UI16 Spotlight: Simplifying Complex Applications with Hagan Rivers

Jared Spool

July 24th, 2011

[We’ve built this year’s User Interface 16 Conference around eight important challenges facing today’s UX Professionals. This is the first in a series of posts where I discuss my thoughts on those challenges and how I came to pick the expert who will be your guide at UI16. Enjoy! – Jared]

What happens over time with applications is a design entropy sets in. As new features are added, they are glued on top of old ones, often with slightly different interfaces. Slowly, the application starts to develop a Frankenstein look-and-feel, which hurts the users and the business.

Teams can avoid all this. Using established, well thought out, and proven user interface design patterns, teams can hedge these problems off before they become unmanageable. Even the worst applications can benefit from the careful hand of applying the best design practices.

There’s no one who knows how to deal with hedging off design entropy than Hagan Rivers. I first met Hagan back in 1995, when she was working for Netscape as one of the world’s first web application designers. Since then, she’s become a world expert in interface design, helping hundreds of teams get their application UIs under control.

I’ve had several opportunities to work with Hagan on various projects. Each time, I walk away learning new design techniquesn and feel smarter about how to tackle even the most complex hairball of an app.

Hagan probably has the biggest collection of application design examples I’ve ever seen. Everytime she delivers her workshops and presentations, she brings out these stunningly amazing sets of both good and bad examples. You can instantly see how changing a design in just a few simple steps can immediately make for a better user experience.

This year, I’ve been working with Hagan on her full-day workshop for the User Interface 16 Conference. She’s putting together a intense program, where you’ll walk through practically every type of interface element, from tables and lists, to working with trees, forms, and wizards. She’ll tackle the gnarly topics of simplifying a complex navigation scheme and creating an effective dashboard display.

Anyone who is fighting design entropy, trying to get their application’s UI under control will be riveted by this in-depth workshop. I’m so happy Hagan’s on our UI16 program and I know you’ll love her session.

See the other UI16 Spotlights:

You can catch the sneak preview of UI16 at uiconf.com. (And there’s still a few of the sneak preview $1,349 registrations left. Snag one while they are still available.)

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