If It Needs Instructions, It Doesn't Work

The length of your instructional text is almost always inversely proportionate to the usability of your product. Unfortunately, I’ve been saying this for so long that I can’t remember if I stole the idea, modified the idea, or came up with it all on my own. Regardless, I don’t want credit for the idea. I just like it so much that I wanted to share it.

I’m not talking about basic text for explaining business concepts. I’m talking about having to explain to people how your interface works. Whether it’s a VCR, iPod, code, web site, or web application, if the product’s interface needs extensive explanation, there’s probably something wrong.