Software Design For The Novice User: User Friendliness Tips

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Software Design For The Novice User: User Friendliness Tips

25 November 2015
 Categories: , Blog

While your software might have a great deal of functionality, if it fails to be user-friendly, many users will not even give it a chance. They may download the free trial, spend a few minutes exploring the features, and begin searching for another option after their frustration reaches a point that is unbearable. To prevent this, you will need to understand the fundamentals of creating user-friendly software. If your user is an expert, simply follow the industry standards for how software is developed within your particular niche. However, if your user is a novice, there are several strategies that can make your software more user-friendly.

Follow The Conventions Of The Platform

Understand the conventions of a particular platform. If you are developing for Windows, for instance, use buttons commonly used on Windows. Then, when you deploy your software for a different platform, you may need to redesign your software to meet user expectations.

Use symbols that follow software conventions. Rather than show a printed page to symbolize a printer, use an image of a printer. Pages are more often associated with commands that start a new page.

Don't Rely Too Much On Commands

Require that your user remember as little as possible. Some programs require that users learn a range of commands and button combinations to execute certain functions. It is always better to have drop-down menus as an alternative to a command so that your user will have another option. Next to the name of the option, include the key combinations to remind the user. For example, remind the user to press "Ctrl + C" when attempting to copy.

Include A Help Menu

Most applications have a help menu. Ideally, include both a built-in and online help option so customers aren't required to always be connected to the Internet. Online help resources have the advantage of allowing you to grow your documentation as you update your software or discover new problems with it. You may also choose to provide a forum in which users can post questions and assist one another when solving a problem. These forums will need to be moderated since they may provide incorrect answers or can become a haven for spam.

Guide Your User

Guide users through the process of using the application through pop-ups, tooltips and other instructions placed throughout. For example, if the program edits photos, guide your user through cropping a photo. When your software is more user-friendly, not only will you need to devote less time to customer service, but your user will be more likely to purchase the software after the free trial ends.