Pleasure in the UI
I very much enjoyed the session I attended from the BuzzWord team. It’s an outstandingly good-looking application, and it’s refreshing to hear a design and development team talk explicitly about how making a beautiful interface is one of their goals. I also very much liked their idea of trying to create small moments of pleasure within their interface; they gave four examples:-
- In Buzzword’s document sorter screen, when you change the sort order (from, eg. Title to Author), the document names fly around the screen into their new order. It’s immensely visually appealing, but also has the useful effect of conveying something about the underlying model of what’s happening.
- Buzzword times out your session if there’s no activity from your client for a while. The dialog box that you see when you return to your PC says “Buzzword fell asleep while you were away” (plus a randomly selected picture of an enormously cute sleeping baby / cat / gorilla), and then “Please click to reactivate”.
- Their spell checker dialog box has a checkbox for “Flag mispelled words”. Misspelled is, well, misspelled, with a wavy red underline. This makes everyone who sees it, me included, smile.
- The icon for “Document History” is the Venus de Milo.
To me, interface touches like this are the hallmark of a team which really, really cares about their product, and you can see this same attention to detail everywhere within the application and the Buzzword web site. Even their “Visit our support forum” text has this same feel about it:-
Our mice are poised over the Refresh key, waiting for your comments. Head on over to our Forum.