Switching hardware vs software

20 Apr 2005 - 1:01pm
9 years ago
2 replies
674 reads
Anirudha Joshi
2003

Jared Spool <Mastery of these tools comes with a high price. Mastery of
more than one tool is an even higher price, often because much of
mastery is contained in kinesthetic memory ("finger macros") and other
cognitive shortcuts that make it hard to overcome.>

I agree with Jared there. I advise design students (IxD students in
particular, but also visual communication design students) not to get
'locked in' too early to one tool. One reason to 'force' a designer to
try another tool is to let him have the opportunity to open-mindedly try
something new.

We have noticed similar behaviour more strongly in use of hardware -
mobile phone and laptop models.

But here I would like to differentiate between the 'low-level finger
macros' (what I call 'micro-interface') that determines the 'speed of
use' and the high-level understanding of the conceptual model that
determines 'ease of use'. I believe that in case of 'professional use
software' such as Freehand and Illustrator, things like task flow and
ability to plan and execute matter a lot - and conceptual models tend to
be similar. And over time and versions, much of micro interface
gravitates to popular options (Control ^ S for Save). Apple publishing
user interface guidelines in the mid-80s helped this process along a
lot.

In case of similar software products, we have limited hardware (mouse,
stylus, touch pad, keyboard, monitor). In case of similar hardware
products, the hardware can be different (e.g. a phone that folds vs. a
phone that does not, or worse - switching from a 2 soft button mobile
phone to a 3 soft button mobile phone).

What I am saying here is - it is easier to switch between similar
software products than it is to switch between similar hardware
products. Comments?

Anirudha

Comments

20 Apr 2005 - 2:20am
Anonymous

Hello All,
Anirudha wrote:

> In case of similar software products, we have limited hardware (mouse,
> stylus, touch pad, keyboard, monitor). In case of similar hardware
> products, the hardware can be different (e.g. a phone that folds vs. a
> phone that does not, or worse - switching from a 2 soft button mobile
> phone to a 3 soft button mobile phone).

I believe that in case of 'professional use
> software' such as Freehand and Illustrator, things like task flow and
> ability to plan and execute matter a lot - and conceptual models tend to
> be similar.

Few points that come to my mind:

Designers/developers v/s end users - the ability to switch (s/w or h/w) is
diffrent for both.

Speed of use v/s ease of use - speed of use doesn't necessarily reflect ease
of use, with time users tend to develop a kinesthetic memory for event the
worst interfaces.

Even in case of similar s/w products the underlying 'conceptual model' or
what I call "software philosopy" may be completely diffrent, for ex. one s/w
may be layer base while other may be object base, and another may support
both.
The point being, be h/w or s/w ease of switch between products depends
heavly on the underlying philosophy of the s/w. Even in h/w products it is
the s/w that the users interact with in the end. So if their is a major
change in the s/w, of a lets say a mobile, even when the h/w interface is
kept the same people will find it difficult to switch.
Task flows and the ability to plan and execute are also interwoven with
some software philosophy or the other, and switching philosophy is never the
same, no matter how good the new prodct is.
Vikram
National Institute of Design

20 Apr 2005 - 1:17am
SubhanM.Ali ( S...
2005

its not easier.
but it can be said that it is not difficult.. (there a slight difference)
say adobe or macromedia products all have this kind of interface that we are talkin about.

or even corel allowing to simulate illustrator workspace... its not that easy, but definitely it does improve the understanding of how to use the tools

: : Subh at n

-

In case of similar software products, we have limited hardware (mouse,
stylus, touch pad, keyboard, monitor). In case of similar hardware
products, the hardware can be different (e.g. a phone that folds vs. a
phone that does not, or worse - switching from a 2 soft button mobile
phone to a 3 soft button mobile phone).

What I am saying here is - it is easier to switch between similar
software products than it is to switch between similar hardware
products. Comments?

Anirudha

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