Aza Raskin on Mozilla and User Interfaces

Aza Raskin from Mozilla, spoke largely about usability and user interface design. Judging from his Wikipedia entry, he’s been doing this for a long time and is very passionate about interfaces. It was very hard to see his slides (noted problem, too much sunlight), so I just attempted to make random bits of notes from his talk. His slides, may or may not be available, but he did mention that searching for a talk titled “Don’t Make Me Click”, was the basis for his LugRadio Live USA talk. Turns out, it was a Google Tech Talk, available on Youtube – Don’t Make Me Click (~65 minutes). Now for the sparse notes…

You already use a command line interface. Typed pine before? Or slrn? Now you just type or This is an interesting analogy… the command line and the location bar.

Intuitiveness vs. ease of use? There’s a difference. The iPhone interface isn’t exactly intuitive, but with all the advertising available around, when you got one, you knew what to do, and you got ease of use.

“Don’t copy, do something else”

1. Interface design is about how your software is used.
2. Usability is architectural (pretty interfaces/devices, you will use better)
3. Well designed command lines are good for usability. “Your users don’t know what features they want” – architect well, for your user. Learn a lot from Microsoft Word print dialog (which allows you to choose which pages to print)
4. Don’t blindly copy, find another box to think in
5. Don’t design separately for users and experts. Make things intuitive for all

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One Comment

  1. Mozilla says:

    Good ethics to live by, Google are copying Mozilla though.