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Great UI - Introduction

In our world we interact with computers of all forms multiple times every day. Texting with our mobiles, getting money from the ATM and most of all: Using all the software on our computers at home and at work. Inside these devices can be quite complex. Difficile. Intricate. Today, Everybody is supposed to be able to use computers. But then we haven't all have studied computer science, have we? And we shouldn't have to.

In the early days, software was about to make some operation possible at all. Printing something for yourself. Sending some data over to someone else. But this is all commodity now. Today, we really don't need some software to make commodity things complicated. Furthermore, if done well, even complicated things can become easy to do. Who would have thought in '95 that today producing your own holiday DVD complete with soundtrack and nifty menus could become so easy (I know, despite the fact, next to none in '95 knew, what a DVD is)?

So, let's pay more attention on user interfaces that are intuitive, easy to understand and enable us to do what we want and move on to more important stuff.

Interface Hall of Shame

This is not my own work, but by the guys from Isys Information Architects. I merely mirror their work, as - though it is a but outdated - it still makes for some entertaining reading. I have put together more details about this mirror on my page with notes on this mirror.

Great UI

This is my blog on user interface design that I started in 2007. In this I want to show good (seldomly) and bad (frequently) examples of user interface design.

Unfortunately, as with many other blogs out there, I don't get around to updating it as regularly as I would like.

Building Great User Interfaces is important for creating software that is a joy to work with. This blog aims for showing examples of good (seldomly) and bad (more often) UI design.


October 31st, 2010

A new home for Great UI

When I started this blog in November 2007 on, I was hoping to update it much more often then I was actually able to do it. This is certainly not because suddenly all software is perfectly usable, but is a simple consequence from my lack of time.

I am currently consolidating my different web presences, and while doing this, I decided to integrate the blog with my main homepage right here.

March 5th, 2008

Saving developer time, maximizing user confusion

2001 must have been a busy year in Redmond. Apparently, everyone at Microsoft had a lot to do: New features, new products, you name it. In fact, they had so much to do that the developers thought "how can we save some time at implementing all the stuff we want to put into Internet Explorer 6?" Introducing a strict rendering mode? Certainly a good idea, but not much time to save there. Fixing old rendering bugs? Nah, wasn’t part of the project map to begin with. But what about the user options? Ah, we are getting closer.

January 25th, 2008

A foul Apple

The cliché is well known: Apple makes great computers and great software. Sleak, elegant, easy to use. And being a Mac fan myself I have to say: the cliché is well deserved.

But let he who is without fault ... - even Apple sometimes does it all wrong. Like with Leopard (MacOS X 10.5). Sure, its all great. Time Machine is an eye opener in the world of backup, the cover flow in the finder finally not only comes to par with XP but actually overtakes is directly. All nice and dandy.

Problem is: Back in Cupertino they seem to like to redo things from time to time just because they can.

December 5th, 2007

Word will wait, till no one answers

Since the days of the Interface Hall of Shame in 2000, software has - mostly unexpectedly - evolved into something much better than we used to encounter. The very big mistakes are gone, the most annoying errors have been acknowledged and fixed and you find really really bad software much less often than in the late nineties.

However, things aren't perfect, yet. Problems have often moved up one level from "ugly and unusable" to "not very well thought out". As an example, I give you a screenshot from Microsoft Word 2003.

November 9th, 2007

The G is for "Great"

What is this blog about? Read more about it in this introduction.

About me

Why this blog? Because I want to share insights (and frustration) which I encounter during my work as an IT manager. I work for DB Systel, the ICT service provider for Deutsche Bahn AG, the biggest railway company in Germany and one of the major global logistics players.