Automation reduces complexity faster than UI design


A quote from Daniel Rosenberg, VP of development for usability and interface design at Oracle Corporation:

“Automation reduces complexity faster and in larger increments than UI design. For example, after home networks got automated (DHCP), the average person can set it up now.”

From: Seven Myths of Usability ROI

I really like this quote; it points to how valuable it is to look at the big picture when developing Web interfaces and services (really, any interfaces or services). I spend a fair amount of time focusing on interaction design at my day job, and it’s easy to be drawn into the tendency to try to solve problems by making the interaction or interface easier to use somewhere. However, maybe the best thing to do would be not to make the user or customer do anything, and instead just do it for them (if you know what they’re trying to do, of course).

This also reminds me a little of the quote from Alan Cooper about “No matter how good your interface is, it would be better with less”.