Defensive Design for the Web: How To Improve Error Messages, Help, Forms, and Other Crisis Points
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Question: Why are most web apps designed to put the focus on viewing data first and entering data second? From my own personal experience, and I’m just speaking for myself here, I end up entering data more often than I read it. Even with something like Basecamp I find myself typing a lot more than reading, yet the UI is definitely focused more on reading.
Lately I’ve really started to notice how much of a pain it is to get something into an interface. From content management apps to online trading apps to online banking apps, you almost always have to pass through the viewing UI first before getting to the entering UI. There’s a lot of viewing before there’s a lot of typing.
For example, with a popular content management app I’ve used I’ve had to log in → new screen → pick an object → new screen → click the link to add a new item → new screen → then enter the data. Why can’t I just enter the data first and then decide where to put it? If I have an idea, let me get the idea down first and then figure out where it fits best. Let me create the content then file it instead of filing it first before it’s even created.
On the desktop software side it’s mostly about entering. A word processor starts with a blank slate. You write and then you save (and figure out where to put it). Photoshop starts in “work mode” — not in a mode where you first look at all the stuff you’ve already designed and then decide to design something new.
This is more of an open observation — I’m not sure anything should change, but it’s worth thinking about. Care to share any thoughts of your own?