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137

There isn't any difference between internal products and products for customers because everything is used by real people. Sure, some executives will think that they can cut a corner here & there on design of internal products. Unfortunately, they're forgetting that a second lost here and a second lost there as a result of a poorly-designed software ...


63

You need to distinguish a good-looking, aesthetic design whose goal is to make the product easier and fun to use, from a "sexy" design whose goal is to market the product, have it featured in Smashing Magazine showcases, and have people send it to each other going Wow. The latter you don't need in an internal product, and it might do more harm than good. The ...


26

My wife is a Certified General Accountant, so I asked her about this question. The standard accounting way is always to show negative numbers in parentheses. If you want to appeal to primarily financial professionals, that's the accepted practice. She also cautions against using red or drawing attention to a negative number. Highlighting a number ...


19

I strongly advise AGAINST multiple columns, because this breaks the eye flow and work flow. However, grouping multiple inputs in the same line by logic, can be a usability+++, and will save you a lot of space. Here I made a quick example of what I mean: In addition, you can: Reduce the number of input fields to a minimum (hide optional fields in an ...


18

The answer from a programmer Yes. I have standards and want to do my job well. Asking me to cut corners compromises the work ethic, and I am not going to put as much effort in if you ask me to do it badly. The answer from the user Yes. I have to use this, potentially frequently. Ugly software cripples my experience. An intuitive and simplified interface ...


16

There are several reasons this practice is common: The company wants to know who you are so their salesmen can follow up with you and help you on to a purchase; The company may want to know if you are one of their competitors before showing you the product (the higher the barrier to entry is of the market, the more important this becomes); The company ...


12

I think there are some other ways of dealing with scrolling and modelling complex forms that will yield better results than just trying to squash all the fields onto one screen. Ways that will lessen the obviousness of scrolling, or remove it altogether as well as making white-space more manageable and less obvious. I would advise considering the following ...


11

There's ample evidence that "making a user interface look good" contributes significantly to the interface's usability and user experience. Kurosu & Kashimura showed the link between visual design and usabiliity way back in 1995 (PDF) and Tractinsky found the link even stronger than expected in 1997. Since then, there's been a ton of research that shows ...


11

Problem I think there are several usability problems in current design. Wide single line input limits the way that note could be expressed (no paragraphs, no breaks) and makes the reading much harder. Interaction style is non-convenient, as note-taking area is disjoined from appropriate order. This creates jump-and-search behavior while taking a note, ...


10

Great question. From the viewpoint of an evil rhetorician, the short answer is "build a more convincing argument." You're already asking that, so it seems what you need is techniques to improve your argument and, in turn, your persuasiveness. I've found that one of the best ways to get buy-in is to get the client to come to your own decision without feeling ...


8

As general rule, you should use dialog boxes only when you have to. It’s preferred that you use direct manipulation or input or edit-in-place, where the user works directly on the data objects represented in a primary window. In the case of creating objects, the edit-in-place approach has either: An Insert button that creates the object and adds a blank ...


8

Without disturbing the overall pale and minimal feel that I assume you're going for - I did this quick mock-up - removing the distracting noise of horizontal lines and introducing a hint of colour into the look - also doing away with the MS System font or whatever it was. I'm sure you can do something with the message areas as well...


8

Definitely make it looks good, easy to work with, and have a fast response time, because: People from outside the company will probably end up seeing it at some point. You may want to commercialize the software at some stage. It's a lot more work to go back and fix UX issues after the fact than designing well in the first place. A good UX will take more ...


8

In general, yes, but there are a number of other variables here that may impact how much effort you put into it. Who is the audience? If it's "just a couple of engineers," quick-n-dirty may be just fine, and in fact preferable. Get it done and move on. If it's for more than a couple people, or for people in different groups, then spend a little more time ...


8

As a provider of a Saas solution, we are the opposite - we do not want users to need a demo as it increases the cost of sale hugely. To that end, we do as much as we can to make our trial as user friendly as we can including offering a sample data file so they can try it out using dummy data rather than taking the time to enter their own data (some ...


