The below post has absolutely nothing to do with mathematics but it’s my blog so I can post whatever I want 🙂
So you’ve got this great business application. It has all the the greatest features, it does everything but clean the house.
The only problem is it’s way too complicated for your poor users to figure out. It has twenty different tabs just to change an email address. This is where good user interface design can make the difference between a successful application and one that your users (if you have any) absolutely despise.
One of the principles of UI design is to not give users too many choices. This comes from the
Paradox of Choice. Thus as designers we need to ensure that the user does not consciously make choices. One way to do this is to limit the number of choices for the user based on the context (typically the page they are currently at). The below image from Picasa Web Albums illustrates this by not allowing users to click on the current tab.
In the below example from Golden1’s website you can’t even tell which tab is currently selected.
A great example of reducing choice to improve the user experience is Gnome vs. KDE (which has configurations up the wazoo).
This is just one small example of what goes into UI design. For more info see http://ometer.com/free-software-ui.html, http://www.joelonsoftware.com/uibook/chapters/fog0000000057.html, etc.