Re: [PMH] Re: [Nautilus-list] Idea for Nautilus and GMC.

on 5/24/01 12:15 PM, Ben Ford at ben kalifornia com wrote:

> Dan Winship wrote:
>> And for the gazillion and oneth time on the other side: IT DOESN'T
>> MATTER. It doesn't matter how many warnings the user gets. It doesn't
>> matter how dire they are. You can pop up a dialog that says "If you
>> proceed, your children will be kidnapped, tortured, and murdered", and
>> *THEY'LL STILL CLICK "OK"* because they want to see the funny joke
> Most of them won't even READ the dialog.
> My wife does that and it annoys the heck out of me.  A dialog will pop
> up and she "clicks it away" while I am still reading it.  I ask her what
> it says, and she says, "I dunno."  And this is after me preaching and
> lecturing on that specific subject hundreds of times.  Yes, she is a
> windows user.
> It is amazing how *stupid* some otherwise intelligent people can be when
> sitting at a computer.
> But then again, should we cater to the brain-damaged and bring our OS
> down to the stupidity level that windows operates at?  Should we even
> care if a computer retard hoses their system because they didn't read
> the directions?
> -b

This is a dangerous attitude. These people are not stupid, as you realize.
They do things that to computer experts seem obviously wrong, but most
people aren't and will never be computer experts. They just want to get
their task done in the fastest time with the least problems. You will never
change people's behavior in general, so the best thing to do is to design
the software to work as well as possible for everyone, even for people that
will do "the stupid things".

In the specific case of warning dialogs for dangerous actions, as someone
pointed out earlier, one approach is to make Cancel be the default button.
Another is to label the buttons with specific verbs ("Delete" instead of
"OK"). Another is to make the dialog more than just
block-of-text-followed-by-buttons if it's especially important that the text
be read. A trick I've seen used to enforce this is to put an
initially-unchecked check box at the end of the text that says something to
the effect of "I have read the above", and make the action button only be
enabled if the check box is checked. Another variation on this is to put a
bright red flashing WARNING at the top, or something else that gets
attention more than just another text-and-buttons alert.

There are lots of ways to address these things, but saying "stupid people
will do the wrong thing and we don't care" is a sure-fire way to end up with
software that most people will use wrong. Even computer experts aren't all
experts in every aspect of the computer.

Note that I'm not specifically talking about the current subject of "how
dangerous is setting the executable bit". I don't have a well-formed opinion
on that.


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