windows 3.x vs MacOs

25 Jun 2006 - 9:51am
8 years ago
30 replies
737 reads
Simon Asselbergs
2005

There would be so much to say about usability of specific OS'es, then we might need new mailinglist to cover that topic. Why waiste any time about historical facts and ideological quarrels? Let's focus on the perspective of users on usable software products of to day.

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "jackbellis.com" <jackbellis op hotmail.com>
> To: discuss op ixda.org
> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Semantics of The Elements of UX
> Date: Sat, 24 Jun 2006 16:51:09 -0400
>
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> > Care to defend your statement a bit more?
> Dan,
> I'm not insensitive to your consternation, given all the stuff I too hate in
> Program Manager and its ilk. I'm just insensitive. (But I still want the
> dual-pane File Manager back. After giving up on PowerDesk, I was surprised
> to find my power-user coworkers using Servant Salamander, a dual-pane tool.)
>
> I defend not Windows 3.x but what Windows 3.x added to the collective user
> experience. This is not a discussion of, or comparison between Gates and
> Jobs (or JJG, JN, etc.) . The designer in us all knows who made the "better"
> design but to the billions who use Windows, "better" is as relative as
> drinking water in the desert.
>
> It is completly inapplicable to now load Win31 and critique it. In
> proportional terms, it advanced the cause of user friendliness more than
> might ever be equaled. Disparaging it would be equivalent to saying Henry
> Ford made shitty cars. On the same level, Microsoft VB in its first
> incarnation delivered more programming democracy than ever before and
> possibly might ever in the future. Thus Bill Gates's fortune, despite
> our- - - and my- - - jealous trashing of him. My arguments have nothing to
> do with Ux, but rather, with the promulgation of Ux.
>
> 'know what I mean?
>
> www.jackBellis.com,
> www.UsabilityInstitute.com
> www.WorkAtHomeWednesday.com
> www.OfficeSwap.com
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Dan Saffer" <dan op odannyboy.com>
> To: "ixda" <discuss op ixda.org>
> Sent: Saturday, June 24, 2006 11:52 AM
> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Semantics of The Elements of UX
>
>
> > [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> > material.]
> >
> >
> > On Jun 24, 2006, at 8:33 AM, jackbellis.com wrote:
> >
> >> Windows 3.1 took UI 10 steps
> >> forward and we've been taking big steps backwards ever since 1994.
> >
> > Wow. I can honestly say I have never heard anyone say that. Windows
> > 3.1? Really? I've used Windows 3.1 on several occasions as an example
> > of an awkward, clunky, and frankly bad design in the past. An
> > inelegant attempt to redo the Macintosh UI, which Microsoft finally
> > got right (sort of) in Windows 95.
> >
> > Care to defend your statement a bit more?
> >
> >
> > Dan
> >
> >
> > ________________________________________________________________
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>

Groetjes,

Simon

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Comments

25 Jun 2006 - 10:38am
Lada Gorlenko
2004

Simon said:

SA> Why waiste any time about historical facts and ideological
SA> quarrels? Let's focus on the perspective of users on usable
SA> software products of today.

... and earlier Robert said:

RHJ> The IxD and Usability worlds do tend to be comprised of a lot of
RHJ> academic posturing. And it's sad, because none of it really helps
RHJ> anyone. It justy proves we all went to college.

There is bread and butter to put on the table today. There are
pressing problems we have to solve and immediate applications we have
to build. I agree. However...

There is also such thing as "design knowledge". It doesn't come from
being acquainted with one specific piece of the IxD puzzle you pamper
now. It comes from understanding of how different pieces fit together,
historically and contextually. You can try reinventing the wheel,
hoping for the right solution to your problem. You can also learn
whether someone else has solved that same problem before, and how
successful they were and why. Learn from your own mistakes as much
as you like, but at least be smart in the process.

There is also such thing as "career development". In today's world,
the only way to keep our precious jobs is to be life-long learners.
You won't be developing the same application tomorrow, and a couple of
years down the line you may even be forced to look for another career.
If you know little outside your immediate task of today, start
worrying; you job can be easily outsourced. "Academic posturing"
proves that people can think, make connections and innovate; the rest
is a small matter of programming.

I am pretty sure that those who, like I, had less than straightforward
careers would agree. Knowledge and understanding are the keys to
survival. If you know the principles of catching fish, you will be
able to catch one in any water. If you only know how to catch fish in
a 3-foot deep pond, don't be surprised to starve by a sea.

