Flutterby™! : ease of use

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ease of use

2000-09-22 23:14:14+00 by Dan Lyke 3 comments

Via Camworld, The Ideology of Ease asks how we push users beyond "ease of use", exploring issues that many of us have been screaming about for a while: "...the drive to make computers easy to use has made it possible to use a computer without knowing how to manipulate the files located on it. While this doesn't have a huge consequence for day-to-day computing in a single location, my experiences with NWE students make clear that the absence of generalized knowledge (in this case, file management) can be very disempowering. and Ultimately, the ideology of ease, perhaps because of the financial interests of those who benefit from it, is instrumental in the maintenance of a "digital divide" of computing into digital "haves" and "have nots." Because ease is structured as an end in itself, not as a means to an end, those who embrace ease may not be able to move past it -- insuring under-achievement. So when a programmer screams and hollers about a user interface change, they're probably just a little more foresightful than you, and are doing it for your own good. And when they cave and say "well, okay", that's akin to the parent in the grocery store buying a candy bar in response to a toddler's tantrum.

[ related topics: Cameron Barrett Web development User Interface ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:19+00 by: drouse

I'm not sure I buy into the "programer knows best" idea, but the whole ease thing is pretty valid. Maybe there is ease (wizards) and usability (standardized interfaces) -- programmers should fight against ease but not usability. Of course usability doesn't always mean a GUI, I found the command line rc5des client 'easier' to set up than the GUI ver

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:19+00 by: Dan Lyke

I think usability and learning curve are entirely different concepts, and most software is optimized towards learning curve, which means that true functionality, and therefore long-term usability, suffers. I've spent the last few in installer hell, and if users were required to understand things like filesystems and such life would just be so[Wiki] much easier.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:19+00 by: drouse

I know guys who have done the installer thing, and you have my sympathy. I also agree that MS and Apple oversell the 'ease' of thier respective filesystems and the interfaces to them. A lot of people never really learn all the cool, non-loosing things that can get done. Then they delete MS Word when they are cleaning out old files.