Lazy User Interfaces on the Web.

User interface has a lot more to do with how something looks. It isn’t just about gradients and colors and text choices and how the photo-feed is laid out. THose things are actually unimportant compared to how the site or product actually WORKS, that is to say how the user interacts with the product.

Is the interaction smooth? Is it intuitive? Does it make sense? Does it waste time? Is everything included essential or is some of it wasteful?

I buy a lot of things online in the course of running my business. I typically place 5-10 online orders a day. Some vendors get more of our business simply because they make ordering online easier. And some vendors lose our business because they seem to pull out all the stops in making ordering online a major league pain in the ass.

One of our vendors has a checkout form that requires the user to select the country where the product is being shipped. Fair enough. But the dropdown menu has no default selection and is in Alphabetical order. So the first choice is Afghanistan followed by every other country out there. You have to scroll all the way down to “U” for “United States of America.” I’m not going out on limb to say that there is a zero percent chance they have ever shipped something to Afghanistan. In fact, I’d bet that this company (Avnet Electronics) has not ever shipped to 90% of the countries on the list. So why does the country drop-down menu at checkout include all of these choices?

BECAUSE THE WEBMASTER IS LAZY.

He took a plugin from someone else’s library (or simply plugged in a pre-built checkout solution) and never thought of it again. Is it a big deal? Not really. But fixing the default to be USA or putting USA at the top of the list like Future Electronics does would be a significant improvement. And it would be easy to do if the person cared at all.

Don’t be lazy when you design something. Whether you are designing a piece of software, a piece of sheet metal, a company presentation, or a child’s birthday cake, being lazy is the worst thing you can do because it tells people around you, “Hey look at me… I don’t care enough to do a good job!”

Don’t be that guy.

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