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Resumé Copy Writing UI Design Best Practices ( Excerpt )
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The design of an application’s user interface can determine whether or not a development effort produces a tool useful for its intended users or an unloved stack of CD's archived in your client's storage room waiting for a new vendor to make some sense of them. The UI can determine whether or not the application helps or hinders the user’s workflow; whether or not its processes make sense, and whether or not it inspires confidence. What factors account for the difference? Are they quantifiable? One can isolate the kernel of an application by noting where its code starts and where it ends. But how does one isolate that portion of the program which in part depends for its usefulness on perceptions and reactions buried deep in the subconscious mind of the average user? Let us start at the top.

The most unwieldy, most unsightly hammer ever made could still be used by most people to hammer nails. The most important thing an application can do is get the job done -- to do what it was created to do. Although front-end considerations and back-end considerations are fundamentally intertwined, their respective purposes, ultimately, are mutually exclusive. One does not pound nails with the hammer’s handle.
Lessons from Personal Computing
In the 1980’s, an upstart computer company introduced an alternative to IBM’s personal computer. It was not compatible with PC's, ran fewer applications, and was arguably inferior in every way except one: It had a graphical user interface that made it easier to use. That upstart company was Apple and its alternative to the PC and MS-DOS, the Macintosh, turned personal computing on its head, forever changing how the average user interacts with the personal computer. By the time Microsoft’s Windows platform caught up, the Mac had bitten off 12 percent of the PC market share in what everyone agreed was a stunning turn of fortune for Apple.
Lessons from The Internet
And just as the Mac revolutionized personal computing, so too, did the World Wide Web revolutionize Internet usage. The reason so many people mistakenly equate the Web with the Internet is because for most users, the Internet did not exist until the Web. But before Tim Berners-Lee gave us the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (http) in 1989, the Internet was a dry and colorless file-sharing tool used primarily by the government and universities. In this day of Yahoo and Google, who remembers Archie or Gopher searches? Why did the Web supplant virtually every other Internet protocol in terms of popularity? It permitted a graphical user interface, making it easier to use.
Effective UI has Changed Our Lives
Focusing on UI has brought the computer and the Internet to the inexpert user, exponentially increasing the number of consumers in both markets and irreversibly changing all our lives. The marriage of functionality and usability in the realm of today’s users is fundamental to their experience.
 
UI Design Best Practices ( excerpt ) by Erik Gloor
     
 
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