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Re: A really good article on software usability

On Sat, 2007-01-06 at 02:17 +1030, Tim wrote:

> > For a lot of things, software should work like an appliance.  If the
> > thing that needs to be done can be predicted, just do it without
> > offering any choices.  Doesn't work for everything of course...
> Therein lay the rub...  That approach is often applied to things that do
> get used in different ways.

The most likely/useful way should be the default and you should
have some way to change the default.  If it is something you
will use repeatedly you shouldn't have to deal with the settings
every time.

> One my pet peeves is inadequate explanations.  For instance, I never use
> the "synchonise" option on various software, because it doesn't explain
> what's going to happen.

Again, I'll point to podcast subscriptions->itunes<->ipod as an
excellent example.  There's a place where you set up the actions
but to repeat them you just plug in the connector.  And the synch
operation does what you are likely to want, including maintaining
your position in a partially-listened item.

> Are the files that are not on the server going to be wiped off the
> client, so they're the same?  Or vice versa?  Are the two going to be
> made so that they both contain the same, adding what's missing on the
> opposite?

There are lots of ways to do things wrong.  You probably aren't
going to increase the chances of doing it right by offering more
choices that no one will want or letting the user select things
he doesn't understand.

  Les Mikesell
   lesmikesell gmail com

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