Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 24th Jun 2007 13:44 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces Federkiel writes: "People working with Apple computers are used to a very consistent user experience. For a large part this stems from the fact that the Lisa type of GUI does not have the fight between MDI and SDI. The question simply never arises, because the Lisa type of GUI does not offer the choice to create either of both; it's something different all along. I usually think of it as 'MDI on steroids unified with a window manager'. It virtually includes all benefits of a SDI and and the benefits of an MDI." Read on for how I feel about this age-old discussion.
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That's only a part of it
by Buck on Sun 24th Jun 2007 14:45 UTC
Buck
Member since:
2005-06-29

Menu bars and such are only a part of the equation. There are many other variables. For example MacOS X and its applications are designed in such a way that it makes using the system very intuitive. When you want to do something on a Mac you just have to do it the most natural way, for example by dragging and dropping something. What I observed in Windows users who switch to a Mac is that they try to do everything in a complicated way, always looking for a workaround when it's not really needed. For some reason Windows leaves an imprint on users' minds that you cannot just do anything easily, there's always some inventive "hard" way. And that's what they try to do and it doesn't always work that's when they start complaining. So actually when you make a switch it's always better to forget what you knew completely and start from scratch. Otherwise however productive and helpful Mac interface can be in theory, a user wouldn't be able to take advantage of it.

Reply Score: 5

RE: That's only a part of it
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 24th Jun 2007 15:01 in reply to "That's only a part of it"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

And that's what they try to do and it doesn't always work that's when they start complaining.

You just don't seem to get it. If a user knows how to do action A on Windows just fine, and then OSX uses a different method (which you deem 'easier', something you cannot prove AT ALL), then it doesn't mean either of the two is "the hard way". It means just that - that both employ a different mean to achieve the same end.

On top of that, dragging and dropping is overrated. It is actually a VERY complicated and muscle-straining way of doing things. Using keyboard shortcuts or context menus to copy/paste things can not only be faster, but also easier on the muscles.

So actually when you make a switch it's always better to forget what you knew completely and start from scratch.

And that's something you cannot do, so this is a completely irrelevant remark.

Otherwise however productive and helpful Mac interface can be in theory, a user wouldn't be able to take advantage of it.

Ok, you REALLY didn't get it. The interface that is the best for user A is the interface that makes them do tasks in a way that is easiest and most familiar for them. If a user has been using Windows for 15 years, then the Mac is simply (probably) not the best way of doing things. It MIGHT become the best way, but that can take years - it might not happen ever.

Experience and training is not something you can just brush aside - something many self-proclaimed "usability experts" seem to do all too easily.

Edited 2007-06-24 15:05

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: That's only a part of it
by twenex on Sun 24th Jun 2007 15:19 in reply to "RE: That's only a part of it"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

Ok, you REALLY didn't get it. The interface that is the best for user A is the interface that makes them do tasks in a way that is easiest and most familiar for them. If a user has been using Windows for 15 years, then the Mac is simply (probably) not the best way of doing things. It MIGHT become the best way, but that can take years - it might not happen ever.

I think there's something you aren't getting either: Everyone is different. Fred Brooks reports that in the old days, when everyone who had a computer could afford to pay onsite programmers, each company would have its own payroll program, and that payroll program would be written to mimic, as best as possible, the company's paper accounts system. Now that everyone and his dog uses Excel, everyone fits their accounting practices to it (and it would be the same if they were all using Oo.org Calc, VisiCalc or 1-2-3).

In the same way, since not everyone has the time, inclination, or ability to design and write a user interface for their operating system and applications, everyone makes do with the one they're given (whether their system of choice/work is Mac, Linux, or Windows). Even Linux, which in theory allows you to use any number of interface designs, is moving towards "the big two".

But that's far and away a different kettle of fish than if someone did studies (on virgin subjects) to determine which (if any), of a myriad of different interface styles people liked. And the one that grabbed the most amount of people in total is very much more likely to be the one that the greatest amount of people disliked least, than the one they liked best.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: That's only a part of it
by Buck on Sun 24th Jun 2007 16:25 in reply to "RE: That's only a part of it"
Buck Member since:
2005-06-29

We're talking absolute values here. Okay, somebody might be accustomised to doing everything in Norton/Midnight commander and doesn't want to learn a real CLI or GUI at all. Does it make them more productive? Is it a better way? The answer is "no", just because somebody doesn't want to learn to do things better doesn't mean that Norton Commander is the best interface out there. Same thing for Windows and Macs. It takes a Windows user 15 steps to complete a task while in MacOS it would take only 4 steps, so naturally if the user learns how to do things right it would save him time and make him more productive. The truth is, computer interfaces limit humans in different ways and we're in constant search of new and different ways to make the user more productive. That means learning or re-learning. And honestly I never understood that kind of stubbornes - "I won't learn because I WILL NOT!". One explanation that comes to mind is that people are so afraid of computers that it's a miracle when tasks can be successfully accomplished. Then even if it takes them 30 steps to do something, they'd rather go the longer route because they're afraid that a different method will break everything. It's psychology. It doesn't mean that doing things the way a user doesn't know is inferior. Crying about it doesn't validate it. Consider a photographer who used to do everything on film and is being confronted with the digital workflow. There's no reason to dismiss it and live in the stone age, so he goes and learns Photoshop and Aperture and the color space theory and everything.

