Over at Joel on Software, Joel delivers a sound slapping to the designers of the new Windows Vista who have managed to give the user a mind-numbing 15 options when trying to figure out how to switch off their computer.

This confusing set of possibilities is driven by trying to offer too many options/choices in a effort to please everyone rather than proving a simple yet functional interface. What this, or any other interface needs, is a simple and direct way to access necessary functionality.

It boils down to a matter of usability being a factor in your design. Ask yourself some fundamental usability questions. I could reinvent them, but the guys at 37signals have done the work for me in their book Getting Real – the faster, smarter, easier way to build a successful web application. Read Chapter 9 – Interface Design for their thoughts on the issue.

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