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Re: [agile-usability] follow the leader

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  • Phlip
    ... We are discussing a standard, the Common User Access, which predates MS Windows (and the MS oligarchy). I don t think I flamed either of them. The stated
    Message 1 of 22 , Nov 3, 2005
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      Keith Nicholas wrote:

      > so its less usable for you, are you implying its less useful for everyone?
      > I personally find it quite useful I can enter text and arrow to the place I
      > want to enter text next. Which for me is the most common case...the times
      > where I need to correct the text are much less frequent. Then I usually
      > just go to the edit box at the top and use the left arrow, cntrl arrow
      > navigation system for text, but for cells, the arrow navigation to move
      > around seems more natural to me.
      >
      > So, while your flaming Microsoft, do you know that they didn't study this
      > and found which was more usable?

      We are discussing a standard, the Common User Access, which predates
      MS Windows (and the MS oligarchy). I don't think I flamed either of
      them.

      The stated purpose of the CUA is to make all windows on a desktop fit
      together as a seamless coherent whole. Gone (hopefully) are the days
      where only one program inserts text only as a special mode, and
      defaults to overstriking, for example.

      The CUA permits you to feel like your editing functions are a part of
      your hands, not a part of the current application, or its specific
      mode. This permits you to safely learn advanced edits (such as
      <Ctrl+Left>) in one application and safely port your learning to
      another.

      To quote Larry Tesler, don't mode me in.

      --
      Phlip
      http://www.greencheese.org/ZeekLand <-- NOT a blog!!
    • Damhuis Anton
      Hi I just tried this *bug*, and had no problem editing the text with the and features, you described as a bug. I am using Excel version 9
      Message 2 of 22 , Nov 3, 2005
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        Hi

        I just tried this *bug*, and had no problem editing the text with the <left> and <ctlr><left> features, you described as a bug.
        I am using Excel version 9 SP3, so is it not maybe a setting somewhere in Excel?

        Regards
        Anton


        -----Original Message-----
        From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
        [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Phlip
        Sent: 04 November 2005 01:07
        To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [agile-usability] follow the leader
        ....
        When I type a mistake, I may catch it several words later. The most
        efficient way to move the text caret back to the mistake is either
        <Left> or <Ctrl+Left>. It's not <Backspace>, because I'm proficient.
        I'm smart enough not to need to type all that text again just to edit
        a mistake.

        Confidentiality Warning
        =======================

        The contents of this e-mail and any accompanying documentation
        are confidential and any use thereof, in what ever form, by anyone
        other than the addressee is strictly prohibited.
      • Desilets, Alain
        so its less usable for you, are you implying its less useful for everyone? I personally find it quite useful I can enter text and arrow to the place I want to
        Message 3 of 22 , Nov 4, 2005
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          Message
          so its less usable for you, are you implying its less useful for everyone?  I personally find it quite useful I can enter text and arrow to the place I want to enter text next.  Which for me is the most common case...the times where I need to correct the text are much less frequent.  Then I usually just go to the edit box at the top and use the left arrow, cntrl arrow navigation system for text, but for cells, the arrow navigation to move around seems more natural to me.
          So, while your flaming Microsoft, do you know that they didn't study this and found which was more usable?
           
          Regards, 
           
          -- Alain:
          I agree. I too rarely write long text inside of cells, but I very often need to write a series of numbers or short strings in adjacent cells. And <Left> and <Right> is the most natural way for me to do this.
           
          I suspect this is a typical "no free lunch" situation. I bet when someone presses <Left> in excel, the same person will somethimes expect it to move to the previous character in the current cell, and sometimes they willl expect it to move to the previous cell. Moreover, I am willing to bet that the only thing that distinguishes these two situations is the intent buried inside the user's mind. In other words, there is nothing at all in the current system state or the history of recent actions by the user, that would allow the system to figure out what the user means.
           
          So you have to choose one or the other. MS decided to go for <Left> = previous cell, and that turns out to be the right choice for me. I don't know about the majority of people, but as Keith points out, it COULD be that MS did some usability studies and found that this was the most common .
          ----
        • Desilets, Alain
          The CUA permits you to feel like your editing functions are a part of your hands, not a part of the current application, or its specific mode. This permits you
          Message 4 of 22 , Nov 4, 2005
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            The CUA permits you to feel like your editing functions are a part of
            your hands, not a part of the current application, or its specific mode.
            This permits you to safely learn advanced edits (such as
            <Ctrl+Left>) in one application and safely port your learning to
            another.

