or your company take that time it took you to write your forty page instruction manual and make your product simpler?

An interface tells you a lot about a product. You know why it was always so hard to program a VCR to record your favorite program? Because the powers that be didn't want you recording your favorite program. The VCR was a device made for playback, just compare the size of the play button and the record button and you'll see what I mean.

So what's my point?

If your interface sucks, your product does too.

In fact, in a digital world most often there's no difference between the two. Your interface is your product. So why don't you think about it?
June 24, 2005
Noah Brier | Thanks for reading. | Don't fake the funk on a nasty dunk.