Fixing Blender - Part 2: Going Deeper

Picking up where we left off in Part 1, this video tackles the concepts of Feedback, Recovery from Errors, Simplicity and Goal Oriented.

In a nutshell...

#5 Feedback

Feedback is acknowledging users actions and letting them know when the program is busy.

Research finds Feedback the #1 influence on user satisfaction

Feedback Deadlines:

  1. Button clicks must be acknowledged within 0.1 seconds
  2. Moving and Resizing can't lag behind cursor for more than 0.1 seconds
  3. Busy Indicator: Any system delay over 1 second must display hourglass cursor
  4. Progress Bar: Any system delay longer than 3 should display a progress bar
Fundamental Response Guidelines

Fundamental Response Guidelines

#6 Recovery from Errors

The ability to reverse mistakes, and recover crashed data.

Ctrl+Z: Works pretty well in Blender, although it's mode specific resulting in sometimes reversing data made in a different mode.

Crash Recovery: Although it exists, could be implemented better with a dialogue on reopening.

Mockup of a Crash Recovery dialogue box

Mockup of a Crash Recovery dialogue box

#7 Simplicity

Can be broken down into 4 sub-categories:

  1. Hierarchy: Arranging functions so most used functions are most visible.
  2. Structure: Principles of Proximity and Similarity- Separating unrelated functions, make relatable functions look similar.
  3. Design: Clear representation of what's on screen, with larger text and more contrasting wireframes.
  4. Vocabulary: Avoiding Jargon wherever possible. Making tooltips simpler, and in plain english.
Making wireframes white increases visibility

Making wireframes white increases visibility

#8 Goal Orientated

Software must be designed with the users goals and intentions in mind.

Studies find that users pay very little attention to software functionality that does not lead them to their goal.

All users must cross what cognitive psychologists call the "gulf of execution" to achieve their goal.

  • Good interface = Shallow gulf, easy to cross
  • Bad interface = Deep gulf, difficult to cross
The “gulf of execution”. What all users must cross to reach their goal.

The “gulf of execution”. What all users must cross to reach their goal.

By better adhering to all the principles of:

  1. Consistency
  2. Familiarity
  3. Recognition over Recall
  4. Error Prevention
  5. Feedback
  6. Recovery from Errors
  7. Simplicity
  8. Goal Orientation

We can make Blender easier to use for not just beginner's but experienced users too.

Don't forget to complete the Interface Survey Part 2!

In two weeks I'll be posting my Full Interface Proposal for how to tackle these issues. Stay tuned!

Thought piecesAndrew Price