All or nothing


When looking at how different people design the same type of interface, I’m usually surprised to see certain elements that all the designs have in common — especially when those elements are of little value to users. Take the “Play all” option that you see in DVD menus. Have you ever used this? Who watches four or six or eight episodes of something in one sitting? It makes me think that the people who design these interfaces have never watched a DVD themselves. Or perhaps they’re just afraid of causing a stir by taking the feature out, since it’s so common on existing DVD.

If you suspect that these types of elements are tagging along in your own products, maybe it’s time to ask your customers if they ever use them. Better yet, watch how those customers use the product, since what people say often varies from what they do. And once you confirm which features are dead weight, cut them out and make room for something that’s actually useful.