The Botched Interface Market

Scott Adams of Dilbert fame talked about something he called the botched interface market. Basically, it’s when a site or technology with a poor interface leaves an opening in the market for some contender to come in and replicate the functionality with a much better interface. That’s how Hipmunk came in and made travel companies like Orbtiz and Travelocity scramble to redesign their websites. In retrospect it seems obvious… the interface IS the software, after all.

There are a lot of botched interfaces out there. Have you ever caught yourself thinking, “Man, I wish Apple designed a microwave?” That’s a botched interface. Personally, I see a ton of opportunity in B2B software… the category that user experience forgot. Seriously. Have you ever had a pleasant experience filling out an online expense report? What about completing a timesheet or using an enterprise CMS? See what I mean?

The twist is that, to some degree, every interface is botched. Even good interfaces live in blissful ignorance of the fact that a better one is possible, even if it only exists in it’s platonic form, waiting to be created. At any moment, somebody else could sneak up on you and start eating marketshare.

Better to never get comfortable.