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Re: Info sucks?

On Thu, Sep 17, 1998 at 10:35:42AM +1000, Tim Bell wrote:
> Quoting john@dhh.gt.org (john@dhh.gt.org):
> > Avery writes:
> > > To put it clearly: people who call _any_ text-mode Unix program's UI
> > > intuitive need to have their head seriously examined...
> > 
> > Anyone who calls *any* UI intuitive needs to have his head seriously
> > examined.
> Stepping out of the computer world for a moment, *some* doorknobs have
> intuitive UIs.  (And far too many do not.)
> "The Psychology of Everyday Things" contains lots of examples of UIs,
> both good and bad, and the principles behind them.  I would go so far as
> to say it should be compulsory reading for anyone designing any tool, be
> it an editor or a pen.
> @Book{,
>   author =       {Donald A. Norman},
>   title =        {The Psychology of Everyday Things},
>   publisher =    {Basic Books},
>   year =         {1988},
>   address =      {New York},
> }

	Woo-hoo!  Glad someone brought the book up!  

	Anyways, the fuel the Norman side of the argument, calling the UI
intuitive is a misnomer.  Norman (and I) argue that the UI is the
designers communication with the user, and has certain cultural
	To put the argument simply, the user and the designer share
certain cultural expectations about how the UI should work.  It is the
designers job to implement those conventions and to add new functionality
based around those conventions.  i.e., my research system is a complex UI
to a group problem solving system.  We have logs showing users trying to
double-click on items when they first sit down at the system, even though
nothing in the documentation or system mentions or responds to a
	Therefore, if I were to implement a text-based UI, I would follow
the key bindings that emacs follows or vi follows.  This would follow the
cultural norms we've come to expect, and could almost be called intuitive

	The test for intuitiveness would be how far you can get by in the
system without referencing a manual or help function, I guess ... :)


"It is by will alone I set my mind in motion"

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