Designing products without pixels

Where did this book come from?

My entire career has been dedicated to the research and design of great user experiences for complex software. Over the last 3 years I’ve seen more of my time focussed on GUI-less software products like @flywayDb and @spawn_db.

Applying the pricinples of user experience design to command-line tools is hard. Why?

Little did more to expand the adoption of computers than the graphical-user interface (GUI). By their nature, GUIs almost immediately explain how a system works: “Click this button”. The same is not true for products where there is no GUI.

Designers of text-based interfeaces – like command-line interface (CLI) products, for example – have to work harder to help users build a mental model of how the software works.

The popularity of CLIs as the primary interface is growing rapidly, driven by the desire for automation, OS/Cloud platform agnosticism, and a flexibility from using multiple lightweight pieces of software in combination.

Interaction designers, usability specialised and even developers need to learn how to apply the eprinciples of good design to these products.