Lada

25 Jun 2006 - 11:37am
Simon Asselbergs
2005

> Simon said:
>
> SA> Why waiste any time about historical facts and ideological
> SA> quarrels? Let's focus on the perspective of users on usable
> SA> software products of today.
>
> ... and earlier Robert said:
>
> RHJ> The IxD and Usability worlds do tend to be comprised of a lot of
> RHJ> academic posturing. And it's sad, because none of it really helps
> RHJ> anyone. It justy proves we all went to college.
>
> There is bread and butter to put on the table today. There are
> pressing problems we have to solve and immediate applications we have
> to build. I agree. However...
>
> There is also such thing as "design knowledge". [...]
> There is also such thing as "career development". [...]

Lada, you took the words out of my mouth.

> I am pretty sure that those who, like I, had less than straightforward
> careers would agree. Knowledge and understanding are the keys to
> survival. If you know the principles of catching fish, you will be
> able to catch one in any water. If you only know how to catch fish in
> a 3-foot deep pond, don't be surprised to starve by a sea.
Well spoken! :-)

With facts and quarrel I referred only to the arguments about OS'es so far (that's why I changed the subject, btw). If we look how industrial design has matured, we may expect the same kind of maturity of education related to UxD in the future. I expect that common scientific and process related knowledge will be easier to connect to the UxD practice and we spend less time quarreling about OS'es. Discussions focussed on authority will be less of a factor as it is now.

Simon

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25 Jun 2006 - 11:57am
Dan Saffer
2003

On Jun 25, 2006, at 9:37 AM, Simon Asselbergs wrote:

> With facts and quarrel I referred only to the arguments about OS'es
> so far

No one is quarreling over OSes. I was curious as to Jack's statement
about Windows 3.1 being a benchmark in UI history because I've never
heard it spoken of as such. His answer about Microsoft VB was
illuminating (to me anyway), because I hadn't thought of it as such.
I had been thinking of the UI itself, not the means by which they are
made. It's a different perspective, one that has nothing to do with
which OS is better.

> I expect that common scientific and process related knowledge will
> be easier to connect to the UxD practice and we spend less time
> quarreling about OS'es.

I hope that interaction design never becomes solely about science
(cognitive and computer?) and processes (?) to the exclusion of art
and innovation.

Dan

25 Jun 2006 - 12:15pm
Mark Schraad
2006

>
> No one is quarreling over OSes. I was curious as to Jack's statement
> about Windows 3.1 being a benchmark in UI history because I've never
> heard it spoken of as such.
>
>

I am pretty sure that very little of microsoft's interface work have
ever been considered benchmarks by anyone other than microsoft.

>> I expect that common scientific and process related knowledge will
>> be easier to connect to the UxD practice and we spend less time
>> quarreling about OS's.
>>
>
> I hope that interaction design never becomes solely about science
> (cognitive and computer?) and processes (?) to the exclusion of art
> and innovation.
>
>

Maybe this is semantics, but I don't get where art comes into play.
If by art you mean the visual presentation (pure form) I could not
agree more,but thatis a much broader use of the term 'art' than I am
comfortable with. The flexibility in appearance (skins) and even
workflow logic preferences as they cater to behavioral and cultural
differences are concerned is what brings ultimately helps to bring
pleasurability to the experience.

Mark

25 Jun 2006 - 12:16pm
Mark Schraad
2006

>
> SA> Why waste any time about historical facts and ideological
> SA> quarrels? Let's focus on the perspective of users on usable
> SA> software products of today.
>
>

History (as in previous OS's) is of course important to keep in
recall. But further discussion or debates as to the worth of outmoded
technology does seem a bit of a waste of energy. The advantages and
penetrations of current OS's is pretty obvious. For those trying to
catch up... there are plenty of books, articles and blogs that cover
the topic.

What seems an obvious advantage in OS held by Apple is likely short
lived. They have a few years to capitalize on their duplicity and
superior user experience. At some point the browser will be the OS,
and we will be dealing with yet another debate (my browser vs. your
browser) as applications will be undoubtedly developed, tested and
delivered online. Once that happens, we will have real time
monitoring of behaviors, be able to assess the good and bad for
targeted audiences in real time and make corrections instantaneously.
Agility is the key.

