Bruno Unna

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Elegance in user interfaces

I just read an interesting article on elegance outside the “high-design world”.

The closing conclusion of the article: Elegant doesn’t have to simple.

A quite insightful conclusion, I believe.

The reason why I enjoy using a significatively large number of Mac applications is that the complexity is hidden upfront; engulfed, up to the point I –as a user– need:

Should I perform a simple (or common) operation, I’m not subjected to a cumbersome, cluttered interface. Should I need something else, a couple of clicks in the –intuitive– right places give me access to a more sofisticated interface. And so on.

If I ever become a power user of such a program, the interface (and functions) available to me are as complex, or more, than the corresponding ones in any other platform.

The point at hand is that the progressive disclosure design principle is, at least when speaking of user interfaces, an important ingredient of elegance. But is, as usual, a double-edged sword. And a technique particularly hard to master.

This post was originally a comment to the aforementioned one, but I got a PHP error… Certainly not an elegant response. 🙂


Filed under: Culture, Psychology, Software


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