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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things shouldn't be idiot proof
by maxmg on Thu 25th May 2006 08:35 UTC
maxmg
Member since:
2006-02-26

I'm glad to see that some people have come to the defence of the author. Not least because most of the detractors seem to be accusing him of wanting harder to use computers. I'd say it reads more that he'd like easier to use computers _once you know what you're doing_, and the LaTeX analogy above emobdies this perfectly. Indeed, one of the author's points was that the user should remember that meta-s invokes the save command, and what is more intuitive and simpler than 's for save'? (OK, I'm a pine user so I might not be the best judge of that anymore.)

To focus on a slightly different aspect, rather than thinking about power users: why is it that the notional computer buyer is not expected to read any manuals for their spanking new top of the range technology, technology that is incredibly powerful and could see the naive user phished, accessing dubious material, deleting all their important data, keeping their credit card numbers in a non-secure fashion and who knows what else, yet the same person on buying a toaster will get more detailed instructional material? Is burnt bread that much more threatening?

So make the interface as '(non)-inuitive' as you want, make it mouse driven if you must, but I'd like to see people moving away from the mindset that you should be able to take it home plug it in and be up and running in an hour if you've never used a computer before. We don't apply that logic to any other product, so why something as expensive, powerful, and potentially damaging as a computer?

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