Sunday, July 1, 2012

Hick's Law - A Design principle

"The time required to locate and use an option increases as the number of options increases."
Basil Fawlty: Next contestant, Mrs. Sybil Fawlty from Torquay. Specialist subject - the bleeding obvious.

I'm not sure how useful this principle is on its own but I am reminded of it because of a piece of software I have had the great misfortune to come across recently. I don't have to use it but I feel very sorry for the people that do. An absolute horror of a piece of software. 

I am reminded that although it enables users to do stuff, it doesn't make it easy, and it certainly doesn't generate any delight. Those are what we should be looking for now in our applications.

Oh the software: iMIS.
What is it with the "i"? 
Why do they do that?
There is nothing remotely "i" about their system.

For my mind it's Hick's law that makes Pages so much better than MS Word.

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