            -- Alain:
            Standards and rules are made to be broken. Again, I don't know whether
            or not MS did usability testing on this, but it certainly seem to be the
            most usable thing for me, irrespectively of the fact that it is
            non-standard behaviour.

            Surely you are not saying that knowlege encoded in generic UI standards
            should take precedence over application specific knowledge that was
            acuiqired through usability testing for that specific application!
            -----
          • Josh Seiden
            Press F2 for your free lunch! It moves the insertion point from the cell to the formula bar, and standard editing conventions will now apply. JS
            Message 5 of 22 , Nov 4, 2005
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              Press F2 for your free lunch!

              It moves the insertion point from the cell to the
              formula bar, and standard editing conventions will now
              apply.

              JS



              --- "Desilets, Alain" <alain.desilets@...>
              wrote:

              > I suspect this is a typical "no free lunch"
              > situation.
            • Ash Donaldson
              On 5/11/05 12:44 AM, Desilets, Alain ... Actually, standards aren¹t meant to be broken, or they very quickly become
              Message 6 of 22 , Nov 4, 2005
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                Re: [agile-usability] follow the leader On 5/11/05 12:44 AM, "Desilets, Alain" <alain.desilets@...> wrote:
                -- Alain:
                Standards and rules are made to be broken. Again, I don't know whether
                or not MS did usability testing on this, but it certainly seem to be the
                most usable thing for me, irrespectively of the fact that it is
                non-standard behaviour.

                Surely you are not saying that knowlege encoded in generic UI standards
                should take precedence over application specific knowledge that was
                acuiqired through usability testing for that specific application!
                -----

                Actually, standards aren’t meant to be broken, or they very quickly become non-standards.  It must be remembered that a standard is only as powerful as the percentage of the population that follows it.  Take for instance the ISO date format.  It’s the most logical (and therefore, apparently usable for new users) format, both for numeric ordering and consistency.  It’s of the form yyyy-mm-dd.  The majority of the world follows the reverse of this standard with dd-mm-yyyy, while the US somehow cam up with mm-dd-yyyy (?!?).  So how effective is the ISO standard?  It’s completely ineffective, even though it’s the most logical format, because the majority of the world does not follow it.

                Another point to consider is the type of usability testing involved.  As far as I’m aware, Microsoft caters for incomprehensibly large and diverse user populations, using different groups and factions to generate requirements and test functionality (in lab settings) and so tries to squeeze every possible feature in to account for every edge case.  The more popular functions, then, may go in the direction for any of the user populations identified.  Therefore, for a company that creates such highly generic software, standards (be they published or population stereotypes, as long as they carry a critical mass) should be sacrosanct and serve as the basis on which they could build more usable applications (because it’s more usable if it meets the user’s expectations i.e. Follows a standard convention that they are used to).

                Cheers,

                Ash Donaldson
                OZCHI 2005 Conference Chair
                chair@...

                OZCHI 2005
                Citizens Online: Considerations for today & the future
                www.ozchi.org


              • Desilets, Alain
                IMO that s not a free lunch at all because it requires me to switch between modes. Alain ... From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                Message 7 of 22 , Nov 4, 2005
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                  IMO that's not a free lunch at all because it requires me to switch
                  between modes.

                  Alain

                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                  [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Josh Seiden
                  Sent: Friday, November 04, 2005 9:22 AM
                  To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: RE: [agile-usability] follow the leader


                  Press F2 for your free lunch!

                  It moves the insertion point from the cell to the
                  formula bar, and standard editing conventions will now
                  apply.

                  JS



                  --- "Desilets, Alain" <alain.desilets@...>
                  wrote:

                  > I suspect this is a typical "no free lunch"
                  > situation.





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                • Phlip
                  ... Just last night I wrote yyyy-Mmm-dd format on a check. It would have been nicer if I had followed that other standard, and wrote it in the date field
                  Message 8 of 22 , Nov 4, 2005
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                    Ash Donaldson wrote:

                    > Actually, standards aren't meant to be broken, or they very quickly become
                    > non-standards. It must be remembered that a standard is only as powerful as
                    > the percentage of the population that follows it. Take for instance the ISO
                    > date format. It's the most logical (and therefore, apparently usable for
                    > new users) format, both for numeric ordering and consistency. It's of the
                    > form yyyy-mm-dd. The majority of the world follows the reverse of this
                    > standard with dd-mm-yyyy, while the US somehow cam up with mm-dd-yyyy (?!?).
                    > So how effective is the ISO standard? It's completely ineffective, even
                    > though it's the most logical format, because the majority of the world does
                    > not follow it.

