Linked by Nicholas Blachford on Wed 11th Aug 2004 07:53 UTC
Editorial Computers are complex systems but it's a mistake to assume they need to be complex to use. However, usability is not as easy as it may first seem. It is a different discipline from software development lacking the strict logic or having a "right way". There are only differing requirements and differing collections of guidelines. Making things easy is difficult.
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Power Users
by logicnazi on Wed 11th Aug 2004 12:41 UTC

In a response to my post someone else claimed that there is no such thing as a power user. To a great extent this person is right, but not because there aren't real differences in UI preferences but because the term is a misnomer. The reason I put quotes on the term in my original post is because having the 'power user' UI preferences has nothing to do with actually being a power user.

Really the difference in UI preference is just an asthetic one. Unfortunatly, since it is *often* (though not always) computer geeks who prefer the arcane powerfull interfaces it has been saddled with the term power user. This labeling causes all kinds of problems as UI preferences get very caught up with issues of pride and ability.

While there might be a correlation there certainly is no necessery relationship between the UI preferences and the ability of the computer user. Equally good programs differ on whether they prefer a nice clean gui IDE or the arcane lisp macros of EMACS. While at the same time plenty of know-nothing kids (like myself in the distant past) preferred DOS to windows.

At the end it is simply an asthetic disagreement. It is much like the issue of whether chinese should be represented in a phonetic alphabet or it's traditional pictorial form. You can list reasons forever why the phonetic form is more usefull but it won't deny the fact that the pictorial form might have more tradition/beauty. There isn't any need to develop some hybrid in-between language nor convert the admirers of one to the other. I just want people to recognize the same thing in GUI design (the distinction I mention is probably only one of many UI preferences...it just seems the most obvious)