Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 23rd Aug 2008 15:37 UTC
Editorial Earlier this week, we ran a story on GoboLinux, and the distribution's effort to replace the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard with a more pleasant, human-readable, and logical design. A lot of people liked the idea of modernising/replacing the FHS, but just as many people were against doing so. Valid arguments were presented both ways, but in this article, I would like to focus on a common sentiment that came forward in that discussion: normal users shouldn't see the FHS, and advanced users are smart enough to figure out how the FHS works.
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RE[2]: Basic edumacation.
by tupp on Mon 25th Aug 2008 18:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Basic edumacation."
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I agree that there are a lot of clueless computer users. However, I think that much of this clueless-ness stems from a helpless attitude, that has been conditioned by a decades-long prevalence of desktop interfaces designed around users with no mind.

In current ergonomic design circles, a lot of emphasis goes to designing interfaces that can be quickly comprehended by the uninitiated user (usually at the expense of power and speed). The usability phrase for this practice is "reducing the knowledge required in the head" of the user. My point is that, with just a little more prior "knowledge in the head," users will act much more resourcefully. They will learn to think for themselves and will actually look at the screen.

Most people are smart enough to understand a lot of what is typically considered too complex for the everyday user, and most will use their minds if they are encouraged to do so. Jef Raskin kept the Mac mouse from having more than one button, because he thought three buttons were too complicated for the typical person. Underestimating users seems to be a common mistake with usability "experts."

By the way, as I recall, MSDOS and Windows 3.1 employed user-friendly directory names, such as "programs," "data" and "system," etc.

Edited 2008-08-25 18:38 UTC

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