SXSW Interactive

Panel: Getting to Consistency: Don’t Make Your Users Think

Moderator: Paul Schreiber Screen Real Estate Agent, Apple

Paul Schreiber Screen Real Estate Agent, Apple
Jennifer Fraser Lead User Experience Designer, Corel Corporation
Alex Graveley Sr Engineer, VMware Inc
Steve Johnson Sr User Experience Mgr, Adobe Systems Inc

A discussion about user interface in software and operating systems. I was sitting way in the back of the crowded auditorium and couldn’t see who was talking, but I was able to collect some bits (from what I could hear — they often spoke off-mic). The panelists kept on the subject of consistency, and how the product you create must be consistent with the goals and lifestyles of your audience, more specifically that users will accept a change in your interface if you make it clear to them why it is valuable, or if you change the controls or the way you use your system.

Other comments that came from the panel (wish I could have seen who was who):

  • User experience is hit or miss; you’ll either target what a user wants to do or it’s clunky to them.
  • Feature is the f-word; it should be user goals that you’re worried about.
  • As long as you have a good feedback loop, you’ll reduce the amount of time users need to adjust to changes in your product.
  • Make major product changes with the evolution of your customer (more people have iPods, more people have widescreen monitors, etc.).
  • Your users have much different workflows. Target the commonalities of your users.
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