Monday, May 23, 2011

Focus, Focus, Focus

If you want to get someone's attention, you have to get their focus. There are two ways to do this:
  1. Figure out what they are currently focusing on and step in front.
  2. Wave your hands and holler until they shift their focus to you.
In the world of web design, some designers employ Flash or other motion techniques as method 2. Not a good idea--this blog is not about that.

I love my email client and I am loathe to use them as a negative example, but they really blow it on method 1 when it comes to adding new contacts. Although I remember each time I go to do it that it does something weird, every time I'm left helpless and frustrated for two minutes until I relearn it. See if you can figure it out:

There is a New contact button way over in the left-hand navigation section. As Norm McDonald would say, "Wait..what??!!" Why is it in a navigation section and why is it out of my field of focus? I would have put it with the other buttons at the top of the Contacts working panel.

Speaking of focus, I once did an illustration where I showed a user focusing on a screen--it looked something like this:
Everyone told me I had the arrow going the wrong way. Interesting that we think of vision and focus as something we project outward into the environment, as opposed to a filtered taking in of stimuli from the environment.

Addendum: After giving it some thought, I thought this might be the more accurate illustration:


Locke_NA said...

Interesting post. An optician once told me: Unless blind, everyone is born with vision. Seeing, however, is a learned behavior. Enter the filtres.

Anonymous said...

Oddly enough, I have the exact same problem with gmail's "compose mail" button. I have to search for it every time I want to create a new e-mail.