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Tag Archives: interface

Besides overusing a certain vowel, there is something in common between the Wii and the iPad which one seldomly sees mentioned: They are both all about an input device. Of course something like that should not be without consequence…—


Whenever someone begins to talk about «Usability» you can time the few seconds for them to come up with «simple». For some not-so-strange reason, people think that a «good interface» equals a simple one. Mark Zuckerberg, tyrant-dictator-for-life of Facebook, responded to criticism about FB’s terrible management of privacy with “simpler controls”.

I don’t want to comment on the FB privacy issues (for that, you should as always consult danah boyd, maybe here and here). My pet-peeve right now is the idea of «SIMPLE».

And i was reading Lost Finale reviews and my whole point just vanished from my mind, so i’ll just give you the bullets and you can read a sidetracked maybe promising-but-how-to-continue-? explanation after the “read more”.

  • Simple interface means you take processing away from it: Therefore, you degrade the user input instead of extracting from it.
  • The illusion of simplicity comes from orthogonality — but creating orthogonality is hard and can only be done through adding methods and never by sheer cutting.
  • To strive for simplicity is to search marketing slogans. A consistent design comes from grasping the full picture — even if you do it instinctively.

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Julie Larson-Green rocks. If you fancy yourself having some interest in HCI and interfaces or even in computers in general AND you do not know who is Julie Larson-Green you should be ashamed of yourself. She is the woman who re-invented Microsoft Office, and recently she has been tasked to do the same with the whole OS for the next version of Windows (which will be just Vista with some polish, exactly like Windows XP that was Windows 2000 with some extra polish, as reflected in the version string going from 5.0 to 5.1 — shall we call it Vista.1?). It remains to be seen how that will turn out, but i for one have high hopes.

Anyways, a newspaper from Sydney (Australia? Man, what are people doing in Australia? There’s nothing there, is it?) had a profile of Larson-Green, which is cool since she definitely deserves more limelight (she seems to dislike it, at least in that vid i saw once).

What i want to comment, though, is actually just one small phrase she spells out on the interview, which is a powerful “quiet move” in that it redeems the old oxymoron of user interface theory of “intuitive use” without compromising the perspective of making user’s lives easier. The phrase being:

We want to reduce the amount of thinking about the software that they have to do

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Right now (as part of the overall bit-scrubbing) i am hard-resetting my Palm. And the plan is NOT to have a backup, to force a fresh-start. And through the months my wandering musing has produced a huge amount of prototype-posts for the blog. The vast majority of them are just small tidbits that, in my insane mind, are descriptive enough to mean a whole bunch of stuff. Even though i am positively sure that almost none of them is even remotely understandable, my feeling is actually that the thoughts themselves are somehow too obvious, and that is what precludes me having the stamina of just sitting and developing each of those themes. I wish i had time enough for it. Actually, i wish i didn’t have three or four even more (at least in my opinion) brilliant thoughts than those while writing them down. One way or the other, as i am not gonna back them up, i’ll jsut dump them here. Read them at your own discretion! »