December 10, 2004

UI

Haven’t written any tech stuff lately. So here goes. Incoherent mumblings mostly.

I’ve been thinking a lot about UI design for the last two months. A good UI is really important, take it from a guy who’s spent many hours explaining people how to use some software. If it is not easy to use, people will not use it.

Linux, any Linux, is tough to use, if you are a non-techie. You need to put in efforts to learn stuff; and most of the end users have put in their efforts to learn Windows. Nobody wants to learn the basics again. Heck, even I don’t have Linux installed at home, I just pop in a Knoppix cd when I get too tired of XP.

There are two programs whose interface I love. One is Picasa, the other is iTunes. Google acquired Picasa just because of it’s wonderful interface. It’s no way near a full featured image app like ACDSee, whose interface sucks BTW. But what it does, it does simply. And looks good doing it. I’ve seen people going WOW as I use it, and that is pretty cool.

iTunes & Quicktime are the only Apple apps that I’ve used. Quicktime is good, but iTunes is where Apple’s famed interface design becomes apparent. The program is pretty much useless to me, it performs a pitiful amount of tasks compared to Winamp. But I just like looking at it, and hence it being on by system for the last couple of months. Honestly, if I used a PC/Mac for the first time today, iTunes would be the app I’d use to play music. It makes me wish I could buy a Mac.

See, this is the reason I’ve put off writing tech pieces. They all end up raving about the stuff I like. But seriously, I care so much about interface design because I know I suck at it. Not my forte, look at the only piece of interface I’ve ever created. I hated creating the interface, it’s hard work compared to the other stuff. So I’m almost certain that I’ll try a nice web app for my final year project, no messing around with graphics widgets for me.

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