DonnaM » Blog Archive » Designing for invisibility

Designing for invisibility

I had an interesting conversation today. I suspect this is not new (I even suspect that some of it may have come from Allan Cooper)

One of the things that is odd about the software development process is focus. When we are designing, and probably more so when we are developing (I’m a designer, not a developer), the thing we are working on is the focus of our lives for a period of time. We think about it endlessly and take it to heart when someone can’t work it, doesn’t understand it or criticises it.

But on the other end (the user end), the thing that we create is just one more thing that is part of their job (and their job is amazingly different to ours). In most of the applications I have worked on recently, what I really need to do is make them as invisible as possible to the user – so they get in, do what they need to do, and get out, almost without thought.

This is a very challenging thing to do – design something that is intensely important to us, but intensely uninteresting to the user…

One Response to “Designing for invisibility”

  1. David Krieger Says:

    In my work as a developer, I have noted another common disconnect between users and developers: Developers tend to value generalization – discovering and implementing general routines that address common pieces of many different scenarios. On the other hand, users always think in terms of the specific – the specific tasks they need in order to accomplish their work. As I reflect on this a little more, it seems a slightly different perspective on your original observation.