                    Just last night I wrote yyyy-Mmm-dd format on a check.

                    It would have been nicer if I had followed that other standard, and
                    wrote it in the date field instead of the amount field...

                    In the case of Excel, CUA already has the majority following. So
                    breaking the CUA, in one little mode, is very disruptive.

                    The topic I had hoped to raise is simple: If a market leader enforces
                    a bad usability decision, and the majority of the world follows it,
                    the market upstarts have the odious choice of either following the bad
                    lead, or breaking with tradition and risk looking bad.

                    How was this week's ZeekLand, everyone? ;-)

                    --
                    Phlip
                    http://www.greencheese.org/ZeekLand <-- NOT a blog!!
                  • Josh Seiden
                    I do a talk called Violate Standards! in which I encourage designers to see these kind of de facto design standards as opportunities for innovation. The
                    Message 9 of 22 , Nov 4, 2005
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                      I do a talk called "Violate Standards!" in which I
                      encourage designers to see these kind of de facto
                      "design standards" as opportunities for innovation.
                      The argument is this: where there is a standard answer
                      design answer, there is also likely an opportunity to
                      create a better solution.

                      The canonical example of this kind of critical
                      thinking is the error dialog. Designers should see
                      error dialogs--the standard way to present errors--as
                      an opportunity to design error-prevention systems into
                      the app, thus obviating the need for the standard
                      solution, and improving the user experience.

                      Of course, this works only as a thinking exercise, not
                      as a fundamental design strategy.

                      If anyone is interested in the slides, let me know.

                      JS
                      --- Phlip <phlip2005@...> wrote:


                      > The topic I had hoped to raise is simple: If a
                      > market leader enforces
                      > a bad usability decision, and the majority of the
                      > world follows it,
                      > the market upstarts have the odious choice of either
                      > following the bad
                      > lead, or breaking with tradition and risk looking
                      > bad.
                    • Phlip
                      ... The best editor I ever used was non-CUA. Rick Stiles s UEdit, for AmigaDOS, had a usability envelop architected from scratch, with no underlying GUI to
                      Message 10 of 22 , Nov 4, 2005
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                        Josh Seiden wrote:

                        > Of course, this works only as a thinking exercise, not
                        > as a fundamental design strategy.

                        The best editor I ever used was non-CUA. Rick Stiles's UEdit, for
                        AmigaDOS, had a usability envelop architected from scratch, with no
                        underlying GUI to introduce any systems. Rick simply took over an
                        Amiga screen and blitted text all over it.

                        The usability achieved the minimum keystrokes between any two points I
                        have ever seen. For example, UEdit's scripting language defined
                        BeginningOfWord as before the first character, and EndOfWord as after
                        the last. So the <Left> arrow mapped trivially onto BeginningOfWord,
                        and <Right> onto EndOfWord.

                        Yes, that's right. <Left> did not move the caret left over one
                        character. It would jump a whole word, and put the character right at
                        its beginning. Right would jump to the end of a word, and put the
                        character between it and any punctuation.

                        When you edit, this is where you most likely want to go. If you then
                        fine-tune your position, you use <Shift+Left> to move over one
                        character.

                        Incidentally, UEdit's scripting language built jargon like
                        "<Shift+Left>" directly into its keywords.

                        So on CUA, I would <Ctrl+Left> more often than <Left> even if I
                        weren't a sloppy typist. The wrong action is the default, and the
                        barrier to fixing this is much higher _because_ CUA is a "standard".

                        There are easier places to start. For example, on any CUA editor if
                        you type off the end of a window, the editor will scroll up one line,
                        and leave your caret scrambling against the bottom edge of the window.
                        You must scroll to put the caret at eye level, and to see any text
                        below the caret.

                        On UEdit, when you type off the end of a window, the caret would
                        scroll to the center of the window. This is the correct behavior, and
                        I never saw any editor since use it.

                        It should be really easy to add.

                        --
                        Phlip
                        http://www.greencheese.org/ZeekLand <-- NOT a blog!!
                      • Desilets, Alain
                        -- Phlip wrote: The best editor I ever used was non-CUA. Rick Stiles s UEdit, for AmigaDOS, had a usability envelop architected from scratch, with no
                        Message 11 of 22 , Nov 4, 2005
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                          -- Phlip wrote:
                          The best editor I ever used was non-CUA. Rick Stiles's UEdit, for
                          AmigaDOS, had a usability envelop architected from scratch, with no
                          underlying GUI to introduce any systems. Rick simply took over an Amiga
                          screen and blitted text all over it.