Designers need to stop driving through the rear view mirror, listen
to users and work in parallel with cognitive and behavioral
researchers, the executive level and developers.

Mark

25 Jun 2006 - 12:53pm
Dan Saffer
2003

On Jun 25, 2006, at 10:09 AM, Mark Schraad wrote:
>
> Maybe this is semantics, but I don't get where art comes into play.

I'm not talking about Art with a capital A, the self-expression sort
of Art. I'm talking about an art: an activity that has a method or
methods towards a goal. Craft is another word for it in English.

Science is about the repeatable. Using X will always get you Y.
Interaction design isn't like that--there's an artistry to it. While
there are certainly best practices, you can't repeat the same
interface over and over and achieve the same results. The Mosaic
browser was a great example of IxD, but if I told you to install it
now, you'd laugh at me. Interaction design, at least how I practice
it, can't be done formulaically. I often have no idea what the
outcome will be of the design process, as opposed to science, where
you are typically testing a hypothesis.

Dan

25 Jun 2006 - 1:04pm
Mark Schraad
2006

Thanks for the clarification Dan - and for the most part I would
agree with you. Surely the balance between reliability and validity
is one of the most engaging challenges we face. You can't optimize
both as there is inherent conflict. I do not think I am so much
formulaic in my User Experience design currently. Heuristic
evaluation is a form of corner cutting that so often obscures
wonderful opportunities. I may be forced, however, to make such
concessions more frequently as I am about to enter a more corporate
world.

Mark

On Jun 25, 2006, at 12:53 PM, Dan Saffer wrote:

> Science is about the repeatable. Using X will always get you Y.
> Interaction design isn't like that--there's an artistry to it.

25 Jun 2006 - 1:34pm
Simon Asselbergs
2005

Summary:
* If we weren't empathic to people, we didn't need users of software.
* If there was no science, there were most probably no computers to begin with, hence no interaction design.
* If there was no art, software would still communicating of how programmers conceive computer systems.
* UxD Knowledge and experience (both either generalistic or specific) is important, when used wisely (which is hard to agree upon, designers shouldn't agree to much :-p ).
* In the end hands must be made dirty to make the world a better place.

Does this sound like a consensus? :-p

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25 Jun 2006 - 2:36pm
Jay Morgan
2006

odannyboy wrote:
Science is about the repeatable. Using X will always get you Y.
Like, "Using platitudes will always get you less meaning than you
intend"? Fortunately,
the world doesn't bend to the way you define it here. No need to
pigeon-hole or discount other practices in defense. Don't worry - there's
taking your skill away from you. It's better when you mix chocolate and
peanut butter.
Craft, yes. There's an artistry to most human and animal endeavors. It's
what makes the daily parts of life so beautiful. You might say the artistry
in scientific research is in crafting questions. There are a few good
questions yet to be formed and asked here.

- Jay

On 6/25/06, Dan Saffer <dan at odannyboy.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
>
> On Jun 25, 2006, at 10:09 AM, Mark Schraad wrote:
> >
> > Maybe this is semantics, but I don't get where art comes into play.
>
> I'm not talking about Art with a capital A, the self-expression sort
> of Art. I'm talking about an art: an activity that has a method or
> methods towards a goal. Craft is another word for it in English.
>
> Science is about the repeatable. Using X will always get you Y.
> Interaction design isn't like that--there's an artistry to it. While
> there are certainly best practices, you can't repeat the same
> interface over and over and achieve the same results. The Mosaic
> browser was a great example of IxD, but if I told you to install it
> now, you'd laugh at me. Interaction design, at least how I practice
> it, can't be done formulaically. I often have no idea what the
> outcome will be of the design process, as opposed to science, where
> you are typically testing a hypothesis.
>
> Dan
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
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> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

--
_________________________________
Jay A. Morgan
jayamorgan at gmail.com

25 Jun 2006 - 3:13pm
Dan Saffer
2003

On Jun 25, 2006, at 12:36 PM, Jay Morgan wrote:

> odannyboy wrote:
> Science is about the repeatable. Using X will always get you Y.
> Like, "Using platitudes will always get you less meaning than you
> intend"? Fortunately, the world doesn't bend to the way you define
> it here.

So the scientific method (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Scientific_method)

"Scientific researchers propose specific hypotheses as explanations
of natural phenomena, and design experimental studies that test these
predictions for accuracy. These steps are repeated in order to make
increasingly dependable predictions of future results."

is now a platitude?

