Have you ever been out walking somewhere and noticed that despite the presence of carefully constructed paths, there are worn trails on the grass? These are where people decide that they want to take control of their own journeys in the way that best suits them?
It’s a common phenomenon and planners could learn a lot from holding back on the creation of ‘official’ pathways and seeing what natural paths are worn by the feet of those crossing the ground.
Well, it’s the same in the development of effective user interfaces. Rather than dictate to users how they should interact with a piece of software, we can use rapid prototyping techniques to help evolve a user interface from the actual ‘natural’ way that users want to interact with a system.
This can’t easily be done using conventional waterfall development techniques
and is something which plays to the strengths of software prototyping.
Maybe your system could benefit from a bit of user-led path formation…