Sunday, February 4, 2007


The most complex part of a web-based service startup is the development process. You have to figure out the UI, among other things... While most people believe the UI will "make or break" a service, that simply isn't true most of the time. Craigslist is ugly, no question about that... But it's successful because it services a real need. On the other hand, a site with an overly complex UI can scare users away. I really like to consider the UI to be a form of art (and as we all know, forms of art can be ugly yet in demand). I like a service that has both a simple and good looking UI, while meeting a real consumer demand - Hopefully we are doing just that.

The development period is also like the "quiet period"... You build, you test, you build, you test, you tweak, you build. The "testing" and the "tweaking" are the vocal aspects where other members input their thoughts. The rest of the time, it's just keyboards punching in code.

A little stressful? Yes... But that's what a startup is all about.


Anonymous said...

The UI is very critical for the success of the project, because end users have no clue about the underlying architecture. If they find it easy to do what they want, they will come back again and again.

I have found that the best way to build a great UI is to prototype initially and then release often and early. This will get you valuable feedback that will drive the development process. Good luck with your project!

Robert said...

Yeah, I think "ease of use" often trumps aesthetics. I see a lot of sites that have an awesome looking UI, but it's so complicated to use.

We are currently prototyping... I did the hand-drawn layouts and left out any complex features - those can be implemented at a later time if the service becomes popular; no sense in doing everything at once only to find out you can't get any traction.

Tony Wright said...

Yaw, I'd echo the sentiment that the UI DOES make or break your startup.

The graphic design, on the other hand (as evidenced by the top properties on the web being ugly as hell) doesn't matter one damn bit (unless your audience is design-oriented).

Solve problems. Solve them in a way that is obvious and FAST. Don't make users think. Do your best to keep them from having to learn anything new. Everything else is noise.