7

Here are some great links for you... maybe you will find what you're looking for: http://ui-patterns.com/blog/100-sign-up-forms http://patternry.com/p=one-page-wizard/ http://patterntap.com/?terms=&sort_by=created&type=43&style=All&platform=All And from Lukew you can learn a lot about form design: http://www.lukew.com/ and here's a Lukew ...


7

let me ask you this: is photoshop/3Dmax/etc.. good looking? As designers we normally spend the entire day working within applications that allow us to do our work either faster, better or/and more conveniently. For us, this are "internal apps" because the client/customer won't see them (usually). The same goes when developing UI and UX for different ...


7

If you get in the habit of making ugly cumbersome software for internal use, you run the risk of using the same bad practices when working on external products. This is especially likely to be a problem for anyone who starts on internal products when first hired because their initial exposure to corporate culture will be the sloppy form.


7

User testing should give more objective results. Anyway, my suggestion to complex form is to provide visual indicator of current field, see image. It allows: to have more concentration on a current field and to return to work faster after interruption or break. The same approach you could see in Excel, which is edge case of complex form, as ...


6

I'm a bit distressed that people living in a world exposed to things like Google Instant and StackExchange sites could possibly still be making interfaces like the other suggestions. :-/ It seems like when programmers design user interface, they get horse blinders on and recast the goal as making sure the UI can't get into an "invalid" state in the data. ...


6

The problem with adding images, animations attitude could probably be well illustrated by a comparison between StackOverflow website and OSQA project default UI. Both are quite simple and use few images or animations, and yet the difference is obvious (not in OSQA's favor[0]). Good UI doesn't mean going fancy and using animation, but caring about things ...


6

Can you explain the reasoning behind this? I think you'll catch the idea from the image. So, there should be clear indicator of non-completed number.


6

You normally design form fields to match the expected input. Do you have a maximum character count for this field? If so, you can display a countdown, decrementing that number as the user types, to provide them with real-time guidance on how wordy they are allowed to be, and also to circumvent the awkward flow of accepting their typing and then erroring out ...


5

It sounds like this is an application where the user seriously needs to know when an operation goes through. In this case you can not get away with hiding the function or hiding the error message as others have suggested. From your description, I am inferring that these are admin or otherwise trusted users that are knowledgeable about what they are doing ...


5

When designing an interface, you should focus on making it as easy to use as you can, not on doing something new for the sake of it. And as your question stands you haven't really shown what the problem with checkboxes is that you are going to solve with icons and colours. So breaking it down with specific reasons: Checkboxes clearly indicate their state ...


5

You do not need any help here. You've understood and identified the problem with the first approach and have clearly addressed it with your study. Neither a dedicated info icon or a focused tooltip for the full field label are right or wrong. This is an individual user's preference and could be iterated upon with user testing, but neither is incorrect. ...


4

Could you create a vertical tab interface, with each tab representing an effective date? Click on a tab to see the data as of that effective date. (Think Apple's Time Machine without the fancy animation.) To make a change, the user would start with entering an effective date. That would create and select a new tab, a copy of of the one that preceded it, ...


4

Well, as for an alternative user might understand you could maybe try to combine the text field with the dropdown and autosuggest. So you have a textbox with autosuggest and a drowdown arrow beside it. If you click on the arrow you see all user names, if you start typing the list will be reduced to the possible user names. if you do not want to add a ...


4

The absolute best way that I've found to convince folk is to just go and do it for a bit - and report on the results. Find a team in your organisation and just try it. If you can't find a team find a couple of interested co-workers and just try it. Track what works and what doesn't. Figure out where it's saving you time and the organisation money. After ...


4

Yes, you do - simply because attractive interfaces work better. Lots of links and reading material can be found in this great article on uxmyths.com: Myth #25: Aesthetics are not important if you have good usability



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