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TeeJay (2309)

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Working in Truro
Graduate with BSc (Hons) in Computer Systems and Networks
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Journal of TeeJay (2309)

Tuesday April 13, 2004
07:35 AM

windows is not easy ((some) people are just used to it)

[ #18314 ]
on the train to work this week, I listlened as the woman in the chair spent about 25 minutes on her mobile phone trying to instruct her mother how to reply to an email for her using outlook. Now if Windows and Outlook were as intuitive and easy to use as windows evangelists claimed then she would be able to do it quite quickly, after all its one of the simplest desktop applications on a supposedly easy-to-use system.

Of course it was a long and painful process, with much anxiety and gritting of teeth, anybody who has ever tried to guide a windows user through something over the phone will know how very painful it can be. Attempting to describe the windows widgets over the phone, she struggled to get accross what was what. If it was an apple running OS X, then it should have been a little easier - at least the widgets are more recognisable and easier to describe - also clicking on the desktop icon, rather than navigating the start menu would have been easier.

This confirms what I have thought for a long time - windows isn't easy, people are just used to it (its been around since the early 90's in one form or another after all). Next time you hear somebody claim windows is easy to use, ask them to instruct a complete novice (i.e. somebody who has never used a WIMP environment) in doing a basic task like browsing the web or answering email - its very painful for both parties. the end, I think she said that it took 40 minutes! even allowing for the difficulty in communicating over the phone, thats still a long time.

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  • ...computers are just horribly complex things. Nothing about them is really simple. Complete novices don't have any basis to apply to them -- they're not really like cars, or light bulbs, or typewriters. They're a whole new class of thing.

    It's rare that an invention truly has no basis anywhere for rational comprehension, but this sort of thing has happened before. Cars strike me as a vibrant example -- there's nothing simple about any car. Steering, windshield wipers, combustion engines, etc., all te


    You are what you think.
  • windows isn't easy, people are just used to it

    But, does it matter why most people think Windows is easier?

    The fact that they do is the only interesting data point when it comes to designing user interfaces. People aren't complete novices. They have already aquired both experience and preference.

    It's like the web. You shouldn't invent completely new idioms for navigating your web site because... 99.999999% of the time, people surf on sites other than yours!

    So if you, say, for argument's sake, want peop