[openbeos-cdt] Re: CDT regrouping: why and how?

  • From: ". Meanwhile ." <meanwhile@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: openbeos-cdt@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 5 Nov 2009 11:34:06 -0500

Hi Eddy (and other readers),

I've always felt that usability and looks in BeOS hang in a perfect
balance, and do so on a very high quality level (like a magnificent
tightrope act).
This has clearly been the work of a professional UI team with a Vision
(capital 'V').
The concept of Haiku fortunately brings with it that users can continue
to enjoy all of that team's end results, perhaps with some slight
improvements here and there.
So far I'm happy with these slight improvements. In fact, I think so
highly of what has been accomplished in this field in BeOS, that the mere
thought of improvements sends shivers down my spine in advance, meaning
even more happiness and relief after seeing and agreeing how those
improvements were carried out.

Remark: The human body and the way it functions change only very slowly
over time.
It's not lame to come up with that, though. I'll try  to explain:
 
Good looks and sensible placement of UI elements pay off on a very basic
-but essential- level. In the case of a user that's new to BeOS/Haiku (or
any OS), the arms, hands and muscles operating those body parts soon take
over after the eyes have done their work in the investigative but short
first-impression phase. This means working with the OS is mostly not an
intellectual, contemplative act, but involves muscle and nerve "memory"
that comes with automatism (this second phase is the final and lasting
phase).

In the end, what motivates people most is an OS that doesn't get in the
face in any way and just serves the user so well that there's no base for
complaining or blaming.
Now the hard part is understanding what can irritate the user, possibly
even understanding it better than the user is aware of.
Something that guaranteed does *not* work is downplaying or ignoring a
trouble spot with ideas like 'the user will look around it', 'the user
will understand it can't be done differently' and such.

A "Start" button that has to be clicked in order to finish a session, is
a disaster. Thinking "the user will get used to it, and after that it's
no problem any more" is just as disastrous, because the damage has been
done at the moment the question and exclamation marks pop up over the
head of the user wanting to end his first working session on that
particular OS....and don't think a user can laugh it away. Negative
impressions last longer than positive ones!

It's more often that something good looking turns out to be a
disappointment in use than the other way around.
Fortunately there's also the third category that has them both right.
To me obviously BeOS is in that category, but since good looks are partly
subjective, anyone seeing a need to improve Haiku in the UI/usability
field should at least keep in mind that BeOS/Haiku then belongs in the
'good to use but disappointing to look at' category rather than in the
'looks good but disappoints in use' one...before improving it to the
'both right' category.
   
Enough,

-Meanwhile

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