                          <SNIP>

                          The usability achieved the minimum keystrokes between any two points I
                          have ever seen. For example, UEdit's scripting language defined
                          BeginningOfWord as before the first character, and EndOfWord as after
                          the last. So the <Left> arrow mapped trivially onto BeginningOfWord, and
                          <Right> onto EndOfWord.

                          Yes, that's right. <Left> did not move the caret left over one
                          character. It would jump a whole word, and put the character right at
                          its beginning. Right would jump to the end of a word, and put the
                          character between it and any punctuation.

                          When you edit, this is where you most likely want to go. If you then
                          fine-tune your position, you use <Shift+Left> to move over one
                          character.

                          <SNIP>

                          So on CUA, I would <Ctrl+Left> more often than <Left> even if I weren't
                          a sloppy typist. The wrong action is the default, and the barrier to
                          fixing this is much higher _because_ CUA is a "standard".
                          ----

                          -- Alain:
                          It's interesting that you would write this. What you are describing
                          above is in all respects equivalent to MS Excel defining <Left> as
                          meaning "move to the previous cell". In a spreadsheet context, moving
                          from one cell to an adjacent cell is more frequent than moving from one
                          character to an adjacent one. Yet, while you loved the fact that Uedit
                          assigned word navigation to the <Left> key, you hate the fact that Excel
                          assigns cell navigation to the <Left> key. OK, Excel does not even have
                          a separate key sequences (ex: <Ctr>+<Left>) for moving to the previous
                          character, but I gather that your annoyance was caused by the fact that
                          Excel overrode the standard meaning of <Left>.

                          So there must be something else that bothers you about the way MS Excel
                          supports cell vs character navigation with arrow keys. What is it?
                          ----
                        • Ignacio Facello
                          I haven t used Excel much, but I remember having the opposite problem -- I am editing a cell, and left-right moves the caret in the text. How do I go to the
                          Message 12 of 22 , Nov 4, 2005
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                            I haven't used Excel much, but I remember having the opposite problem -- I am
                            editing a cell, and left-right moves the caret in the text. How do I go to the
                            previous cell?
                            And also, I had the problem the OP described. It all depended on what I was
                            doing, which was frustrating. I think Excel should behave the same no matter
                            what you were doing -- whether left moves the caret or changes cell, I wouldn't
                            care, I would get used to it. What bothers me is the different behaviour with no
                            significant visual cue that you are in a different mode.

                            Quoting "Desilets, Alain" <alain.desilets@...>:

                            > -- Alain:
                            > It's interesting that you would write this. What you are describing
                            > above is in all respects equivalent to MS Excel defining <Left> as
                            > meaning "move to the previous cell". In a spreadsheet context, moving
                            > from one cell to an adjacent cell is more frequent than moving from one
                            > character to an adjacent one. Yet, while you loved the fact that Uedit
                            > assigned word navigation to the <Left> key, you hate the fact that Excel
                            > assigns cell navigation to the <Left> key. OK, Excel does not even have
                            > a separate key sequences (ex: <Ctr>+<Left>) for moving to the previous
                            > character, but I gather that your annoyance was caused by the fact that
                            > Excel overrode the standard meaning of <Left>.
                            >
                            > So there must be something else that bothers you about the way MS Excel
                            > supports cell vs character navigation with arrow keys. What is it?
                            > ----



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                          • Jon Kern
                            an upstart *should* offer improvements... including in usability. however, one can also offer up the option: [ ] Behave like the Market leader QuattroPro was
                            Message 13 of 22 , Nov 4, 2005
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                              an upstart *should* offer improvements... including in usability.

                              however, one can also offer up the option:
                                      [ ] "Behave like the Market leader"

                              QuattroPro was a wonderful departure from Lotus 1-2-3
                              Excel did a wonderful copy of QP (i think)

                              -- jon
                              
                              

                              Phlip said the following on 11/4/2005 11:26 AM:
                              Ash Donaldson wrote:

                              <cut>
                              The topic I had hoped to raise is simple: If a market leader enforces
                              a bad usability decision, and the majority of the world follows it,
                              the market upstarts have the odious choice of either following the bad
                              lead, or breaking with tradition and risk looking bad.

                              How was this week's ZeekLand, everyone? ;-)

                              --
                                Phlip
                                http://www.greencheese.org/ZeekLand  <-- NOT a blog!!
                            • Phlip
                              ... Now there s an example of slick usability that did everything _wrong_ by todays standards. Everyone nowadays does Object- Action. First you select the
                              Message 14 of 22 , