Linked by Hadrien Grasland on Tue 11th Jan 2011 13:40 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces Nowadays smartphones, tablets and desktop/laptop computers are all siblings. They use the same UI paradigms and follow the same idea of a programmable and flexible machine that's available to everyone. Only their hardware feature set and form factor differentiate them from each other. In this context, does it still make sense to consider them as separate devices as far as software development is concerned? Wouldn't it be a much better idea to consider them as multiple variations of the same concept, and release a unified software platform which spreads across all of them? This article aims at describing what has been done in this area already, and what's left to do.
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RE[3]: Two words:
by Neolander on Tue 11th Jan 2011 16:18 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Two words:"
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

Can you tell I live in Emacs?

If you didn't mention it, I'd have thought that you use Vim ;)

The problem you raise is very interesting, and is one I've been thinking for some time since I've first bought a (very good) book on software usability out of curiosity. In a chapter which I'd translate in English as "Top ten myths about usability", a point which I found particularly relevant was "it's not usable if my grandmother can't use it".

The author pointed out that you always have one target user base in mind, and that you must optimize for *that* target user base. Not your grandmother. That overly guided interfaces are bad when you put them in the hand of a specialist audience.

That being said, for a phone/tablet OS, whose target audience is composed of maybe 90% of computer newbies and 10% of computer literates, I do think it's important to optimize for discoverability. Moreover, users will be used to big menus (since most of the phone's interface is built using them), whereas pie menus will be totally new for them. By using a pie menu, you violate interface conventions.

Now, if you're advocating designing the whole OS' UI around pie menus, that would be interesting indeed. But I fear that we would go back to the manual age then. Users don't read manuals these days...

Edited 2011-01-11 16:21 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Two words:
by TheGZeus on Tue 11th Jan 2011 16:36 in reply to "RE[3]: Two words:"
TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

Users don't read manuals these days...

I prefer to solve problems that hack around them ;p
I see that as a problem. The solution? People should read the manuals.
Many people don't read books much either, and that, too, is a problem.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Two words:
by Neolander on Tue 11th Jan 2011 16:47 in reply to "RE[4]: Two words:"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Well, then we don't agree here ;)

In my everyday life, I try to get as much annoyed by my tools as necessary, but no further. Basic operation of my phone shouldn't require reading a manual, since current design prove that it's not necessary for the features I want. Only more advanced operation should require me to learn something, when it's actually needed.

On my computer, I use Linux because it's simpler for my usage patterns. But I don't spend my life in a terminal because most of the time I find GUI alternatives which do not require me to learn a bunch of commands by heart to be simpler. I use a terminal when I need it.

It's about being lazy except for things which actually matter. And in that regard, I think that the disappearance of manuals for non-professional products is very good news ^^

*advocates using Occam's razor for usability matters*

Edited 2011-01-11 16:49 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1