SIGIA-L Mail Archives: [Sigia-l] "Standard" interface
[Sigia-l] "Standard" interfaces? (was: DHTML Menus and Usability)
From: Paula Thornton (paula.thornton_at_prodigy.net)
Date: Sun Sep 22 2002 - 14:39:31 EDT
David Heller wrote: "Users expect everything running on their desktop to act
like its OS. That's why there are GUI standards for non-web apps."
When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
For lurking readers, David works for a major 3rd party product vendor. His
responses reflect the 'public' nature of the solutions that he's responsible
for (I don't fault him for that perspective...it's what keeps the paychecks
coming...as he so noted).
But there's also another "monumental" reality that our skills apply to,
creating interfaces for 'captive audiences' inside of organizations whose
daily interface realities include hours of abhorable monstrosities designed
by programmers (or committee). They have been taught to 'tolerate'...it's
part of the job. They are 'trained' to fit the solution. Then these same
people use 3rd party products...where there is no choice, tolerance is the
I can guarantee (based on simple economic principles) that all other
variables being equal or better (including marketing abilities), ANY
competitor to an existing product that would provide an interface that
delivered more 'value' to an individual with fewer 'costs' (costs include
things like having to 'learn' things that are not intuitive), that product
would take over the market space.
It is our goal to seek out and abolish interaction 'costs'. The only way to
accomplish such is to invest more on our end (as Ziya said, it's not
easy...). If we adopt the axiom that individuals are 'tolerating'
interfaces, we will seek new solutions. If we do not, we will be satisfied
with what we already have and we will stagnate.
As was aluded to in another posting, MSWord has been on the market for well
over 15 years. There are standard functions that are fundamentally needed by
anyone creating documents that Microsoft has failed to deliver to this day
(how much time do they need to deliver something as simple as side-by-side
paragraphs...something both Ventura and Word Perfect delivered in the late
'80s?). Word suffers from stagnation. On the flip side, Lotus killed a
fabulous power-user interface (one-click style changes) by totally
redesigning their word processing tool without maintaining the things that
were already highly valued and simply eliminating the things that were not
(the tables function needed a total overhaul, but that's about it). If we
can't deliver the things that make the most productive people in society,
more productive, what are we accomplishing? And yes, we can do so while also
addressing the 'casual' visitor, as well (the old Lotus interface was a
perfect example of such...power functions were not in the main menus...they
were in the mouse).
Until we can learn to assess what people do and do not value (not all of
which they can verbalize), we will never optimize the potential that is out
there waiting to be captured.
When replying, please *trim your post* as much as possible.
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: Sun Nov 23 2003 - 22:55:24 EST