nicolas leroy

User experience design is NOT user interface design

July 17, 2009

An interesting article on the eConsultancy blog: “six rousing user experience presentations”. The first one is about the “10 most common misconceptions about user experience design”, whose number 1 is, according to the author:

User experience design is NOT user interface design

A good example to illustrate this statement: Microsoft has recently released Silverlight3, the new version of its competitor to Adobe Flash. While reading the news about this new version, I found a new Twitter client running on it… Perfect to test this new platform…

I tried installing the Silverlight3 plug-in on Google Chrome, my default browser; and got the following message:

This Web browser or operating system may not be compatible with Silverlight. Please review the system requirements and, if you wish to proceed, choose the link for your operating system.

Quite disappointed; but fair enough, Chrome still represents a very low percentage of the browser market, and is not listed in the system requirements for Silverlight3… Let’s try on Internet Explorer 8 running on Windows 7 RC (this combination being listed in Silverlight3 system requirements). I launched IE8, copied/pasted the URL from Chome to IE8 (‘http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/get-started/install/); I got the same error message:

This Web browser or operating system may not be compatible with Silverlight. Please review the system requirements and, if you wish to proceed, choose the link for your operating system.

Weird… Ok… I’m going to Silverlight homepage, and click on the “install plug-in” link from there. Now here’s the message I got:

Microsoft Silverlight cannot be used in browsers running in 64 bit mode. This Web browser or operating system may not be compatible with Silverlight. Please review the system requirements and, if you wish to proceed, choose the link for your operating system.

Ok, Internet Explorer 8 32-bits edition is installed on Windows 7… I tried again for the 4th time, now I got it installed.

Even if I succeeded installing Silverlight3 in the end, in terms of user experience, this is disastrous:

No matter how great this piece of software is, the first contact with it was so frustrating that I don’t feel appealed by it at all. You see, “user experience design is NOT user interface design”.

PS: in the end, this Twitter client running on Silverlight3 is nice, but not better than TweetDeck running on Flash…