I used to ride a scooter around New York City. I had a few close calls with drivers, but never had an accident, knock wood. There was one phrase that always played over in my head in moments of stress that I think might’ve actually saved my life.
Ride like you’re invisible, and everybody else is drunk.
It occurred to me in the shower this morning that this couuld apply to designing websites and apps, and user interfaces, just as well.
The best UI’s are invisible. If you’re website or app interface is designed well, no one is thinking about it. They’re intuitive. Your buttons are placed where people expect them. Menu items make sense. Your visitors, your customers, accomplish whatever they need to accomplish without frustration.
Treat your visitors like they’re drunk. Be obvious. You’ve spent hours agonizing over ever pixel on your website or app. It’s the epitome of clean, flat, beautiful and every other UI buzzword. But is it too subtle? If a distracted, hurried, harried customer needed to find your phone number, could they? Is your newsletter sign-up form buried at the bottom of your footer, or do you put it front of them with a modal popup?
Inspiration and rules of thumb come from anywhere. These couple of spot checks helped me make my own websites better. What’s your favorite uncommon inspiration?