I'm part of a team designing an IRC client that needs to be full-featured but also easy to use for people who don't often use IRC (the goal is to create a Slack-like interface. But, with all the feature of IRC.)

I'm wondering if there are any resources available for designing-in advanced features into easy-to-use applications. Ideally, the client would be suited to both entry-level users and experts, with a focus on lowering the barrier for entry into IRC.

2 Answers 2


Steve Krug - Don't make me think is really a definitive starting point for appreciating usability.

The UI (User Interface) design will come second to actually figuring out how the software should work.

The key is to be continually testing on users and getting their feedback as the design comes together.

If you jump straight into visual design you'll have something that looks great but may not really function as a usable solution.


The best resource is going to be your target audience - They will tell you exactly what works and what doesn't.

Start with talking to some of them to find out who they are and what motivates them. use this to build personas that you can use to understand how your average user might react to the product. You can also start to build a set of requirements that users need to have satisfied by your product.

Then build up a loose prototype and have some more people try using it. Ask them to perform specific tasks based on where the business requirements meet the user requirements and note how well or badly the users are able to complete them - This will show you where your interface is working and where it's not.

Iterate with more interviews and more prototyping until your are confident that you have a product you are ready to release.

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