- 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.
- A non-consistent mental model increases memory load and makes learning difficult.
- To find any action, file, or a task, a user usually take many points and clicks.
- Though pointing and clicking seems lightning fast, but remember Fitt's Law - each point and click takes a whooping 1 to 1.5 seconds!
- 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.
- 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.
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.