Re: control center plans, etc.

Bill Haneman wrote:

> <opinion>
> there is no problem if these apps are available vis other routes as
> well, at least from a usability perspective.  It only looks broken to
> the user if some apps must be launched one way, others another way,
> etc...
> </opinion>

This is true, provided that different ways of doing the same thing
aren't competing for your visual (or mental) attention at the same,
otherwise you can just end up confusing people.  It's also true that
things are often broken usability-wise if the result of doing the same
thing in different ways isn't identical, because then you're never quite
sure whether you've actually done the same thing or not.  

Example: I can type either "sawfish-capplet" or "sawfish-ui" on the
command line to bring up a Sawfish configuration application.  They look
sort of similar, but rather different at the same time... on has tabs,
one doesn't, they both have tree controls, but one has icons and one
doesn't, and the same set of options is labelled "Bindings" in one UI,
but "Shortcuts" in the other.  How is the user expected to be sure that
these little applications are really doing the same thing?

As for the documentation argument... well, my own view is that a user
guide only really needs to document one "standard" and maybe one
"shortcut" way of doing anything (however many ways might actually
exist), and if the UI's well-designed, you'll find out for yourself as
you're going along any other ways which are better-suited to your way of
working.  Not everyone shares that view, however, and it also rather
depends on that "well-designed UI" bit  :o)


CALUM BENSON, Usability Engineer       Sun Microsystems Ireland
mailto:calum benson ireland sun com    Desktop Engineering Group                      +353 1 819 9771

Any opinions are personal and not necessarily those of Sun Microsystems

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