Interface is evil

16th April, 2011



Professional user interface designers don't want you to know that interface is evil. They’d rather take it to their graves that interfaces decrease their clients' profits.

By design, any interface is a bottleneck that limits overall system's efficiency. Interface steals system's energy, speed, bandwidth, audience, time and money. The least efficient kind of interface is human. Unlike hardware and software interfaces, the human interface gives infinite possibilities to human decision and error.

And although deinterfacing is a complicated and expensive process, it makes the system way more efficient.

Here’s a simple example: mandatory signup for online stores. Before a client places his order, he has to supply a username and make up a secure password; then verify his e-mail address, as if making excuses to the system. These actions are meaningless to the user; they delay the purchase, filter out less-experienced and less-motivated online shoppers, reduce the store's profits.

An efficient online store just sells:

Mandatory signup is like the King Oedipus’s Sphinx: she asks the riddle and kills all that fail to solve it. She was a trending topic in the ancient times, but now she seems really outdated.

Mobile phone operators don’t offer their subscribers a “Buy minutes” nor “Buy SMS” button. When subscribers don’t need to make a decision to buy every time, they make more calls and send more texts. They buy without the interface of buying:

To make it less obvious that the subscribers pay all the time, the operators don’t show their balance on the screen by default. This is an example of how improving the interface would make the system less efficient.

On the Russian version of our site, contributors don’t sign up to post to The Soviets or @Design Dog blogs. They enter their e-mail addresses where we send followup comments, and since users want that, they have no incentive to feed us fake addresses. Once a post gets approved by the Bureau moderators, the system automatically creates a personal user page listing his publications.

User interfaces decrease overall system efficiency, that’s why our design bureau strives to get rid of them without compromising functionality. We develop new service scenarios and eliminate obstacles between the goods and the buyers, between vendors and their clients’ money.

Once registered, users purchase the iTunes and Appstore content in one or two clicks. Apple draws the money and bills them automatically.