I try to remember the following when I’m coming up with a UI for something I’m building:

  • If there are too many options and the UI feels cluttered, the user will close it immediately. An interface should have a few basic options that most users need and hide complexity and advanced features. It may seem as if the more features the user sees, the more they will be impressed with the functionality of the software but I think it’s not the case. A user will prefer a simple UI to do the common tasks and then will be willing to go beyond that to find the more advanced functionality they need.

  • If the user can’t understand right away what to do and which action to take, they will not bother to understand. Same as it works for landing pages, I think there should be only one first option to get started and it should be clear what the user should do on first encounter. There should be a way to complete a single task and get some value from it and it should be very easy to do. Once that happens, the user will be more willing to spend time to see what other benefits they can get from the product.

I thought that these statements are too harsh until I started noticing that I often behave the same way. If the UI is not intuitive and I don’t have to use it due to some requirement, I usually don’t bother to try to figure it out.