It seems obvious, but it’s often ignored. A good user interface design can spell difference between acceptance of a software product and its failure in marketplace. If end-users find software to be too cumbersome or difficult to understand, then an otherwise excellent product could be doomed to failure. The developer’s goal should be to make software as professional-looking and easy to use as possible.
Sadly, I’ve found that a great many companies—especially small or highly specialized software firms—pay little attention to mechanics of good user interface style. “As long as it works, that’s what matters!” seems to be their mantra, with little regard for inconvenience that this imposes on user.
Thankfully, that’s not how we operate at our company. Our team of developers invests considerable effort into making out user interfaces as intuitive and foolproof as possible, since we know that this is something our customers would appreciate. I’ve often commended my teammates for recognizing that excellence is worth pursuing.
Going back to topic… I can’t remember how many times I’ve encountered software that was designed to work, but with little regard for ease of use. If software forces operator to constantly consult a manual or a cheat sheet, then that’s a pretty good indication that user interface needs improvement. Similarly, software should allow user to perform tasks quickly and efficiently, without sacrificing power and flexibility. This seems intuitive, and yet these considerations are so often lacking.