Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Effect of a Beautiful UI

I blog from my Android device, sometimes. Because of that, I've tried several blogging clients over the time. Currently, I'm trying BlogPost, which seems very promising and is rich in features.

But, while surfing through different apps in the Play Store (I don't like the new name, btw), I came across the newly updated WordPress app, with its newly designed interface. To be frank, the new interface is stunning, to the extent that I was evaluating my options for moving my blog from blogsopt/blogger to WordPress!!

This idea, in itself, got me wondering: could a beautifully designed user interface be enough to push the user from one service provider to another? to sacrifice some of the features, and the comfort of being "used to" something? Would a user be willing to actually abandon a service he trust to, at least, try a new service?

The idea in itself feels both very possible, and scary. Very possible, because I've experienced the effect of the user interface design in the mentioned example, and was really (and still am) evaluating my options now. But it is also scary, for the programmer-side of me, as this means a nicely designed interface could take my users away (I'm not a very good UI designer).

Another example struck me, also from the Android world, as I recall how I found two brilliant pieces of software: AnyDo and Taskos. Both apps do almost exactly the same thing, they both have almost the same icon, a white "check" mark on a light blue background and they almost have the same screens.

At 750KB, Taskos seemed to be the better choice, vs. over 5MB for AnyDo. It gets the job done, in the same mechanism as its competitor, with the same features. But on my phone now, resides an installed copy of AnyDo, not Taskos. AnyDo, despite being larger in size and a resources-hungry app, has a much beautifully designed UI than Taskos. I'm serious. The difference is huge. To be frank here, I doubted that AnyDo developer used Taskos source code, and polished the UI a bit, judging by how almost identical the apps are.

The bottom line is ... I need to start making friends UI designers!

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