Abstract

Researchers in HCI share a common understanding that ‗easy-to-use‘, ‗easy-to-learn‘ and ‗intuitive‘ interfaces are beneficial to users. Designing such interfaces raises challenges and often requires multiple iterations. While we are generally prompt to discard more hard-to-use interfaces and smooth out usability issues, we want to raise here the issue of their potential benefits. We describe two cases in which we observed potential benefits from introducing barriers for collaborating and communicating with others. We attempt to shed a new light on interfaces with usability ―problems‖ and how these problems may benefit system efficiency and user experience. We end with a discussion of the pros and cons of making systems harder for people to use, and how to integrate this perspective in the design process.