> No need to pigeon-hole or discount other practices in defense.
> Don't worry - there's taking your skill away from you. It's better
> when you mix chocolate and peanut butter.

Why did you think this was an attack on science? I never said we
shouldn't use science in our work--cognitive psychology being the
prime example. I was distinguishing science from art. Interaction
designers use both IMHO. My point was that I never want to see
interaction design reduced to ONLY a science, as some (see Nielsen,
Jakob) have attempted to do.

Dan

25 Jun 2006 - 6:04pm
Simon Asselbergs
2005

> Why did you think this was an attack on science? I never said we
> shouldn't use science in our work--cognitive psychology being the
> prime example. I was distinguishing science from art. Interaction
> designers use both IMHO. My point was that I never want to see
> interaction design reduced to ONLY a science, as some (see Nielsen,
> Jakob) have attempted to do.
>
> Dan

I agree that _only science_ is a very bad thing for UxD. I think it will be nearly impossible to create a nice user experiences with only science. It is also building something which addresses visual appeal as a integral part of the users'experience. As I see it it is also important to start fresh in newer changed world and let young people with bright fresh minds cross contaminate (in the positive sense) the worlds of science, art and technology. When I was a freshman in Interaction Design by reading "being digital" of Nicholas Negroponte. To me it made me see art (many definitions appliable) is relevant to Science and to our field, the same goes for society relevant issues.

If someone thinks these should be seperated or one is more important than the other by definition, I think I will need a very thorough explanation, because I have difficulties to see them seperated.

Norman and Nielssen are very important to my profession, but they aren't my compass. I am more interested in bright ideas from younger generations, people of my age. Ofcourse all the groundwork and experience from people like Norman and Nielssen is important. However the more people use their authority and make us listen without questioning (then we are equally stupid), the more we are denying the opportunities to advance our discpline. Ego's are boring, original ideas are inspiring, whether in art, science or technology.

Simon

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25 Jun 2006 - 6:34pm
Jay Morgan
2006

platitude == "Science is about the repeatable. Using X will always get you
Y."
It sounds dangerously close to things like "art is about color", "art is
about form", and so forth. Nice try, but it's clear that "Science is about
the reapatable," is not the same as a definition of the scientific method.
Nor does a written definition of art or science capture what happens. Even
if a process is repeated, the context and perspectives change every time.

I appreciate your response. The first post didn't read like an attack. The
way you described/defined art and science just doesn't work. We do use
both, yes - but let's not pretend that we can draw lines around them with
capitalization. Lucky for us, we don't have to distinguish between which
one we're using and when.

-Jay

On 6/25/06, Dan Saffer <dan at odannyboy.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
>
> On Jun 25, 2006, at 12:36 PM, Jay Morgan wrote:
>
> > odannyboy wrote:
> > Science is about the repeatable. Using X will always get you Y.
> > Like, "Using platitudes will always get you less meaning than you
> > intend"? Fortunately, the world doesn't bend to the way you define
> > it here.
>
> So the scientific method (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
> Scientific_method)
>
> "Scientific researchers propose specific hypotheses as explanations
> of natural phenomena, and design experimental studies that test these
> predictions for accuracy. These steps are repeated in order to make
> increasingly dependable predictions of future results."
>
> is now a platitude?
>
> > No need to pigeon-hole or discount other practices in defense.
> > Don't worry - there's taking your skill away from you. It's better
> > when you mix chocolate and peanut butter.
>
> Why did you think this was an attack on science? I never said we
> shouldn't use science in our work--cognitive psychology being the
> prime example. I was distinguishing science from art. Interaction
> designers use both IMHO. My point was that I never want to see
> interaction design reduced to ONLY a science, as some (see Nielsen,
> Jakob) have attempted to do.
>
> Dan
>
>
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
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> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

--
_________________________________
Jay A. Morgan
jayamorgan at gmail.com

25 Jun 2006 - 7:29pm
jbellis
2005

Dan,
My point is that Win3x enabled the better part of a billion people to
harness the power of the 16(?)-bit microprocessor. The command line didn't;
the character-based interfaces of the 80's didn't; and the Mac interface
didn't. That's the benchmark I'm talking about, one of distributing the
greatest quantity of user friendliness, not one of "greatest user
friendliness within each experience." The VB comment was just an analogy on
the software creation side, as opposed to usage.

