« The fractal nature of UI design problems | Main | Remember to set AutoMessWithYourHead to false »

October 14, 2005



Great article.

It's a fact that some recent UIs are shifting from the "organize information in sub-menus" idea to the "show the user what he can do, pronto" one. After reading this article, it's so obvious. ;) BBOP is everywhere. ATM machines,

It makes the UI much easier to learn and use, but can't be accomplished in environments with lots of tasks (such as MS Excel, like you mentioned)

And even though WIMP is probably the best approach for those applications, we can already see a shift in the same direction in Office 12. (Not that they're the ones making the rules, but it's a tendency.)


Great article! I aurthor DVD's and I refer to BBOP as the DVD menu approach. And you are correct when you say these UI's are for those that want to complete a task and get on with what they have to do. I can't tell you how many times my wife only uses the play all button on a dvd. She never watches the extras, so she never navigates it. But I think BBOP is the way to go . Why over complicate something at first use. Also, I think that BBOP could be a good starting interface for many apps. Once the user is comfortable with the app, they should have the option to skip the BBOP interface and get to the meat.

Craig Stuntz

ISTR that back in the DOS days we called apps which looked like these "menu-driven."

Of course, that was before windows and top menus really existed.

I'm thinking of apps like PrintShop and early versions of PCTools.


I believe that Microsoft already gave these interfaces a name: wizards.


Like Cj said, these are menu-driven UIs.
They are nothing new, they've been around since at least the days of 8-bit micros.
No point in coining a new acronym, no point in examining UIs based on principles well established in the 1980s.

Dr Herbie

This concept is called an 'inductive' UI by Microsoft, and they show MS Money as an example.

I think it's a great idea for rarely-used UI tasks (like tasks performed one a month or year) there the users may forget how to perform the task between uses.

(Good blog, by the way).


Dr Herbie

OOps! You put the inductive UI into MS Money, didn't you?

I should really pay more attention ...


The comments to this entry are closed.