menus, mice, and now even tabs ... (was menubar on Macs)

1 Jul 2004 - 8:30am
10 years ago
5 replies
544 reads
Dave Malouf
2005

Hi JC,

I appreciate you call Andrei to task on his over-generalization.
Tehre are definitely and obviously lots of people who have found comfort in
a singular mouse and top window menubar world.

I think outside of the over-generalization there is a something a bit bigger
at question. So instead of saying an answer, I'll just try to ask the
question.

If you were developing an OS from scratch where you knew about today's uses
of computers what would you do for
1. a menuing system? Would you even have one at all?
a. is there value in having menus contextualized to their primary
tasks?
b. is there value in separating the menu from the window so that
there is only
one possible area for all menus?
c. should this maybe be configurable?
2. mice? 1, 2, 3, or 5 buttons?

This one is harder for me to be objective about, b/c I just don't get the
value of 1 button over two. I don't know how to ask the questions here. I
have been using 5-button mice for so long now (2 standard, 1 wheel button, 2
thumb buttons) that I can't imagine a single button world. That said, you
could always say that less is more, right? I could see that people are used
to 1-button mice and that they feel no need for more. But people are also
still comfortable with B&W TV and don't feel a need for more either.

RE: non-standard interfaces. This is a really interesting question. I don't
believe really too much in the GUI guidelines for the Oses. It seems that
the best interfaces I work with area usually non-compliant w/ these
guidelines b/c they take risks in innovations. Macromedia Interfaces are the
prime example for me. I don't even think that office appps follow the MS XP
guidelines, eh? ... ;)

-- dave

Comments

1 Jul 2004 - 1:26pm
Todd Warfel
2003

The biggest value - watch a novice user or children trying to use a
mouse. They click on the right button often and get lost trying to
figure out what happened. See it quite often.

On Jul 1, 2004, at 9:30 AM, David Heller wrote:

> This one is harder for me to be objective about, b/c I just don't get
> the
> value of 1 button over two.

Cheers!

Todd R. Warfel
User Experience Architect
MessageFirst | making products easier to use
--------------------------------------
Contact Info
voice: (607) 339-9640
email: twarfel at messagefirst.com
web: www.messagefirst.com
aim: twarfel at mac.com
--------------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

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1 Jul 2004 - 1:49pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Wait, cognitive abilities change over age. Abilities to extropolage on new
metaphors is easier at youth, but also limited by experience. That being
said most things made for children are VERY different than for adults.

-- dave

_____

From: Todd R.Warfel [mailto:lists at mk27.com]
Sent: Thursday, July 01, 2004 2:27 PM
To: David Heller
Cc: 'Interaction Designers'
Subject: Re: [ID Discuss] menus, mice, and now even tabs ... (was menubar on
Macs)

The biggest value - watch a novice user or children trying to use a mouse.
They click on the right button often and get lost trying to figure out what
happened. See it quite often.

On Jul 1, 2004, at 9:30 AM, David Heller wrote:

This one is harder for me to be objective about, b/c I just don't get the
value of 1 button over two.

Cheers!

Todd R. Warfel
User Experience Architect
MessageFirst | making products easier to use
--------------------------------------
Contact Info
voice: (607) 339-9640
email: twarfel at messagefirst.com
web: www.messagefirst.com
aim: twarfel at mac.com
--------------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

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9 Jul 2004 - 12:38pm
cfmdesigns
2004

"Todd R.Warfel" <lists at mk27.com> writes:

>On Jul 1, 2004, at 9:30 AM, David Heller wrote:
>
>>This one is harder for me to be objective about, b/c I just don't get the
>>value of 1 button over two.
>
>The biggest value - watch a novice user or children trying to use a
>mouse. They click on the right button often and get lost trying to
>figure out what happened. See it quite often.

In short, the main value of a one-button mouse is for those people
who have limited knowledge or experience (or possible limited need).
I certainly accept this. A parallel can be seen in bicycles,
perhaps: there are regular bikes, 3-speed, 5-speed, 10-speed, and on
up. Most new, inexperienced, or casual riders are fine with stuff in
the lower range; even with a 10-speed, few people use more than a
couple of the settings. There is power and versatility in the higher
ranges, but that isn't needed by most riders.

