Linked by David Adams on Wed 24th May 2006 04:08 UTC
Editorial It's conventional wisdom that computers need to be "easier to use." But do they? More reliable, yes. Easier to troubleshoot, yes. But now that so many people use computers so much, I think there's something to be said for making them less easy-to-use and less intuitive.
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Power vs. simplicity is a false dichotomy
by DHofmann on Wed 24th May 2006 16:23 UTC
DHofmann
Member since:
2005-08-19

"will the computing world truly be served by catering to their needs at the expense of everyday computer users?"

This implies that power and simplicity are mutually exclusive. Here's a counterexample: TiVo. It's much more powerful than a VCR, and yet is much easier to use to record your favorite programs.

It takes creativity to make something simpler without sacrificing power, but it can be done.

Reply Score: 5

Mystilleef Member since:
2005-06-29

Well said. For years I've been advocating this stance, until
I broke down and started writing my own applications. It's
unfortunate most developers often feel that powerful systems
need to be hard to use, complex and have intimidating
interfaces. I often need to point to google to annihilate
this distasteful myth.

Reply Parent Score: 2

AnalystX Member since:
2006-01-11

Precisely. The author doesn't take into account the nature of intelligent automation. Simple is good. One button that forces you to do a dozen things when six things is all you want done is bad. We want our lives more automated in order to save us time, but we strive to have that automation be as intelligent as we are.

Your example of VCR versus DVR is perfect. I know my ReplayTV has saved me hundreds of hours over the course of its use (a couple years) because it's able to make some decisions for me. The key to the future of computing in general, is designing them not only to mirror the decisions humans make, but also learn how humans make the decisions.

Reply Parent Score: 2

hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

bayesian filters and similar?

didnt microsoft work on that? and one of the results from that was clippy?

Edited 2006-05-25 13:14

Reply Parent Score: 1