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"Don't Make Me Think", thoughts for Launchpad

·2 mins

I just read Don’t Make Me Think, by Steve Krug. It’s a good book. Sadly, I read it over a fairly long chunk of time so a lot of the punch has been spread out.

Here are my thoughts about how we can apply some of the ideas to Launchpad.

Tighten up our visual design
Launchpad doesn’t look too bad, I don’t think, but it could look a whole lot better.  Doing that would cover over other sins, make people more comfortable and is just the right thing to do.

Error recovery & undoability
We’re not great at this. You can’t rename teams, you can’t rename PPAs, you can’t rename branches that other branches  are stacked on. You can’t delete bug tasks. Many forms just say “Invalid value” when you enter bad input.

Keep up with the user testing
We do a fair chunk of user testing, mostly thanks to Matthew Revell. We should do it more often, and more readily.  Also, we should wave some kind of magic wand that makes it easier for developers to observe the user tests as they happen.

Home page
Make it better.

Remove more stuff
Way too often in our design discussions, we talk about adding stuff to the page: widgets, links, explanatory text. We should lean toward removing before we add. Especially with text: fewer words. Be suspicious when the solution to a usability problem is “more documentation”.

Discuss things less
Sometimes, we really do talk too much about whether a thing should be one way or it should be another.  Krug leads me to believe that most of things we agonize about aren’t actually the things that are important to users.