One of my favorite features in Visual Studio 2005 is the refactoring tools. Today while creating a class I was using the encapsulate field refactoring to expose fields as properties when it occurred to me how annoying it is to have Visual Studio repeatedly open a dialog to ask me how I want to name the property that I am encapsulating the field with. This is annoying because I use a naming convention that insures that the default behavior provides the proper name.
Of course this is a trivial example, and the dialog serves a useful function initially but to the power user it provides an annoying distraction. The User Experience designer needs to provide a way to take the training wheels off once you get used to something like this. Perhaps a checkbox like “Don’t show this dialog next time” (and some way to get the dialog back if you want it).
We need to recognize that once someone becomes familiar with a task, those pretty little dialogs and wizards that were so comforting the first few times now become a source of annoyance. When evaluating the user experience you should have at least one persona that represents the power user of your application. As you design the interaction think “What would Pam the power user think of this experience?”
For more on user experience design – be sure to check out the ARCast with seek.com.au.