Inductive User Interface?

Posted by Phil Weber on November 22, 2002

Speaking of user experience (see below), what do you think of this article on Microsoft's "inductive" user interface guidelines? Essentially, it argues that a good UI helps the user answer two fundamental questions when looking at a screen: "What am I supposed to do now?" and, "Where do I go from here to accomplish my next task?" The UI helps answer these questions by focusing each screen on a single task, and by providing clear links in consistent locations to secondary tasks.

I've tried to apply these guidelines in the design of my current project (a browser-based content management system), but I wonder if the principles apply primarily to infrequently-used apps? Will frequent/experienced users become annoyed at the "one screen per task" hand-holding approach of the inductive user interface? Joel Spolsky makes an interesting point about the difference between learnability and usability. I'm having a difficult time finding the right balance between the two.

Leave a comment