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Re: [agile-usability] user expertise and progressive usage (was RE: norman)

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  • Jon Kern
    Nice find with that photo app Jon, oh man is that bad. It s almost too painful to compare it to something like Picassa 2. btw: yes, it is a bit exploratory
    Message 1 of 21 , Nov 3, 2005
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      "Nice find with that photo app Jon, oh man is that bad. It's almost too painful to compare it to something like Picassa 2. "

      btw: yes, it is a bit exploratory as far as the UI goes, i think. i bet it is going for a different audience and is purposely trying not to look like every other photo program on the planet (like Picasa). They wanted to make the ability to organize and tag photos through simple "who/what/where" info via drag-n-drop or simple type to get a list of tags or create tags. and to make it so your "Mom" can even share photos with friends.

      it's actually easy to use and I don't mind not having a stupid "file" or "edit" or "help" menu. click one button to share one or more photos... click tags to sort: "Jonny" "Mountain" "Nepal" to narrow down to all pics of Jonny, then Jonny with Mountains, then Jonny + Mountains + in Nepal.

      And praise for Word? That squiggly is what IDEs have been doing for a while: catching errors as you make them.

      -- jon
      
      


      Jade Ohlhauser said the following on 11/2/2005 1:12 PM:
      Well said Larry.
       
      I agree having a single control that changes the UI or other sort of interface "expertise" modes is not a good idea. You're asking the user to make a decision without a lot of information on what the consequences and rewards are and what their own needs are. Also, it's a disruptive jump moving "up to the next level". It's not quite back to square one, but it's a real and/or perceived step backwards in the user's journey to application mastery. Finally, I think if there's something so bad about something that it needs to be removed from the UI for a so called "beginner" user, then it should probably be redesigned.
       
      Nice find with that photo app Jon, oh man is that bad. It's almost too painful to compare it to something like Picassa 2.
       
      And if I may slip in one more UI praise for Word that in my opinion makes up for a lot of bad, the red squiggly. I'm talking about underlining misspelled words right away instead of waiting for a spell check. Brilliant. Of course, they ended up taking the superficial element of the concept too far with the Smart Tags. Talk about missing the point.
       
      Jade Ohlhauser
      Product Manager
      RPM Software                                 
      www.rpmsoftware.com 403-265-6727 x704
       


      <cut>

    • Jon Kern
      ... Ron Jeffries said the following on 11/3/2005 8:59 AM: Hi Jon, ... per-feature (or group) concept, ... user ... Reading incredibly carefully, I see the
      Message 2 of 21 , Nov 3, 2005
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        :=)

        Ron Jeffries said the following on 11/3/2005 8:59 AM:
        Hi Jon,

        On Thursday, November 3, 2005, at 5:06:30 AM, Jon Kern wrote:

        >  if you read carefully, you'll see my idea was always based on a per-feature (or group) concept,
        > so to speak.
        >     " slider that would allow features to go from novice to power user"
        >  Not across the board, as I agree it would be bad UI.

        Reading incredibly carefully, I see the word "slider", not
        "sliders", suggesting strongly that there is just one across the
        board slider.
        Yeah, but I knew what I meant :=0
        And, there could be the overarching "slider" based on measured brain wave activity with the skull cap hat shipped with the product.

        > The idea is that you can allow the user to peel back the wrapper
        > and access more features at their pace. The system would magically
        > track their level of comfort and expertise and frequency of use.
        > All based on metadata recorded about the UI/features and usages...

        Oh ... and I guess from this that you mean an internal slider, not a
        visible one, where some all-knowing being is deciding how I'm doing
        and exposing new features for me, not a slider that I the user can
        adjust?
        Hey, I never committed to building this, it was just a fleeting idea that has wafted around the rather shallow UI design center in my brain...

        I mentioned this idea more as a manifestation of the reality that is presented by a complex (possibly overly so) tool.

        > One of the features we built for Together to control the UI was a
        > role-based configuration. An analyst will need to have very
        > different parts of the app available than, for example, a
        > developer. An analyst doesn't need the code editor, debugger, and
        > the like. Of course, it was available if it was really needed. It
        > was just a way to control the default features that were visible
        > and front-and-center, so to speak.

