SIGIA-L Mail Archives: RE: Re: SIGIA-L: ZUI hatred
RE: Re: SIGIA-L: ZUI hatred
Date: Sun Mar 24 2002 - 18:54:37 EST
> Because if you have XX number of seconds to find something, a method
> gets you there in time is absolutely better than one that doesn't.
Much as I
> hate command line interfaces, for instance, they are more efficient
> GUIs in general) , *if* you know how to use them.
Careful what you call "efficient" -- you also really have to consider
any *cognitive load* placed on the user. GUI's insulate the user from
obscure command syntaxes and they provide accelerators like drag and
drop. It's basic recognition vs. recall. Command line interfaces
(CLI) are all about recall with little recognition.
Try this experiment:
1) Go to a command line interface on your PC/Mac/*nix box. Think of
some rarely used software utility you have. Copy the files and
directory tree for that software to a directory named /test/sigia on a
floppy or CD-RW drive.
2) Go to your GUI file explorer and do the same thing.
Of course you don't have to even try it to know that #2 will obviously
be much more efficient when considering both user's time and cognitive
load. Can you type one command from a command line interface from the
file system root to complete this task? Maybe. It might actually
require a couple of commands. But you'll probably not know the exact
path and directory name for the software utility. So you'll probably
have to slowly change directories one at a time, listing the directory
contents as you do to decide where to go next. When you eventually get
to the directory you want to copy then you have to know the proper
command syntax, AND type the command correctly. In a GUI, you can
probably navigate to the right place much quicker and then use drag and
drop to execute the directory copy.
Search is like a CLI -- IF you know EXACTLY what you want/need, AND you
know the syntax of the search tool, AND IF the thing you're looking for
is actually in the search engine's index, THEN (and only then) are you
likely to find what you're searching for.
GUI's and browsing are similar in that they allow the user to use their
recognition capabilities, and they provide more context.
One of the key things I've learned from Jared Spool's research is that
users sometimes don't know REALLY what they are looking for. For
example, I might search for information on a particular tax deduction
to see if I'm eligible or not -- what I'm really trying to answer is
"how can I lower my taxes"...by browsing I'm much more likely to come
across something that will help me answer my real question.
Search works great for simple, well defined tasks like "When was
Abraham Lincoln President?"
FYI - I've nothing against CLIs, I was an avid DOS user for years and
resisted moving to Windows because *some tasks* seemed like they took
much longer in Windoze. As I started doing more multitasking, Windows
made my work much easier. I also was a "power user" -- God forbid my
mother ever sees a CLI!
User Experience Architect
Personal Web Log:
Commentary on usability, information architecture and web design.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2
: Sun Nov 23 2003 - 22:55:05 EST