Linked by Kostis Kapelonis on Mon 29th Nov 2004 18:55 UTC
Editorial The IT sector today is a complete mess. The end-users rarely understand this, but most insiders reach a point when they realize that things should be different. The problems are numerous but they all reduce to a basic principle. IT and consumer electronics companies are interested more about money than helping people solve their problems. Of course companies need to make a profit and nobody denies that. They should however make money by helping people and not by creating more problems for them.
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Programs with different levels of complexity
by bigbenaussie on Tue 30th Nov 2004 01:43 UTC

The answer is to provide UIs for the different types of user. Ones that eliminate jargon that a new user wouldn't know. We need user distinctions such as newbie, computer literate, power user at the very least.

To some extent this is happening today. I am heartened that my CD burning software has wizards if I want them, although I bypass them and get straight to business. Even sofware installations allow you to choose the default, or go into greater complexity if you care too.

Complexity needs to be hidden yet accessible if you want it. I know in Windows that menu items will dissapear if I don't use them or only contain what is absolutely required. If I want the full set I can maximise the menu.

Graphics UIs and Windows managers came about because people didn't want to learn obscure CLI commands. Perhaps its time to invent something new so people don't have to learn obscure mouse operations.

Perhaps programs ought to provide hooks so that their UIs can be circumvented so that developers can provide an even simpler UI to newbies. FOSS should consider this, not by directly dictating the easier interface, but allowing the hooks to be there.

This may be Off Topic but part of the problem is that IT makes money from IT. If IT wasn't complex then there would be no IT. Take MS for example. The API gets more and more complex requiring you to learn new ways of doing things and ever increasing complexity. They invent a new fangled technology, that really does something you could do all along, but makes it more complex requiring more techos to operate. All OSes get bloat that isn't really needed and the techos need to learn more to the same thing they could always do. Just look at MSDN and tell me I need half that crap. Its like these vendors want things to remain complex so that can continue to say they are innovating whilst making money of the IT eco-system.

The other problem, which may also be off topic, is that the OSes are evolving as fast as the hardware such that the increases in the hardware are swallowed up by the compexity of the software. I seem constrained by even keeping up. Google Mail providing a GIG of storage is only remarkable in that it is an instance of Hardware progressing faster than the software's ability to render that space essential. Win95 might be considered a POC but I bet it loads in a second on modern hardware and takes up barely any space in memory. I could still run the same kinds of productivity software as on XP at a fraction of the hardware requirements. Its like software is becoming more complex just to swallow up the space and this is part of the complexity problem. Why don't my freaking windows open in milliseconds after all the money spent in upgrades?

Ok. Scampering back to my happy place now.