Users judge your service by its interface

Sometimes it feels like I’m stating the obvious. But the fact that users only care about the interface of the service is something we often say, but seldom understand.

If this is true, how can we think that we can develop the interface as an after though to the central system.

Not all your users might be human. And the computerized users are treated even worse.

If the non-human users also care about the interface, how do we think that they will be satisfied with the same interface that is used internally between different parts of the application? These interfaces are the scraps of the service table.

If this is true, why do so many system diagrams display the “service” layer for external users below the user interface layer. It should be next to the human user interface layer, shouldn’t it?

External programmatic interfaces, whether they be SOAP, REST or otherwise, must be treated as any other user interface. This means both to understand the needs of the non-human users and to only develop parts of the service interface that are needed now.

Any user interface expert will tell you: There are no taking-backs with user interfaces. Once you’ve given something to the user, they will react very negative to substantial changes. The non-human user is even more unforgiving. Yet, the scraps of the system internals that we give them will be even more necessary to change.

If the users judge your service by its interface, we should only give non-human users interfaces that are developed based on their requirements, and that we don’t mind never getting to change.

Copyright © 2008 Johannes Brodwall. All Rights Reserved.

About Johannes Brodwall

Johannes is Principal Software Engineer in SopraSteria. In his spare time he likes to coach teams and developers on better coding, collaboration, planning and product understanding.
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  • Gunnar

    I agree. The machines are coming. Bad interfaces will piss them off. We should treat them well.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_sing

  • http://www.brodwall.com/johannes/blog/ jhannes

    I for one welcome our new machine overlords.

  • http://www.johannesbrodwall.com/ Johannes Brodwall

    I for one welcome our new machine overlords.