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Re: A really good article on software usability
- From: William Case <billlinux rogers com>
- To: hlhowell pacbell net, For users of Fedora <fedora-list redhat com>
- Subject: Re: A really good article on software usability
- Date: Fri, 05 Jan 2007 12:45:07 -0500
Thanks Les for the thought provoking reply.
> Hi, Bill,
> The comments you made prior to the one above were spot on!
> As to the one above, there are lots of innovative things going on in
> Linux, from robotics and artificial intelligence to personal portable
> devices; from CD's and DVD's that will mount and boot with the OS
> running, to the massively parallel computers running up to 1.7 teraflops
> (one being designed is for over 17 teraflops); AI projects that include
> an animated human body, CAM and CASE tools, even stock market predictive
> tools. Music programs, video editing programs, games, distributed
> computing, communications process experiments, and even amature radio
> systems with packet communications are all being done on Linux.
> My personal interest is robotics and stereo vision tools, with some
> interest in radar visualization. So I guess I am wondering what kind of
> radical tools you are thinking about?
> There is a force driving the user interface toward windows and away
> from the CLI, which I think is OK, but the CLI offers much more
> potential for voice interface type systems and is a better model for
> that. Some of the new video interfaces, using cameras to track the
> users body movements or eye movements are good also, and I have not seen
> the video interfaces on Linux yet, but I have no direct interest in that
> form of interface. However, I think if you google video tracking or
> video interface type queries you would find some Linux work going on
> there as well.
> I have not seen natural language translation software either, although
> the number of font packages available would show you the interest in
> Linux world wide, so I think it is safe to believe that such translation
> tools are in development somewhere if not everywhere.
> I also believe that there is a core of interested, participating
> individuals in most colleges, as many schools support the distribution
> of Linux software by hosting archives. Many of the larger schools are
> active in one or more "Linux Labs" where active learning and development
> in Linux take place everyday.
I am going to spend the rest of the afternoon and/or weekend looking for
the projects you mention (just out of curiosity).
> So, what is the interest you have that is not being met at this time?
My main interest would be this current topic. I would like to see more
eye-candy; I would like guis and graphics that would blow users socks
off. I would like to slip between CLI and applications without any
I have some ideas of what my be truly intuitive use of a computer. But
they are only because of personal experience. I would love to see a
sound, factual, scientific basis for those ideas and assumptions.
I would like to see someone address the dualism's that seem inherent in
the general Linux discussion. I would like to see an attempt to meld
various preferred ways of working on a computer.
Take the CLI vs gui debate. The resolution seems simple to me. When
one is familiar with an aspect of computer use, it is easier to just go
to the command, get closer to the metal as it were, and preform tasks
that you know and understand. However, when you come new to a subject
the assistance and visual cues of a gui interface -- redundant emphasis
-- are extremely helpful if not downright necessary.
I belong to a local Lug. Let me tell you, even the most fanatical CLI
users, without giving it a thought, move to the gui when they enter
unfamiliar territory. A musicphopic network manager, does all his
network work on the CLI, but to play an occasional sound he will use the
Back to the main point, I would like to see efforts to get rid of the
desktop metaphor, perhaps, using the new 3D composite capability, so
that people working on one task can make simple clean transitions to
another. I would like to find a site that is experimenting with AI
level context commands (using menus or other means).
In my experience, people have several different ways of understanding
how things work, of learning, of approaching problems. These are no
more than tendencies that we all have. There are probably more than
three. Ask a good grade school teacher. They are mixed in all of us,
but one or the other predominates in individuals. They are:
1) people who are task oriented -- 'show which button to push'.
2) people who are people oriented -- 'why would someone do that'
3) people who are object oriented -- 'explain to me how and why that
I good operating system and applications should have the answer for all
three. I would like to see a site that explores the various types of
computer users, not just the various types of tools.
I would like to find the site of an influential, raving, lunatic that is
always screaming "don't forget the user".
I would like to find a site where consultants can distinguish between a
client (usually the employer) and the user.
I have written far too much. I'll quit.
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