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osOpinion: Ease of use and "UI": A lesson in idiocy?

Jul 31, 2000, 08:26 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Scott Billings)

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"Companies in the software industry love to claim that their software is "easy to use", or "user friendly". This is to try and give a sense of security to people who may not know a lot about computers. In other words, to get the fool to part with his/her money, and spend it on some software program that they probably don't need."

"So, what does "easy to use" and "user friendly" mean exactly? That is an interesting question, since both phrases are extremely ambiguous and subjective. What I consider to be "user friendly" or "easy to use", might be horribly complex for the next person (and vise versa). However, there is something of a common law definition of what they mean. That definition is that a person should theoretically be able to sit down in front of a computer running this software, and even if never having used it before, should be able to be productive in a minimal amount of time."

"Thus, it seems that the point behind "easy to use" software is to reduce the learning curve as much as possible."

"Some people take this overboard, and state that there should be no learning curve at all. However, unless if osmosis is discovered to work on information, allowing it to seep into the human brain (of course, if that were true, it would also have to work in reverse, and might explain a lot), there will always be a learning curve. You didn't previously know how to use this program, and thus had to learn."

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