www.jackBellis.com,
www.UsabilityInstitute.com
www.WorkAtHomeWednesday.com
www.selfishmoralism.com
----- Original Message -----
From: "Dan Saffer" <dan at odannyboy.com>
>
> No one is quarreling over OSes. I was curious as to Jack's statement
> about Windows 3.1 being a benchmark in UI history because I've never
> heard it spoken of as such. His answer about Microsoft VB was
>

26 Jun 2006 - 7:13am
Todd Warfel
2003

On Jun 25, 2006, at 12:37 PM, Simon Asselbergs wrote:
> With facts and quarrel I referred only to the arguments about OS'es
> so far (that's why I changed the subject, btw). If we look how
> industrial design has matured, we may expect the same kind of
> maturity of education related to UxD in the future.

And then looking at the auto industry as an example. While there have
been innovations in safety, innovations in gas mileage after 100
years are pretty behind the times.

Cheers!

Todd R. Warfel
Partner, Design & Usability Specialist
Messagefirst | designing and usability consulting
--------------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (607) 339-9640
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
--------------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

26 Jun 2006 - 7:19am
Todd Warfel
2003

On Jun 25, 2006, at 12:57 PM, Dan Saffer wrote:
>> I expect that common scientific and process related knowledge will
>> be easier to connect to the UxD practice and we spend less time
>> quarreling about OS'es.
>
> I hope that interaction design never becomes solely about science
> (cognitive and computer?) and processes (?) to the exclusion of art
> and innovation.

Alexa: What's this?

Scientist: An apple. Just look at the chemical compound.
Scientifically speaking, it's an apple.

Alexa: Um, it looks like styrofoam and feels kind of squishy.

Scientist: Never mind how it looks and feels, it's got the same
chemical compound as an apple without the seeds or core. We've
genetically engineered a "better" apple.

Alexa: Uh, huh. Can I just get a non-genetically engineered apple,
the way nature made it?

Cheers!

Todd R. Warfel
Partner, Design & Usability Specialist
Messagefirst | designing and usability consulting
--------------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (607) 339-9640
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
--------------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

26 Jun 2006 - 7:22am
Todd Warfel
2003

On Jun 25, 2006, at 1:15 PM, Mark Schraad wrote:
> I am pretty sure that very little of microsoft's interface work have
> ever been considered benchmarks by anyone other than microsoft.

As a matter of fact, one of the students I trained on usability and
design at Cornell got an internship at MS a 3-4 years ago in their
usability labs (not sure for which product). He was guaranteed a job
after the internship by the person who hired him. The team he worked
with delivered their findings to the engineering team. The
engineering team ignored them and actually threw them in the trash.
At the end of his internship, he turned down the job offer, because
he didn't want to work at a company where the engineering team
ignored the usability test findings.

Not that every team at MS is like this, but there's at least one.

Cheers!

Todd R. Warfel
Partner, Design & Usability Specialist
Messagefirst | designing and usability consulting
--------------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (607) 339-9640
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
--------------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

26 Jun 2006 - 7:24am
Todd Warfel
2003

On Jun 25, 2006, at 2:34 PM, Simon Asselbergs wrote:
> * If there was no science, there were most probably no computers to
> begin with, hence no interaction design.

Except that this isn't correct. We'd still have interaction design
(interaction with other non-computer products and services), we just
wouldn't have HCI.

Cheers!

Todd R. Warfel
Partner, Design & Usability Specialist
Messagefirst | designing and usability consulting
--------------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (607) 339-9640
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
--------------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

26 Jun 2006 - 7:27am
Mark Schraad
2006

Todd,

You are spot on. Interaction design and design thinking is applicable
in so many places beyond computers, electronics and cell phones.
There is real opportunity outside of tech!

Mark

>> * If there was no science, there were most probably no computers to
>> begin with, hence no interaction design.
>
> Except that this isn't correct. We'd still have interaction design
> (interaction with other non-computer products and services), we just
> wouldn't have HCI.

26 Jun 2006 - 7:43am
Elizabeth Buie
2004

Mark Schraad writes:

> They [Apple] have a few years to capitalize on their
> duplicity and superior user experience.

Mark, would you say more about the "duplicity" to which you refer? I am
not aware that Apple has been duplicitous.

Elizabeth

--
Elizabeth Buie
Principal Usability Specialist
Director of Interaction Design
UserWorks, Inc.

