ADD — aka Attention Deficit Disorder — is, some say, an altogether too common ailment in today’s society, at least in the U.S. While I certainly don’t intend to debate that issue, a recent experience got me to thinking about how children with ADD do and will grow up to be computer application users. These thoughts in turn had me thinking once again about application interface design and user needs.
Much is written about interface design. For years we’ve worked hard to provide intuitive “user-friendly” interfaces for our applications. Much has been written about visual presentation, and many options for changes to the visual presentation such as “skinning” have been introduced.
Perhaps, however, the most important of all the considerations for an application should be the application response time. I’m not aware of any user who doesn’t get impatient with poor response – defined here as a response time meeting their personal expectation! As more and more users (ADD or otherwise) become frustrated with either speed issues OR for some, the cluttered screen, it seems imperative that we as developers be constantly on the alert for signs of this frustration brewing. My experience would indicate that most computer applications used in a business environment are not being used by “computer” users, but rather by users who understand the task or job they are required to do, and (in some case, regrettably) must use the “computer” to accomplish the task.
Application design is no trivial task!