Here’s a common problem: A developer builds what they believe to be the “perfect” web application. It meets all of the user requirements, and even includes extra features that weren’t required. It will save the users all sorts of time. It’s exactly what they wanted.
But, then something unexpected happens: Very few users actually use it.
For many developers, this is a common problem. It’s frustrating and doesn’t make sense. In their minds, everything was done correctly. It meets all of the requirements and it’s powerful. So, why don’t people use it?
More often than not, the interface is the culprit. Like it or not, an attractive application will get more users than an unattractive app, even if it is technically inferior. Studies show that people judge a web page or web app within a second of visiting it. The fact is, if your application is confusing or poorly designed, users won’t stick around long enough to realize how great it is.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you should focus only on the looks of an application. I’m saying that once you’ve built a powerful application, you must give it an attractive interface if you want users to actually use it. Of course, that’s easier said than done. How can a developer that doesn’t know the first thing about design suddenly start making attractive and usable apps?
If you want to increase usability, there are some general tips that should be followed when developing a web app. We’ve written up a few of the most basic tips and placed them in our forum. Additionally, here’s a nice article on Techrepublic.com that lists a few user interface tips as well.
Of course, if you have any other tips for improving usability in web apps, I’d love to hear them.