26 Jun 2006 - 7:56am
Mark Schraad
2006

Elizabeth,

In my haste (weekend comment) I used the wrong word. What I meant to
say was regarding their ability to make use of more than one
operating system. My reference was to the OSX and Windows, but should
have also included linux I suppose. I did not mean to imply deception
in this context.

Mark

> Mark Schraad writes:
>
>> They [Apple] have a few years to capitalize on their
>> duplicity and superior user experience.
>
> Mark, would you say more about the "duplicity" to which you refer?
> I am
> not aware that Apple has been duplicitous.
>
> Elizabeth
>
> --
> Elizabeth Buie
> Principal Usability Specialist
> Director of Interaction Design
> UserWorks, Inc.
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26 Jun 2006 - 7:57am
Simon Asselbergs
2005

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Todd Warfel" <lists op toddwarfel.com>
> To: "Simon Asselbergs" <interaction-designer op lycos.com>
> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] windows 3.x vs MacOs
> Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2006 08:13:10 -0400
>
>
> On Jun 25, 2006, at 12:37 PM, Simon Asselbergs wrote:
> > With facts and quarrel I referred only to the arguments about
> > OS'es so far (that's why I changed the subject, btw). If we look
> > how industrial design has matured, we may expect the same kind
> > of maturity of education related to UxD in the future.
>
>
> And then looking at the auto industry as an example. While there
> have been innovations in safety, innovations in gas mileage after
> 100 years are pretty behind the times.

Gee, there is always something to complain about. This list is about usability.

As with concern with the auto industry dashboards are pretty usable these days. Software user interfaces willl yet have to meet the same high heterogeneous usability level.

Can someone else come up with something to complain about usability unrelated stuff? Lets pollute this mailing list with innovations is gas milage and freaking OS quarrels!$%^$#$%

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26 Jun 2006 - 8:08am
Elizabeth Buie
2004

Mark Schraad writes:

> What I
> meant to say was regarding their ability to make use of more
> than one operating system.

Thanks, Mark. Now it makes sense. :-)

Elizabeth

--
Elizabeth Buie
Principal Usability Specialist
Director of Interaction Design
UserWorks, Inc.

26 Jun 2006 - 8:24am
Todd Warfel
2003

On Jun 26, 2006, at 8:50 AM, Simon Asselbergs wrote:
> [...]Gee, there is always something to complain about. This list is
> about usability.
>
> As with concern with the auto industry dashboards are pretty usable
> these days. Software user interfaces willl yet have to meet the
> same high heterogeneous usability level.
>
> Can someone else come up with something to complain about usability
> unrelated stuff? Lets pollute this mailing list with innovations is
> gas milage and freaking OS quarrels!$%^$#$%

Having done some work in this area and recently gone through two auto
purchases, I can tell you you'd be surprised at the variance in
dashboards and other information systems inside the car. Most have
the standard speedometer and gas gauge, but outside of that, there's
an entire spectrum of differences. The challenge in the auto industry
is that there are other related industries that are advancing (e.g.
iPod) and consumers want to integrate those into the auto experience.
This presents particular safety challenges.

During some of my recent research, I've found that due to how people
drive the car, the placement of their hands, arms, etc. some items
are difficult if not impossible to see. For instance, due to the
placement of a driver's hands on the wheel, they can't see the gas
gauge. And since cars need gas, that's a problem. Can this be fixed?
Sure, it's pretty easy actually. But the problem is real and it exists.

While we don't have heads up displays, some of the newer dashboards,
the Toyota Prius for example, have most of the displays all the way
up by the windshield. That's a huge improvement. You don't have to
look down nearly as far to check your speed and other important
information. Now, the way you start and stop the Prius is very
different from any other car, so that's a usability and interaction
problem in itself.

Usability is a relative term. Cars are technically usable, but that
space has a ways to go before it becomes a truly great usable
experience. And as related industries continue to advance (e.g.
infotainment), this increases challenges for the auto industry (e.g.
how to integrate iPods w/o causing safety issues).

I could go on and on about the auto space. There's a real need there.

Cheers!

Todd R. Warfel
Partner, Design & Usability Specialist
Messagefirst | designing and usability consulting
--------------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (607) 339-9640
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
--------------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

26 Jun 2006 - 8:41am
Dan Saffer
2003

On Jun 26, 2006, at 5:57 AM, Simon Asselbergs wrote:

> This list is about usability.
>

No it isn't. As has been said here many times before, usability is
but one aspect of interaction design. Usefulness is another, as is
desirability, efficiency, and a bunch of other characteristics that
make up good interaction design.

