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Tabblo User Interface Review View live site    

Working with Revenution, I had a chance to test a pre-release version of HP's Tabblo in order to put together a usability review and make recommendations about how to improve it. The review was split into four sections:

  • Registration
  • Uploading
  • Creating
  • Power Users

The "Power Users" section was a response to HP's question of whether it made sense to create a version for regular users. I suggested the existing Tabblo interface could serve as that interface, with the main interface becoming a wizard-like process that walked users through the steps involved in completing a project. I also disclosed my personal bias that I feel in most cases breaking an application into two interfaces, one for "power users" and one for "regular users" suggests a broken interface, poor workflow or an application that doesn't know what it is doing. Applications that have power users (and may need to include an alternate interface for them) are applications people live in: word processors, spreadsheets, development environments. If you use something for hours every day, there's value in finding ways to shave seconds out of a task. But few applications are lived in; most would be better served by streamlining their primary interface and dropping the alternatives. In The Inmates Are Running the Asylum, Alan Cooper compares power users to those suffering from Stockholm Syndrome: they so need to use the application they learn how to use it in spite of itself. 

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