What users want in design?

Post date: Sep 14, 2014 7:45:09 PM

It is not about object oriented design, database design or design of software. It is about how users see the design (comfortable or not comfortable with it). Mostly users interact with an interface and in modern applications, websites and software, that interface is UI (user interface). Very good looking, bright and full of images/animation is not what is most important for the users. There are few principles of design from user point of view and they are mainly on usability. Here are some basic things which most of the users want in an application:

Self explanatory or intuitive:

If your application or website requires training, a user guide to use it or steps to remember the things on how to use it, you have missed the plot. The features, commands and menus of the website or application should be self explanatory, well known and obvious to the user.

Maximum default values:

If there can be a default value it should be provided. A user is filling out a form but why he should enter date of filling out the form. There may be an option to change it but why not provide a default value. If a user is filling out a form why should he enter his country, why not the default selection of country based on his locale or history of use? If a department user has to make entries or post often, why should he selects his department? His profile should have his association with a department and that should be auto-filled.

One stop shop:

Asking user to do multiple things on multiple pages or applications is a big no. Whatever user has to do to get something done should be available on single place (may be on a single page too that's why RIA or Ajaxified apps came to the picture).

Minimum steps:

There should be minimum steps, as minimum as possible. Only one step is the best. Confusing multiple options or ways to do the same thing confuse users, provide them one consistent way of using the application. Minimum choices are the best for users. It doesn't mean user should not have choice for his product but here we are talking about what he has to do to get his needs fulfilled should not require him to deal with multiple choices big and detailed form and many steps.

No repetition:

Don't ask users to provide same information which they have already provided.

Be a guide:

Users want suggestion on how to do, what to do not "you made a mistake", "there is an error" statements. Provide them as much as possible hints, help and message (but avoid unwanted popup messages, they are killers). What you assume about user knowledge is certainly not true. They don't know how to write(right) "click" (now decide how will you ask them to click right mouse button after pointing the mouse pointer over an option or icon on the computer screen)

At the right time & quick:

There is a right time to everything. If you provide lots of information (you try to do this but they wont listen/read/understand) very early before time when that information is needed or if you provide them information too late, both are not going to be liked by users. Response time of a request should be minimum, no one wants to wait. Would you like an application which asks you to fill a form and get the report tomorrow or get the information you need after few hours? No, never.

No partial functionality:

If you go to a restaurant and order food, restaurant says we can serve meal but not water, you will have to arrange it on your own from outside, will you go to that retardant again? User has to do something and you give him only half of the functionality, for another part of the same requirement he has to use another application or do it manually, such application is not going to be helpful for the user.