The Login Screen

While working on a project that involves revamp of the user interface due to migration to a new front end technology, I happened to have a few difference of opinion on certain aspects of our todo items with the product manager.

The product manager has a valid problem that he needs to solve, adoption! The application has very less user adoption due to it’s seemingly difficult to learn and use dimension.

It so happens that I joined this project to only address two screens, which when I analysed was supposed to be a catalog pattern. The product being acquired from a startup in the early phase of Adobe’s Flex platform wave, naturally the team that build this product tried to showcase the ability of Flex / Flash and they failed to keep the user in the heart of the design. The catalog pattern had plenty of tiles which tried to have fancy animations while sorting, filtering and for finding a workflow object which had very few graphic elements to justify the tile design, it failed to hit the right chords.

Having to redesign this application the other suggestion from the product manager is to use a highly photograph oriented login screen to make a first impression to the user to increase adoption. Here is were I really feel that enterprise companies trying to revamp user interfaces of their applications that target productivity should stay clear from this dangerous trap.

Why? Think of the user! He or she is there to use your product to either do a mundane task or trying to address a critical work which needs more focus. Trying to give a fancy login screen is like trying to impress a beautiful girl on a date with borrowed orange suite, green pants and white shoes. Yes! Definitely you have caught her attention, but is that impression going to last when she enters your car, home, the restaurant you are about to take her to?

I call this the “Flashy Reception”, great impression at first but mundane insides. This gives a feeling of deception, that leads to a destroyed trust factor for the user.

Now comes my view on the problems, I feel we need to address two issues here.

1. Consistently simple, subtly delightful and highly productive user interface design guidelines should be followed.

2. Honesty, trustworthiness and efficiency are few of the values that should be projected to the user through the product interface.

Keeping in mind the above two points, I think the design of these applications should be approached with elements that resonate

1.Simplicity

2.Subtleness

3.Non obtrusiveness

4.Clarity

And having said that, let me get cracking at the design.