Holly Sphar
Interaction and Interface Design


Analysis of Adding Simple Message

Rules to Outlook Express


Today, many computer applications’ interfaces are not always created for optimal, most efficient, or even necessarily easy use. Software and website developers often feel pressured to outdo their competitors by giving the most possible functionality to their product. Sometimes the new abilities granted to the application are helpful or even necessary. In many cases, though, added features only serve to clutter and complicate the interface and apparent affordances.

A good example of an obfuscated application interface can be found in virtually any Microsoft product, both those found on the web and desktop. Since early on in their “rise to power,” they believed that the way to make a good product was to include everything possible feature that every different user wanted. The result of this tendency toward feature bloat has been overcomplicated interfaces in front of frustrated users.

For this analysis report I have chosen one fairly common task, adding a message rule, from the application, Outlook Express, to attempt to improve its efficiency of use time-wise and its overall heuristic usability.

The next page shows the steps involved in the current add-rule task model. next>>





Current version

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Improvement 1

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Improvement 2

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