driving potential users away, and a large part of that has to do with the design.Anyone who has been using Facebook for a few years knows that even minor changes to an interface design can cause a wide variety of reactions from a loyal user base. When the popular social network has made design tweaks in the past, there is always some portion of their users that are upset, if not enraged, by the changes made. A couple of weeks ago, we told you how your registration process could be
These days, the look and feel of a website or product is just as important as the features that it provides. One product with one of the hottest new interfaces available is the new Boxee Beta software which allows for streamlined local and Web media viewing. Whitney Hess is the user experience (UX) designer behind the framework of the Boxee interface, and recently on her blog Pleasure and Pain she described the systematic process she went through to design it.
When Boxee hired Hess to overhaul their UX, she began by interviewing eleven people, some of which were current users of the software, and others who weren't. She asked them a variety of questions about their use of multimedia, including "Have you ever played music at a party you were hosting?" and "Have you ever displayed your photos on your TV?" among several others. Hess then held usability tests with five participants and gauged how they navigated around the software when asked to complete a series of tasks.
From this process, Hess was able to uncover what current users needed to make their experience better while at the same time discovering what potential users would find attractive. Her work led to the inclusion of several UX features and her wireframe submissions certainly influenced the final UI's look and feel. The screenshot below demonstrates how the final design compared to her wireframe shown above.
"Overall, we wanted to provide users with greater ability to discover content across sources, easier ways to sort and ?lter lists, and quick access to their favorite programming," writes Hess on her blog.
Boxee's set-top product, aptly named the Boxee Box, was one of the most popular new products at this year's Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month. One of its most distinguishing characteristics is its beautiful interface design, which was raved about by reviewers on blogs and in the press. The design owes its positive reception to the framework it sits on, a product of Hess's systematic approach to the redesign.
"As more and more living rooms borrow content from the Internet, they're going to have to borrow the web's focus on user experience as well," Andrew Kippen, Boxee's VP of marketing, told ReadWriteWeb. "Websites rise and fall based not only on the content but also on the experience they provide, soon connected TVs, BluRay players, and Set Top Boxes will do the same."