Monday, May 10, 2004

A tree on the left

Recently I found myself staring at another Enterprise Software Application (ESA) that uses a tree structure as primary navigation. A tree structure on the left is usually not the right choice for navigation in such applications.
  1. Typically in ESAs, the tree is composed of artifacts like actions, files, and tasks. This type of hybrid scheme is confusing as it makes it difficult for users to make a consistent mental model.
  2. A non-consistent mental model increases memory load and makes learning difficult.
  3. To find any action, file, or a task, a user usually take many points and clicks.
  4. Though pointing and clicking seems lightning fast, but remember Fitt's Law - each point and click takes a whooping 1 to 1.5 seconds!
  5. A tree structure offers poor help to find and select next logical task after completing the current one. It forces users to learn the next logical step.
  6. People use spatial memory to find artifacts on a screen. However, the tree structure does not support spatial memory - makes it harder to find artifacts. It also increases the time to find artifacts.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Starting is a single liner, to maintain is a challenge

Being an early tester of JRoller and trying to run it on Pramati Server a couple of years back was my first brush with blog "technology". Bugs ate away my enthusiasm to start. Sarit and I have been hatching plans to secretly start a Usability Jokes site - that is also in the pending basket for years! Yesterday, in his sniffer dog mode, he sent me link to Manu Sharma's blog. And here I am - all ready for my first blog. The lazy myself should write - wise men (and women!) say "publish or perish!".