Don't Be Too Innovative with Your UI...

2 Apr 2007 - 5:43pm
7 years ago
4 replies
644 reads
Dan Saffer
2003

...so claims Rich Skrenta, founder of Topix.

"People don't lean forward and squint at web pages to figure out how
they work anymore. They instantly recognize -- within 100
milliseconds -- which class of site a page belong to -- search
result, retail browse, blog, newspaper, spam site, message board,
etc. And if they don't recognize what kind of page they're on, they
generally give up and hit the back button.

Our news pages didn't conform to any standard metaphor. Some people
thought they were search results. But they weren't, our pure news
search was a separate section of the site. Some people thought we
were a newspaper, with human editors. Some visitors thought we were a
blog. But our news items didn't behave in very bloggy ways. Most
people just didn't know who we were or what the page was trying to do."

http://www.skrenta.com/2007/04/what_do_you_do_when_your_succe.html

Comments

2 Apr 2007 - 8:39pm
.pauric
2006

In the example cited, my take was that if you have some unfamiliar
concepts/functionality, wrap them up in as familiar a paradigm/pattern
as possible to aid learning.

I would redress "Don't Be Too Innovative with Your UI..." with: dont
be too unfamiliar with users who come to your site with no clear
goals, they'll move on.

They clearly applied innovation within an old pattern in the AI
roboblogger concept.

Its my belief that when users have clear goals heading in to a new
site there's a lot of motivation, this can free designers from having
to bend new concepts in to old forms, esp in novel RIAs.

-pauric

2 Apr 2007 - 9:51pm
Austin Govella
2004

On 4/2/07, pauric <radiorental at gmail.com> wrote:
> I would redress "Don't Be Too Innovative with Your UI..." with: dont
> be too unfamiliar with users who come to your site with no clear
> goals, they'll move on.

Or, maybe, have better visual design with clear starting points and
calls-to-action...

I'm sure users have expectations based on emerging conventions, but
it's rare users won't quickly learn a new interface if it's useful.

Not to say I don't agree with the conclusions they drew (community,
people, editors), but I think the refined focus saved the day, not
mirroring blog design.

--
Austin Govella
Thinking & Making: IA, UX, and IxD
http://thinkingandmaking.com
austin.govella at gmail.com

3 Apr 2007 - 3:10pm
Peter Merholz
2004

This is exactly what I refer to when discussing document genres.

http://www.peterme.com/archives/000460.html

People make snap judgments about the nature of a document based on
its appearance.

I don't want to argue against innovation, but you have to understand
the expectations people bring to your experience.

The disconnect that Rich describes is borne of people being cued into
thinking they were dealing with a particular document genre, and then
the interaction not behaving appropriately.

--peter

On Apr 2, 2007, at 3:43 PM, Dan Saffer wrote:

> ...so claims Rich Skrenta, founder of Topix.
>
> "People don't lean forward and squint at web pages to figure out how
> they work anymore. They instantly recognize -- within 100
> milliseconds -- which class of site a page belong to -- search
> result, retail browse, blog, newspaper, spam site, message board,
> etc. And if they don't recognize what kind of page they're on, they
> generally give up and hit the back button.
>
> Our news pages didn't conform to any standard metaphor. Some people
> thought they were search results. But they weren't, our pure news
> search was a separate section of the site. Some people thought we
> were a newspaper, with human editors. Some visitors thought we were a
> blog. But our news items didn't behave in very bloggy ways. Most
> people just didn't know who we were or what the page was trying to
> do."
>
> http://www.skrenta.com/2007/04/what_do_you_do_when_your_succe.html
>
>
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3 Apr 2007 - 8:24pm
Victor Lombardi
2003

On Apr 3, 2007, at 5:18 PM, peter wrote:
>
> People make snap judgments about the nature of a document based on
> its appearance.

Ditto. The research on 'information shape' is very helpful to know in
these cases. I summarized it here:

http://www.slideshare.net/threefour/navigation-research
(best viewed in full-screen mode)

Victor

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