Fang Talks

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12 08 16

Unoptimized UI

It is crazy how much time you can spend behind a computer achieving absolutely nothing.

You may have done it before: you’re working on a document in fullscreen, as is standard on some operating systems these days, and you tab back and forth between it and something you’re using as a reference. A browser page, another document, anything. Back and forth. And again, to double-check you got that right. You could’ve just as well put the two windows of interest next to each other, but it wasn’t the default and whatever the OS provides to do that (if it provides anything at all) is hidden behind a “you have to know it’s there” key combination or whatever.

For some reason people struggle with using computers at maximum efficiency, even though that’s what we all should strive to achieve. And software design should help us with that. Make things easy for us, implement plenty of non-intrusive yet obvious helper functionality. But you almost never see that in the wild. Sure, they might have tried, but it’ll never be perfect.

Design is hard. Is it impossible to craft the perfect user experience? No, we can’t have computers automagically do the user’s job for them. But can we pave the road with smooth tiles rather than oddly shaped rocks? Most definitely.

Then again, users are varying degrees of dumb, which is a very influential variable. Should software come with multiple difficulty levels, like games?
~ Fang

Comments

  • 15/08/2016 (1:21 PM)

    For once something I can make a good comment on! When I started out rewriting I would have to flip between the rewritten document and the source document. It made rewriting slow and annoying. It took a while before I realised I should just make them windows and put them side by side. It vastly increased my efficiency. The interesting thing is that when I tried to do that at the library it wouldn’t let me. I don’t know why but it just wouldn’t work like that. It’s weird that one thing can be possible on one computer but not another.

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