Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 27th Jan 2009 13:46 UTC
Editorial With Windows 7 having made its grand debut, and with KDE4's vision making leaps and bounds forward with every release, we have two major software projects that have decided to implement some fairly drastic interface changes. Such changes are bound to receive some harsh criticisms - but the funny thing is, these criticisms usually come from people you least expect it from.
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Never trust those who complain about change
by kaiwai on Tue 27th Jan 2009 19:19 UTC
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Never believe anyone who labels them self as either an 'expert', 'power user' or 'specialist' - because 9/10 out of ten, you assume that they actually have knowledge when in reality it is nothing more than a patch work of recorded set of reactions to crisis as they appear. In other words, as soon as the crisis ever so slightly slips out of what they're accustomed to seeing - they're instantly lost. Its almost like watching an error occur in an application and the programmer hasn't set up a way of gracefully handling it.

For me, I love to see changes that help me; Windows 7 is a great move forward in terms of usability. Now, don't get me wrong, I still have a good amount of vitriol for the category based control panel mind you - not because it is different but because of how things have been split up and put into each one; where you'd assume something would be - isn't actually there. IMHO the better way would have been to copy what Mac OS X had done with their system preferences panel - but thats just me.

So with that downside, there are upswings. Office 2007 is no longer cluttered and complicated; there is one way of doing something, and it is the best and easiest way. That is how it should be, simply have 100 ways of doing something adds nothing to the productivity and in some cases confuses the user in the long run. So the ease of use and simplification of the interface required me to learn some of the features again (that is, the location and how to execute them) but apart from that, besides a small slow down in productivity, in the long term I'm considerably more productive. Same goes for Office 2008 on Mac which I use on a regular basis - besides its slight slowness to 2004 on the PowerPC, Office 2008 is a leap ahead in terms of features and ease of use. Like Office 2007 I required some re-learning but in the long run I have been more productive.

As for why 'experts', 'power users' and 'specialists' deride changes? its because it exposes the flaws in the way they learned how to use a tool. Rather than learning the fundamentals - everything has been a reaction to something occurring rather than learning the fundamentals of what is going on behind the scenes. As a result of this flawed learning process, when changes come along, they're back to square one and they hate the idea that they're ultimately as ignorant to the system as a first time user - their ego is crushed and they can't handle it. Rather than seeing it as a challenge to take on with enthusiasm, they rally against change under the banner of "it was a stupid change pushed by marketing". All their insecurity is exposed at that moment - too bad people take their vitriol as valid feedback when it is little more than a knee jerk reaction to change.

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