An interface will always be something between us as humans, and our final goal. We are not free of the "man in the middle." Depending on how the interface of a website is built, it can considerably delay the completion of the desired task, and ultimately frustrate the person using it.
The good news is that this negative aspect of interfaces can be reduced, even eliminated if we need to account for the human component if the interface understanding behavioral and sensorial aspects of human beings. Bypassing the human component will only alienate the user and make them abandon the interface..
The human component consists of the following key elements to building an interface which should always be taken into account:
One of the oldest ways of communication which never gets old, written language has always been and always will be one of our primary interaction tools. The language used in interfaces must be done in laymen terms so there is no misunderstanding. We are not talking about technical conversations or content, but more the instructional direction and use of icons/visuals to explain how to navigate including labeling. Avoid technical terms, for example if we are building a communication app, we do use the label “Messages Portal” we simply say “Messages”. We understand and use terms to create a better experience finding commonality with a larger audience.
It's easier for us to handle something we already know. If you have previously used a bottle opener for instance, we can assume you will use it easily the next time. When we transport elements already used previously in real life for our interfaces, these associations guarantee the agility and faster understanding of what is ahead of us, even if we have not used it before.
We perform our tasks better when we are focused on them. When we have several tasks being executed at the same time, it may lower our performance. A good interface is one that has focus, it does not handle multiple tasks at the same time, nor does it add unnecessary noise which only reduce the time to complete the desired task.
When we are lost, we lose focus on the task and end up abandoning our goal. For example in a "step process," a good interface provides a clear sense of location while revealing any previous steps and next steps. For websites, good site navigation which include clear headings, breadcrumbs, highlighted navigation items all point the user to where they are in the site.
Another important role of an interface is to ensure that it will decrease the error rate instead of increasing it. This data is collected over time through user testing and research. How our site evolves over time is dependent on the feedback from the users and the fixes we make to the common mistakes made on interfaces. In some instances we need to communicate to the user if the mistake is from them, or the site.
As part of a society, sometimes, interaction with other humans through interfaces can assist in achieving the desired goal. By getting help from others through the interface, we can collaborate, compare and even complete a task more quickly than if we were doing it alone. The ease of use in the collaboration of the interface is key in the communication between devices or systems.
We do not always know exactly what we want. Providing suggestions often helps us to make decisions more easily, especially if the system or interface learns about us, and offers us content or products we like from our search behavior. In interface that provides suggestions and alternatives empowers the user to make a final decision more quickly. This also increases a stickiness factor for the user to come back and use the interface again.
One of the most prominent characteristics of the human being, is to have feelings. It's the way we perceive the world and how the world perceives us. Though it may be difficult to get a machine to express feelings in return, we can make the interfaces as sensitive as possible, expressing through colors, shapes, messaging and guidance a satisfactory result for the user, avoiding negative feelings such as anger, impatience and increasing positive feelings such as joy, happiness, and satisfaction. The user leaving with a positive experience of an interface contributes significantly to the success of an interface and the brand.
In summary, we must always remember that we are human and we are developing interfaces for other humans, not machines. If we have a clear development process where the user is the center focus, we will make more invisible interfaces, directly connecting the human to the desired goal to be accomplished.