Linked by David Adams on Wed 24th May 2006 04:08 UTC
Editorial It's conventional wisdom that computers need to be "easier to use." But do they? More reliable, yes. Easier to troubleshoot, yes. But now that so many people use computers so much, I think there's something to be said for making them less easy-to-use and less intuitive.
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Confusion reigns
by Cloudy on Wed 24th May 2006 17:20 UTC
Cloudy
Member since:
2006-02-15

The author is not, despite the title, arguing for making computers "more difficult". He is, rather, confusing, as many people before him have, ease of learning with ease of use.

It's what Apple missed when they reimplemented the Xerox interfaces on the Mac. Originally, they missed it because they didn't have room for it, but once left out, it got lost, and is only slowly being restored.

The features of any system that are easiest to use change for you as you practice with the system. The casual user needs features that are low on the learning curve, so that they don't have to invest much effort in learning them to do the samll amount of work they intend to do. The serious user needs features that streamline their workflow, but the law of requisite complexity guarentees that these features will be difficult to learn.

The trick is to apply both. Modern GUIs come along way towards that by having keyboard shortcuts and intelligent context based menus, but they fall short by not having reasonable scripting.

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