Importance of Interface Design

Recently, MerlinOne embarked on some modest “tweaks” to our easy-to-use WebMaster client for our Digital Asset Management solution. 

image of MerlinOne Webmaster secret feature in the MerlinOne Digital Asset Management Portal

New Merlin Webmaster “secret” feature.

I am not quite ready to reveal the updates we did, but I am excited about them.

As we discussed the new features and modest changes to the interface internally, I thought about interface design, and how muscle memory becomes an important part of our daily lives and workflows.

I recently had to travel out of the country and I am loath to carry a lot of cash or use the moneychangers at aiports, so I always avail myself of local ATM machines once I have arrived at my destination. I have never had a problem, despite Europe’s predominent use of so-called “chip and pin” cards. Once, many years go in Santiago, despite some momentary panic when every ATM I sought out was closed…I later figured out they close on Sunday mornings. That is the closest thing I have had to an ATM meltdown.  So I have always been successful in getting local currency. On this most recent trip, the ATM machine I selected did not have an option to proceed in English, at least I did not find it, but I was able to enter my pin, make my withdrawal and retrieve my receipt. Other than the quick calculation of the dollar equivalent I was withdrawing, the transaction required no more effort than usual. This was all because of my expectations of the interface and those I have used before.

Just like Merlin WebMaster, though the interface has changed over time, it continues to be familiar and easy to use. New features have been added, and they appear in expected places.  Even new features, like our “Featured Content” page have been added in such a way as to appear that they have always been part of our overal design from the beginning. Oh, I just gave away a new feature. Shhhhh.

We moved a few things around based on customer comments, made the large thumb even larger, and yet we made more efficient use of screen real estate. Though monitors have indeed gotten larger, they have not always grown in the vertical direction. We added several new features, and improved the overall visual experience, but we still keep the familiar, something I think is important.

I expect even more changes in both our clients (Merlin M5 and WebMaster) during the coming year so stay tuned. And of course, we will keep it familiar. Keep on the lookout for a Merlin Users Group Meeting near the end of March.

Posted by David Breslauer

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