Re: [Usability] Comments about this new paradigm?

At 03:55 PM 1/28/2004, Maurizio Colucci wrote:
On Wednesday 28 January 2004 06:42 pm, Nadyne Mielke wrote:


> All verbs
> (I'd make that 'actions', since I'm going to guess that the average user
> doesn't think in terms of parts of speech) looks to be a bloody huge
> list.  How long do I have to scroll until I get to 'view picture'?
Yes, clicking on a verb for first is boring because you have to
scroll.  But I can find no solution to this.

I wouldn't say that it's boring. I'd say that it's confusing. It is very easy for the user to get lost in the list of actions.

> And
> what if I'm thinking of 'look at picture' instead of 'view picture'?
Right. I could add many different names for the same verb, but the
list would become longer... Probably I should.

I disagree with the idea of using a verb (or, as I put it, an action) as one of the defining characteristics of the interface. There are simply too many ways for the user to think of a single action. If I want to do something with a flat text file, some verbs that users might use include 'open', 'view', 'read', 'access', 'update', 'change', 'remove', 'delete', 'erase'. You've just put yourself into a rather nasty catch-22. If you try to accommodate all of these verbs, or even a subset, you're going to make the already unwieldy list of verbs unbearably long. If you have several verbs for the same action (say, you can both 'open' and 'view' a file), then the user is confused as to whether there is a difference between them.


> What if I don't know the difference between burning a disc from ISO and
> burning a data disc?
Again right. I'll supply different sets of verbs, for newbies or

How do you know who is an expert and who is a newbie? Since we're talking about something that's supposed to be an interface across the entire system, you need to take into account that someone who is an expert in one aspect might be a newbie in another aspect.

>  Why should the user have to care about that
> difference?  Isn't the difference between burning an audio disc and burning
> from audio and a CUE file a rather arbitrary distinction?
Well, no. These are different actions with different consequences.

Yes, they are different actions from the system standpoint. But from a user's standpoint, everything looks almost exactly identical: choose some files, click a few times, put in a blank CD-R, wait for the finished audio disc. So why should the user have to care about the difference?


> Users generally tend to like moving from left to right (in cultures that
> read that way, anyway).  Your interface lets the user start anywhere, which
> means that they have to do a lot of searching back and forth to figure out
> where they're going next.  There's no meaningful progression.  I see that
> you've tried to add a red arrow to address that issue, but the issue here
> is with your design and not the interface itself.
The problem is that there is no right order to select things.
I don't see this as a problem. You learn to use the system in 20
seconds: just click at random. In 5 clicks you'll have formed a
meaningful action (since meningless things are hidden). So you quickly
grasp it.

Have you done any sort of usability testing so you have some data with which you can prove that statement?

It is very important that verbs, files, program and devices be
selectable in any order.


> You spend a lot of time taking about actions, files, programs, and devices,
> but not very much time talking about the 'all times' thing.  That seems to
> indicate that it's not an important part of the interface.  For most tasks,
> most people don't want to schedule them.  I don't want to view a picture in
> an hour, I want to view it now.
So? what matters is that sometimes you may want to set the time.

Why clutter the interface with something that you only rarely want to do?

> Certainly, scheduling is important for
> some types of tasks, but not for the vast majority of them.  Your example
> of shutting down the computer is probably a bit of a stretch.
Actually I do that every night :-)

And you set a time for it? When I shut down my computer (which is pretty rare on any of the computers in my household, regardless of OS), I almost always want it to shut down now, not in a few minutes. If I do want it to happen at some time in the future, I usually want it to happen after some other task has completed. That task might be done in ten minutes, it might be done in an hour.

[the 'go' button]

Yes, but there's no better way. How would the program know when you
have finished your selection? (Actually there are some solutions, like
right-clicking the last item, or adding a go button to all files. But
I find these tricks unintuitive and they will be available as advanced

I don't see any of these 'tricks' as being any less intuitive than having to go back to a column in which you've already selected something. If you insist that such a button is necessary, then put it elsewhere in the interface to avoid at least some of the back-and-forth motion that you're currently forcing users to do.

> For your 'very good Tracy Chapman' songs, it looks like I have to create a
> folder for 'Tracy Chapman', and then create a folder (subfolder of 'Tracy
> Chapman'? I have no idea) that indicates that some songs are 'very
> good'.
no, no. I don't know how I gave this impression. The folders in my
program are not hierarchical, but flat.

It's because you're overloading the concept of folders. Sometimes you're using folders as a collection of files (for example, I can have a 'media' folder with all of my MP3s in it), other times you're using it as a container concept for metadata. This is extremely confusing. For anyone who has used a computer with a hierarchical file system for more than a week, they already have a very strong idea of what 'folder' means. Choosing the 'very good' metadata-folder isn't obvious.

In most of the other columns, the user only selects one item. But here, they can select two (or more?). The interaction method is inconsistent.


> This means that I have to have organised my media files according
> to that kind of scheme.
You can organize it any way you like.
>  I can't speak for anyone else, but my media files
> are organised in folders by artist, then subfolders by album.
So you can't ask the system for all good songs. You have a static
organization. But there is no right way of organizing things into a

I'm going to guess that my organisation scheme is pretty close to what many other people use.

Is it better?

Better than what?


[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Thread Index] [Date Index] [Author Index]