Dan Saffer
Sr. Interaction Designer, Adaptive Path
http://www.adaptivepath.com
http://www.odannyboy.com

26 Jun 2006 - 10:11am
Simon Asselbergs
2005

> > This list is about usability.
> No it isn't. As has been said here many times before, usability is
> but one aspect of interaction design. Usefulness is another, as is
> desirability, efficiency, and a bunch of other characteristics that
> make up good interaction design.

Sorry I did put it so short, I was so mindless that to forget to carefully formulate.

Let me rephrase in a more civil and correct manner: this list is about interaction design. Very detailed but subjective views on very large topics which deserve to be discussed on other lists and not invite others to their discussion, should be avoided on this list because of their trolling/inflamatory factor.

Disclosure
This is my opinion. If I am the only one, then do not pay attention to me saying it, I won't say it again.

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27 Jun 2006 - 1:52am
Simon Asselbergs
2005

>>> If we look how industrial design has matured, we may expect
>>> the same kind of maturity of education related to UxD in the future. -- Simon

>> And then looking at the auto industry as an example. While there
>> have been innovations in safety, innovations in gas mileage after
>> 100 years are pretty behind the times. --Todd Warfel

> Simon, based on what? Or are you saying compared to say a bicycle?
> With all due respect, this sounds more like an opinion than informed fact.
> I can argue extensively against cars being hitech, usable, comfortable homes
> on the road. Having looked at how people are using cars, the interior space,
> etc. I can tell you for fact this isn't true. --Todd Warfel

I said I think future interaction design will be as mature as
industrial design now is. It will hard and pretty pointless to have facts for that
expression. And ofcourse I have none. For that kind of expressions I
will need never any facts.

My perception is that there is so incredibly lot to improve on sofware to get that
same comfortable control of cars, there is a long way to go. I had this opinion in
a certain context of the earlier message and I am not going to start another thread.
It is becoming boring.

--Simon

--
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27 Jun 2006 - 7:43am
Todd Warfel
2003

On Jun 27, 2006, at 2:52 AM, Simon Asselbergs wrote:

> I said I think future interaction design will be as mature as
> industrial design now is. It will hard and pretty pointless to have
> facts for that expression. And ofcourse I have none. [...]
>
> My perception is that there is so incredibly lot to improve on
> sofware to get that same comfortable control of cars, there is a
> long way to go.[...] --Simon

Industrial design is a type of interaction design. There is
interaction between person and an object, service, product, etc. So,
I'll have to assume that you're comparing software interface design
to hardware controls on a vehicle.

As far as input and control devices for automobile driving and
computing, both have input control devices:
* steering wheel = mouse
* gas/brake/clutch = keyboard
* stick shift = ? (perhaps if we get to two handed inputs, like
Minority Report...)

On one hand you have an environment that takes a minimum of two
devices (mouse and keyboard typically) to manipulate. On the other
you have no less than four (gas, brake, steering wheel, auto/manual
shift). Now if automobiles didn't require me to put them in park, or
select drive, but they were auto on, like my PowerBook, then we'd be
down to three.

Looking at dashboard consoles alone, it's pretty easy to argue we
have a long way to go towards comfort, safety and convenience.

Both environments have a long way to go, IMHO. I just fail to see
where industrial design in cars is so far ahead of interface design
in computing systems. After all, many cars have computer interfaces
today (e.g. on board computers, in car navigation, infotainment
systems).

I'm really curious, since I'm doing some research in the automotive
space, what your thoughts are on how hardware controls/industrial
design/interaction design in autos is so far ahead of the software
industry. Granted, the automobile industry has had 100 years or so,
while the computer industry has had about 30. However, can you site
some examples?

Cheers!

Todd R. Warfel
Partner, Design & Usability Specialist
Messagefirst | designing and usability consulting
--------------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (607) 339-9640
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
--------------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

27 Jun 2006 - 6:28pm
Simon Asselbergs
2005

> I'm really curious, since I'm doing some research in the automotive
> space, what your thoughts are on how hardware controls/industrial
> design/interaction design in autos is so far ahead of the software
> industry. Granted, the automobile industry has had 100 years or so,
> while the computer industry has had about 30. However, can you site
> some examples?

