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.