        And was that good? Did actual users really like it? A situation
        Well, I also did it because a major firm was willing to commit just over $1M in product purchases. So, at least they used it, maybe.

        The beauty was, I could configure it externally without hard-coding. Therefore, it wasn't too challenging to roll it out due to our ability to "externally" specify product feature grouping (to sell different product feature mixes).

        today that is like that is Visual Studio 2005, which holds all kinds
        of things back in the Team Version that should in fact be available
        to kids on the street in the Pick Up at Circuit City and Learn C# in
        Your Free Time version.

        VS 2005, to me, is trying to control how I work, based in part on my
        pocketbook and in part on some Vision From Redmond about how I
        should work, rather than letting me control how I work.
        Sounds like a poor implementation of the idea...

        There's the concept of misunderstanding how a user might need to use features.

        There's a concept of features per product edition... get more if you pay more.

        Then there's the magical "Intelli-Slider-per-Meaningful-Feature-Group" adaptive shelter, that doesn't prevent a user overriding feature availability in an easy manner.

        This isn't the same as your example but it's an example of how very
        far awry incremental exposure can go.

        > Of course, a better goal is to provide better UIs. But, it does
        > become very challenging for big honkin' tools like Together or
        > OptimalJ or even IDEs to accommodate varying levels of expertise
        > as a new user goes from novice to power user.

        Yes, it really does. I'm not at all sure that hiding things works
        I'm not sure either...
        ... when I use another person's version of Office that isn't
        configured like mine, I often look for things that I'm being
        protected from because the program doesn't realize that a Word God
        Yes... I have the same problem when working on a Word doc/desktop by someone who doesn't use styles or even the different "tags" that show tabs, spaces, paragraphs, etc.
        has just sat down at the keyboard. I suppose it should be reading
        the Microsoft Customer RFID chip in my brain. Maybe next version.
        I'd go for that, as long as the chip also helped me go through airports more quickly ;=)

        > What sorts of UI design rules of thumb apply for these types of
        > highly complex apps?

        I, too, look forward to hearing this answer!

        Ron Jeffries
        www.XProgramming.com
        Example isn't another way to teach, it is the only way to teach.
          --Albert Einstein
      • Jon Kern
        okay... I had something to do with this UI. i went phishing for some initial reactions. we deliberately threw out all manner of UI
        Message 3 of 21 , Nov 3, 2005
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          <disclaimer>
          okay... I had something to do with this UI. i went phishing for some initial reactions.
          </disclaimer>

          we deliberately threw out all manner of UI convention and tried to start from scratch with a "zero mass" design... it was based on seeing our "moms" (really) struggling horribly with all manner of "standard" photo apps.

          just like the aeron chair was met with distaste at first, it grew on people after they began to really use it. you can get a feel for the software by looking at the 10-minute "walkabout" viewlet. But even better to try it out.

          if you give tidepool a spin, try to organize a few hundred images, create some stories, and share photos with friends, maybe you would have a different opinion from your first gut reaction.
          -- jon
          
          


          Jon Kern said the following on 11/3/2005 8:24 AM:
          "Nice find with that photo app Jon, oh man is that bad. It's almost too painful to compare it to something like Picassa 2. "

          btw: yes, it is a bit exploratory as far as the UI goes, i think. i bet it is going for a different audience and is purposely trying not to look like every other photo program on the planet (like Picasa). They wanted to make the ability to organize and tag photos through simple "who/what/where" info via drag-n-drop or simple type to get a list of tags or create tags. and to make it so your "Mom" can even share photos with friends.

          it's actually easy to use and I don't mind not having a stupid "file" or "edit" or "help" menu. click one button to share one or more photos... click tags to sort: "Jonny" "Mountain" "Nepal" to narrow down to all pics of Jonny, then Jonny with Mountains, then Jonny + Mountains + in Nepal.

          And praise for Word? That squiggly is what IDEs have been doing for a while: catching errors as you make them.

          -- jon
          
            


          Jade Ohlhauser said the following on 11/2/2005 1:12 PM:
          Well said Larry.
           
          I agree having a single control that changes the UI or other sort of interface "expertise" modes is not a good idea. You're asking the user to make a decision without a lot of information on what the consequences and rewards are and what their own needs are. Also, it's a disruptive jump moving "up to the next level". It's not quite back to square one, but it's a real and/or perceived step backwards in the user's journey to application mastery. Finally, I think if there's something so bad about something that it needs to be removed from the UI for a so called "beginner" user, then it should probably be redesigned.
           
