UI Hype

<a href=”http://www.onclipevent.com/archives/enterframe/000408.html”>Navneet over at enterFrame</a> asks is all this focus on cool UI’s is really worth all the hype, in our case, in RIA’s and Flash usage. He references a <a href=”http://www.infoworld.com/article/03/10/17/41OPstrategic_1.html”>Jon Udell article </a>and a snippet which explains rather than bigger tree menus, we need evolution as this method of more data into an existing UI element is not effective.

Notice I added effective. The more “programmer” I’ve become over the years, I’ve wished to become more effective. When trying to code PHP, I approached it totally different than I approached learning ActionScript, and a lot better I might add. I used resources I knew I had, both people and research wise, and was able to accomplish a lot more in a shorter time frame with better quality code resulting.

This same attitude I have applied to interfaces more. I want to empower the user to have the ability to get something done. Usability just comes into play to ensure this happens easily. Really, it’s a given though; if they are effectively getting something done, it’s a usable interface.

This doesn’t mean there isn’t room improvment, though. However, I think it comes down to 2 main concepts, which is maybe how a lot of us got into this industry. Rather than speak for you, for me:
– I wanted to do interfaces and Flash apps because the things I’ve seen elsewhere were done wrong. I thought to myself, “They did that wrong, I know how to that right.”
– I think it’d be cool to do an interface for this type of information like this, and this tool allows me to focus on that problem solely

That last one is the key here: The ability to focus on the problem. I admire web people because they can focus on this ability despite all of the unrealistic technical challenges thrown their way. Rather than focusing strictly on solving the problem of how to display information to the user, they are trying to figure out if the menu they’ve chosen will “display” correctly.

Uh… Navneet talks about innovation. I’ll admit that necessity is the mother of invention, and that sometimes great things come from strife, but for innovation to really flourish, we need to remove all obstacles and focus on purely our ideas without any outside stimuli complicating the process of research and discovery. That’s why I liked Flash: you can be very creative in your test, and your stuff actually works.

Now, works technically… doesn’t mean it’s an effective interface, but you can truly judge it from that angle rather than, “Well, … it doesn’t work on Mozilla, so this menu paradigm will have to take a back seat until we figure out how to get it to work.”

No frikin’ wonder new concepts don’t come to fruition faster. For me, Flash is a great testing ground for real world interface concepts; it’s RAD environment allows you quickly put together your idea and test it. I’ve seen a good deal of interface concepts that have great potential as stanard UI’s, but more so from the games I play. Since I don’t have proprietary 3D engines with C++ skillz to boot, Flash is the next best thing, but one I can easily share with others and get feedback.

I don’t think things will accelerate enough until we focus more on what can be done and put research into it’s effectiveness instead of if something works under certain, technical conditions.

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