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One step design

There has been more and more products that have started using what I call "One step design." Products like Apple's iPod, Tivo, Google and others have begun using this approach to make complex tasks simple. One step design boils down to having only one particular thing that you can do on any page of the user interface. The approach allows you to drill down to deeper pages getting more and more specific about what you can do. The advantages of this type of design is that users who view these designs read the interface in a linear way, just like a book. They start from the top, read the title and fill in or select items as they read down the page. If users get lost or confused they can back up a level or all the way to the top.

Compare this to many modal interface designs where you have many nouns/verbs/dialog and property sheets. The user has to understand the cognitive map of the interface and then connect their mental desires to the appropriate properties and dialogs.

Task centric one step design is here to stay and you will begin to see a lot more of it in cell phone UI, car stereo UI and other interfaces with single purpose functionality.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.