          Nice find with that photo app Jon, oh man is that bad. It's almost too painful to compare it to something like Picassa 2.
           
          And if I may slip in one more UI praise for Word that in my opinion makes up for a lot of bad, the red squiggly. I'm talking about underlining misspelled words right away instead of waiting for a spell check. Brilliant. Of course, they ended up taking the superficial element of the concept too far with the Smart Tags. Talk about missing the point.
           
          Jade Ohlhauser
          Product Manager
          RPM Software                                 
          www.rpmsoftware.com 403-265-6727 x704
           


          <cut>

        • Jade Ohlhauser
          Well if you re fishing then I guess you caught me :) I can say for first reaction the faux wood backgrounds and gradients around the controls really turned me
          Message 4 of 21 , Nov 3, 2005
          • 0 Attachment
            Well if you're fishing then I guess you caught me :)
             
            I can say for first reaction the faux wood backgrounds and gradients around the controls really turned me off as did the non-standard widget look and file browse UI in Windows. You would think being a self-proclaimed usability guy I'd try to put my preferences aside and wait for the test data.
             
            Jade Ohlhauser
            Product Manager
            RPM Software                                 
            www.rpmsoftware.com 403-265-6727 x704
             


            From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jon Kern
            Sent: Thursday, November 03, 2005 9:13 AM
            To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [agile-usability] user expertise and progressive usage (was RE: norman)

            <disclaimer>
            okay... I had something to do with this UI. i went phishing for some initial reactions.
            </disclaimer>

            we deliberately threw out all manner of UI convention and tried to start from scratch with a "zero mass" design... it was based on seeing our "moms" (really) struggling horribly with all manner of "standard" photo apps.

            just like the aeron chair was met with distaste at first, it grew on people after they began to really use it. you can get a feel for the software by looking at the 10-minute "walkabout" viewlet. But even better to try it out.

            if you give tidepool a spin, try to organize a few hundred images, create some stories, and share photos with friends, maybe you would have a different opinion from your first gut reaction.
            -- jon
            
            


            Jon Kern said the following on 11/3/2005 8:24 AM:
            "Nice find with that photo app Jon, oh man is that bad. It's almost too painful to compare it to something like Picassa 2. "

            btw: yes, it is a bit exploratory as far as the UI goes, i think. i bet it is going for a different audience and is purposely trying not to look like every other photo program on the planet (like Picasa). They wanted to make the ability to organize and tag photos through simple "who/what/where" info via drag-n-drop or simple type to get a list of tags or create tags. and to make it so your "Mom" can even share photos with friends.

            it's actually easy to use and I don't mind not having a stupid "file" or "edit" or "help" menu. click one button to share one or more photos... click tags to sort: "Jonny" "Mountain" "Nepal" to narrow down to all pics of Jonny, then Jonny with Mountains, then Jonny + Mountains + in Nepal.

            And praise for Word? That squiggly is what IDEs have been doing for a while: catching errors as you make them.

            -- jon
            
              


            Jade Ohlhauser said the following on 11/2/2005 1:12 PM:
            Well said Larry.
             
            I agree having a single control that changes the UI or other sort of interface "expertise" modes is not a good idea. You're asking the user to make a decision without a lot of information on what the consequences and rewards are and what their own needs are. Also, it's a disruptive jump moving "up to the next level". It's not quite back to square one, but it's a real and/or perceived step backwards in the user's journey to application mastery. Finally, I think if there's something so bad about something that it needs to be removed from the UI for a so called "beginner" user, then it should probably be redesigned.
             
            Nice find with that photo app Jon, oh man is that bad. It's almost too painful to compare it to something like Picassa 2.
             
            And if I may slip in one more UI praise for Word that in my opinion makes up for a lot of bad, the red squiggly. I'm talking about underlining misspelled words right away instead of waiting for a spell check. Brilliant. Of course, they ended up taking the superficial element of the concept too far with the Smart Tags. Talk about missing the point.
             
            Jade Ohlhauser
            Product Manager
            RPM Software                                 
            www.rpmsoftware.com 403-265-6727 x704
             


            <cut>

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