Technology Language and the User Interface


technology language and user interface

My friend the social worker came over. We talked briefly about the case management system they are being asked to use, to increase auditability in the wake of the high-impact UK news events of the past year. Their trainer was asked how they search the system for a particular name, case number, etc. "Right here", they were told, by using this button marked 'Focus'.

Still a bit more work to do for the UX community...

But it is more than just lazy user interface design. Sometimes, an intractable problem or situation finally gets summarised into a neat phrase or label. It is tempting to use it, and force the reader to find out what it means. My example from this week: "Non-Repudiation". You design a content management system with an eye on legal discovery and auditability, and then you have to summarize the whole "they can't deny it" thing in a single phrase or UI command. It would be cool to discover the rule(s) that decide when it's better to make the reader learn the phrase, when it's better to paraphrase it back, and when to sidestep the whole thing and invent a new verb like "google" or "twitter".

Tags: Document Control, User Experience

Paul Walsh

Written by Paul Walsh

Paul Walsh was one of the founders of Cognidox. After a period as an academic working in user experience (UX) research, Paul started a 25-year career in software development. He's worked for multinational telecom companies (Nortel), two $1B Cambridge companies (Ionica, Virata), and co-founded a couple of startup companies. His experience includes network management software, embedded software on silicon, enterprise software, and cloud computing.