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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"assumes users are idiots"?
by Anonymous on Wed 11th Aug 2004 14:58 UTC

One approach to usability is to simplifying everything by removing options, this strategy assumes users are idiots and in my opinion is more likely to annoy users due to lack of options than help usability. Just because someone doesn't know about the inner workings of an computer does not mean they are an idiot.

It seems like the author has a chip on his shoulder about this. Why does it "assume users are idiots"? A good interface balances a healthy level of control with some smart simplifications. Only 5% of what your computer can do is used by 95% of users, while only 5% of users use any of the other 95%. So a good interface designer will make the most-often-used 5% jump to the foreground, leaving the remaining 95% accessable through the more arcane recessesses of the interface, or maybe only accessable through command-line, special utilities, or 3rd party apps.

Simplification is not the enemy. Stupidly simplified or over-simplified interfaces will meet with frustration, but accomplishing simple tasks should be simple.