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Shocker: Applications Are Mostly Usable

Remember a few years ago when people used to squawk about not being able to find anything on the web? Until finally people started looking around and saying, uh, wait, I can find the stuff I'm looking for? And that wasn't all Google either: most websites began to get a level of professionalism and findability that made browsing them much easier.

The same thing is happening now with applications and operating systems. Enough knowledge about good design (and enough good designers) have started to make a real difference in the baseline of application design, to the point where I will say that generally, at least where desktop and web applications are concerned, they are generally usable. (I think devices are still catching up.) They may not necessarily be useful (hello, umpteen web 2.0 apps) or desirable (yes, I'm looking at you, most large software companies), but they do work reasonably well. And that is something I don't think you could say 10 years ago, when all sorts of atrocities were forced on users.

This is a really good thing.

Is this to say all the problems with applications are solved? Of course not. Every product made by humans can be improved--some drastically, some incrementally. And there are always the innovative products that leap far ahead of what we expect a product could do or be. Those still remain to be created and refined. And even though a few dogs certainly slip out there (especially on the enterprise side), the state of application design is getting better. This is worth noting and celebrating, because it means we user experience folk are having an impact on the world, slowly but surely.

Originally posted at Sunday, April 8, 2007 | Comments (0) | Trackback (0)

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