How often drivers are looking for controls to perform the most crucial functions on daily usage?
How often users of software are looking for controls to perform the most crucial functions on daily usage?
If it wasn't so easy to perform the most crucial functions of a car while concentrating on the traffic I would not be surpised to see so many more collisions.

How good is the feedback of a car? I'll hear the engine running and that sound can tell me alot about the condition of the car. I can relate the pressure on my foot with what I hear and see. This kind of realworld tactileness is still hard to find in software.

Now that cars are infected with hightec, software userinterfaces, joysticks and all kinds of little devices comes into play. Ofcourse this means adding complexity. But the normal average car I find more comfort and richer feedback than most pieces of bits and bytes.

Cheers,

Simon

"Usefulness of elegance by simplicity is easy to forget" -- Simon Asselbergs
"True innovation is redefining simplicity" -- Simon Asselbergs

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27 Jun 2006 - 8:18pm
Todd Warfel
2003

One of the largest differences here is the limited use of a vehicle
(e.g. travel, pleasure) vs. the multi-faceted use of a computer (e.g.
editing photos, email, reading books, surfing the web, word
processing, spreadsheets). So, an apples to apples comparison isn't
really appropriate. However, the notion of the driver not need to
know all the underpinnings of the vehicle to operate it is appropriate.

In some cases, we've moved backwards in the software industry (the
first Macs were seen more as a word processor - I want to write a
paper). Now it's nearly impossible for a person using the computer to
be unaware of the operating system. Hopefully, we'll get back there
one day.

Cheers!

Todd R. Warfel
Partner, Design & Usability Specialist
Messagefirst | designing and usability consulting
--------------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (607) 339-9640
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
--------------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

On Jun 27, 2006, at 7:28 PM, Simon Asselbergs wrote:

> How often drivers are looking for controls to perform the most
> crucial functions on daily usage?
> How often users of software are looking for controls to perform the
> most crucial functions on daily usage?
> If it wasn't so easy to perform the most crucial functions of a car
> while concentrating on the traffic I would not be surpised to see
> so many more collisions.

28 Jun 2006 - 11:10am
Oleh Kovalchuke
2006

Todd Warfel wrote: "In some cases, we've moved backwards in the software
industry (the first Macs were seen more as a word processor - I want to
write a paper). Now it's nearly impossible for a person using the computer
to be unaware of the operating system. Hopefully, we'll get back there one
day."

Funny, I am reading 'The Salmon of Doubt' (http://tinyurl.com/k3hzn* *) and
Douglas Adams is complaining about exactly the same issue with Macs. I
wouldn't say the book is required reading for an interaction designer, but
it does have quite a few insightful design comments and like majority of
Norman's writings it puts you in the right, user-sympathetic frame mind.
Funny too.

--
Oleh Kovalchuke
Interaction Design is Design of Time
http://www.tangospring.com/IxDtopicWhatIsInteractionDesign.htm

On 6/27/06, Todd Warfel <lists at toddwarfel.com> wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> One of the largest differences here is the limited use of a vehicle
> (e.g. travel, pleasure) vs. the multi-faceted use of a computer (e.g.
> editing photos, email, reading books, surfing the web, word
> processing, spreadsheets). So, an apples to apples comparison isn't
> really appropriate. However, the notion of the driver not need to
> know all the underpinnings of the vehicle to operate it is appropriate.
>
> In some cases, we've moved backwards in the software industry (the
> first Macs were seen more as a word processor - I want to write a
> paper). Now it's nearly impossible for a person using the computer to
> be unaware of the operating system. Hopefully, we'll get back there
> one day.
>
> Cheers!
>
> Todd R. Warfel
> Partner, Design & Usability Specialist
> Messagefirst | designing and usability consulting
> --------------------------------------
> Contact Info
> Voice: (607) 339-9640
> Email: todd at messagefirst.com
> AIM: twarfel at mac.com
> Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
> --------------------------------------
> In theory, theory and practice are the same.
> In practice, they are not.
>
>
> On Jun 27, 2006, at 7:28 PM, Simon Asselbergs wrote:
>
> > How often drivers are looking for controls to perform the most
> > crucial functions on daily usage?
> > How often users of software are looking for controls to perform the
> > most crucial functions on daily usage?
> > If it wasn't so easy to perform the most crucial functions of a car
> > while concentrating on the traffic I would not be surpised to see
> > so many more collisions.
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
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