The bulk of my early mouse experience was on Unix systems, especially
with OpenLook, where the 3 buttons were SAM (Select, Adjust, Menu).
Once I moved to the Mac, context menus weren't available (or at least
weren't common), but they came available/common after a while with a
modifier key -- something I found highly annoying due to having to
acquire both mouse and keyboard to use, so I almost never used them.
I eventually acquired a system which the retailer I ordered it from
included a 2-button mouse. Presto, I suddenly found the power of
context menus again and took a leap up in the "power user" tree.

I equate single-button mice to bikes whose brakes are activated by
moving the pedals backward: you *can* do most everything with them
that you can with one just a little more complex, but some tasks are
harder and thus may not get done as efficiently (or at all).
--

----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
Jim Drew Seattle, WA jdrew at adobe.com
http://home.earthlink.net/~rubberize/Weblog/index.html (Update: 07/07)

9 Jul 2004 - 1:18pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Hi Jim,

Great point ... Different people need different things ... THEN I would
suggest the following ...

An iMac and iBook come w/ a single button mouse and a G5 and Titanium come
w/ a multi-buttoned mouse (I just love the side buttons on my MS Explorer).

This isn't what Apple did though ... That is to me the disturbing part. They
went for the beauty bit real well, but that is not user centered design. It
is matching the right tools to the user ...

Or better ... Do the Dell thing and give options when building your package
and apple.com/store. Now that is what I would like, fer sher.

-- dave

-----Original Message-----
From:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.
com] On Behalf Of Jim Drew
Sent: Friday, July 09, 2004 1:38 PM
To: discuss at interactiondesigners.com
Subject: Re: [ID Discuss] menus, mice,and now even tabs ... (was menubar on
Macs)

"Todd R.Warfel" <lists at mk27.com> writes:

>On Jul 1, 2004, at 9:30 AM, David Heller wrote:
>
>>This one is harder for me to be objective about, b/c I just don't get
>>the value of 1 button over two.
>
>The biggest value - watch a novice user or children trying to use a
>mouse. They click on the right button often and get lost trying to
>figure out what happened. See it quite often.

In short, the main value of a one-button mouse is for those people who have
limited knowledge or experience (or possible limited need).
I certainly accept this. A parallel can be seen in bicycles,
perhaps: there are regular bikes, 3-speed, 5-speed, 10-speed, and on up.
Most new, inexperienced, or casual riders are fine with stuff in the lower
range; even with a 10-speed, few people use more than a couple of the
settings. There is power and versatility in the higher ranges, but that
isn't needed by most riders.

The bulk of my early mouse experience was on Unix systems, especially with
OpenLook, where the 3 buttons were SAM (Select, Adjust, Menu).
Once I moved to the Mac, context menus weren't available (or at least
weren't common), but they came available/common after a while with a
modifier key -- something I found highly annoying due to having to acquire
both mouse and keyboard to use, so I almost never used them.
I eventually acquired a system which the retailer I ordered it from included
a 2-button mouse. Presto, I suddenly found the power of context menus again
and took a leap up in the "power user" tree.

I equate single-button mice to bikes whose brakes are activated by moving
the pedals backward: you *can* do most everything with them that you can
with one just a little more complex, but some tasks are harder and thus may
not get done as efficiently (or at all).
--

----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
Jim Drew Seattle, WA jdrew at adobe.com
http://home.earthlink.net/~rubberize/Weblog/index.html (Update: 07/07)
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12 Jul 2004 - 11:22am
Dave Collins
2004

>I equate single-button mice to bikes whose brakes are activated by
moving the pedals backward: you *can* do most everything with them
that you can with one just a little more complex, but some tasks are
harder and thus may not get done as efficiently (or at all).

One of the ways computers are different from other hardware such as
bikes is in the frequency with- and scope of what- we are required to
relearn. It's great that I've got a mouse that behaves X, right now, but
how long can I count on it remaining so? So many factors apply that are
only somewhat within our control:
- hardware breaking and being replaced,
- finding onesself at a different piece of hardware
- finding ones hardware or software has 'reset', for whatever reason
- doing the same thing on a different piece of software (multiple
permutations here, such as O/S x software app)
(there are so many more, and they're interdependent and cumulative)

All these make relearning how to use a computer device way more
time-consuming than a bike.

Computers have exponentially stepped up the rate at which our
'thing-control' changes, and that is causing learning overload.

(I have given up on so many possibly useful features of my computer
because I simply can't keep them around long enough.)

Dave

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