Reply Parent Score: 3

godzillopiteco Member since:
2007-06-25

If a user knows how to do action A on Windows just fine, and then OSX uses a different method (which you deem 'easier', something you cannot prove AT ALL)


he talked about being "more intuitive", not "easier"

On top of that, dragging and dropping is overrated. It is actually a VERY complicated and muscle-straining way of doing things. Using keyboard shortcuts or context menus to copy/paste things can not only be faster, but also easier on the muscles.


maybe. but it's LESS INTUITIVE. do you get it?

And [starting from scratch] that's something you cannot do, so this is a completely irrelevant remark.


why can't you? I did it, and a lot more people out there are doing it... windows -> macos, windows -> linux... and the larger part of them are not complaining at all.

If a user has been using Windows for 15 years, then the Mac is simply (probably) not the best way of doing things. It MIGHT become the best way, but that can take years - it might not happen ever.


that's YOUR opinion. I switched to Mac two years ago, having used Windows since Win 3.0. It took about *two weeks* to be as productive as in Windows. I'd never go back. so?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: That's only a part of it
by Flatland_Spider on Sun 24th Jun 2007 15:36 in reply to "That's only a part of it"
Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

So is pressing Cmd+O easier then just pressing Enter to open a document?
Is having to open the applications folder then drag an application to it easier then just double clicking a package to install?

Each platform has its own moments of stupidity.

Reply Parent Score: 2

SlackerJack Member since:
2005-11-12

Well when you install something, you drag it from one place to another, why is that so unnatural on a computer?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: That's only a part of it
by Kroc on Sun 24th Jun 2007 16:41 in reply to "RE: That's only a part of it"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

What, and pressing Ctrl+O is any different on Windows?
That's just one way of opening a file, it's not like you can't double click on a Mac.

I think what you were trying to say is Cmd+Down to open a file, like pressing Return in Windows. In OS X it's Cmd+Down to drill down folder / open files and Cmd+Up to return. It's Return / Backspace to do the same in Windows.

Most Disk Images for Mac Applications now include an alias to the Application folder, so you only need to drag the application an inch to install it; how is that any stupider than going through an MSI in Windows?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: That's only a part of it
by Jules on Sun 24th Jun 2007 17:41 in reply to "RE: That's only a part of it"
Jules Member since:
2007-01-30

So is selecting an icon and pressing F2 really more simple than selecting an icon and pressing enter when you want to rename an item in your file browser...

Select-enter does already have a useful function in the Finder.

Reply Parent Score: 1

nathbeadle Member since:
2006-08-08

Pressing CMD+O isn't easier, it's an extra keystroke and the keys aren't close to each other really. But that's not the point... this isn't about easy.

On a Mac, CMD+O is what you use to open anything, whether a folder or drive in the Finder, or a document in a program. On Windows ENTER only works in Explorer, and then you have to use CTRL+O within an application. Two different key strokes within the OS to do the same thing. Opening something.

I'm not sure if anyone else has had this (I'm sure I'm not alone) but just pressing Enter is a bother when you've selected a bunch of icons and accidentally hit ENTER and they all open! The CMD+O ensures you don't make these mistakes.

It's about the consistency and thought

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: That's only a part of it
by collywolly on Tue 26th Jun 2007 13:26 in reply to "That's only a part of it"
collywolly Member since:
2006-06-19

"For example MacOS X and its applications are designed in such a way that it makes using the system very intuitive. When you want to do something on a Mac you just have to do it the most natural way, for example by dragging and dropping something."

God, I hate the way it is assumed that dragging and dropping makes tasks easier or more intuitive. If anything I find the opposite. As an experienced computer user, I am still never sure when dragging and dropping from one folder to another, if it will copy or move the file in question. The best implementation of I have used is in KDE, where dragging and dropping brings up a context menu offering the option to move, copy or cancel.

As a software developer probably, the most unintuitive load of crap I have to deal with is visual query builders. I have the SQL all worked out in front of me, but trying to get these things to generate the same query is often nearly impossible if they have any form of complexity in them.

Reply Parent Score: 1