“No I don’t need training, this is pretty simple” – User after piloting our new enterprise app in 2012.
By far, the best compliment I have received. The user may have not realized that this was a compliment, but achieving “simple” is actually was fairly time and effort intensive. Getting to ‘Easy to use’ or ‘Simple’ entails many facets of application design – it also means you have to really understand one rule of thumb – For most people, all that matters is how painlessly and quickly they can achieved the task they are using the app for i.e. how effectively and elegantly their problem has been solved.
Relying on a user to read a manual (or open the help documentation/wiki on the site), and I say this with respect, is really like hoping you will win the lottery. It could happen, but chances are unlikely. 98% of the Human population are not developers, coders, Ux designers, project managers. They have not heard of PHP, Python, C# or any of that, nor do they care. They also do not read manuals.
Actually, the best thing to do is to assume there is no manual (technical writers reading this – please don’t get mad!). So, without further ado, I present : Three simple rules of thumb for building an application for 98% of all humans:
- There is no manual and a user may never use one – (that does not dissolve you of having good manuals/documentation though)
- A user will decide in under 10 seconds if the application is “easy to use”
- If 2 works out, a user should be comfortable with your application in under 5 minutes
Keeping the above 3 points in mind is the first step to achieving ‘simple’. There is alot more to it ofcourse, but when you get down to it, the Ux is a key pillar of a product development effort. Still, feel free to cringe every time you hear the words “it must be easy to use” in a spec or design meeting!