Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 29th Jun 2012 22:55 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes "Whenever there is a conversation about the future of computing, is discussion inevitably turns to the notion of a 'File'. After all, most tablets and phones don't show the user anything that resembles a file, only Apps that contain their own content, tucked away inside their own opaque storage structure. This is wrong. Files are abstraction layers around content that are necessary for interoperability. Without the notion of a File or other similar shared content abstraction, the ability to use different applications with the same information grinds to a halt, which hampers innovation and user experience." Aside from the fact that a file manager for Android is just a click away, and aside from the fact that Android's share menu addresses many of these concerns, his point still stands: files are not an outdated, archaic concept. One of my biggest gripes with iOS is just how user-hostile the operating system it when it comes to getting stuff - whatever stuff - to and from the device.
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RE[3]: Stupid, stupid
by maxz on Sat 30th Jun 2012 09:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Stupid, stupid"
maxz
Member since:
2012-06-30

You are the dumbest of dumbasses and shouldn't be allowed to post. You see how stupid your logic is?

Well, his logic isn't all that flawed, in the sense that if you are the dumbest of dumbasses and don't know sh*t about anything, you can't expect things to work exactly as you want. I don't think we should disallow dumbasses to use computers, but should we lower our standards to their level because of their incompetence? I see problems with this.

The more complex a tool is, the more you need to know to use it to it's fullest potential. Yes, you can have a "dumbass-mode" on it, but then you will only use it to level "dumbass-level". (Think of this as only using the "green square mode" on a modern day DSLR, it works, takes decent pictures, but you are not taking advantage of what the camera really can do).

With smart design and user-centric focus you might raise this this level a bit, by you cannot get the dumbass-user to use a tool with the same proficiency as the power-user... ever.

Computers are among the most complex multi-purpose tools widely available today. But education hasn't kept up with availability.

Yes, the files and directories metaphor might be outdated and there might be better ways to do it. Still, you cannot let the OS decide everything. In fact, doing so might create even more problems than today! If a dumbass user writes a second letter, should the OS decide that it should overwrite the last letter written? (they are both letters) If you change a misspelling in a letter, should that be considered a new document, something to overwrite the last document or should it be version managed? (Good luck trying to teach version management to dumbasses). If a user downloads a file from one server onto the device, and then downloads another file from another server but with the same name to the same device. Should the first one be overwritten? (Well, perhaps the device can detect what server the originating data came from and "do the right thing" that works for that specific scenario). What if it is the same server? What if it comes from the same server but the data has changed? (your bank statement for example). If you keep multiple versions of a file in multiple states, how will the OS decide what version the user really needs?

What I am trying to say is that the OS can NEVER anticipate every possible type of situation and for every possible user take the correct action. One user might expect it to work in one way, and another user in another way. You can have self-learning systems, which works well until one user borrows a device from another messing everything up. Remember that OS:es are created by humans, and no human is perfect, ergo no OS is perfect.

So it all comes back to the user knowing what to do and how the OS reacts to different situations. This should be consistent and intuitive. That is what design can do. Just blaming everything as being a UX problem and never take the user into account doesn't solve the problem, it is just hiding from reality.

Also, removing the decision power from a user might be problematic. What if the designer of the system never realized that a user might want to use a tool in a certain way? Should the tool disallow the user to use it then? (Perhaps if the consequences would be catastrophical, but if they are harmless or even beneficial?)

To sum it up: Yes, files/directories might be outdated with modern ways to use devices and there might be better ways to do this. No, uneducated users cannot expect to get the full power out of everything. Yes, this is an extremely complex problem that I doubt will ever get a solution that everyone agrees on.

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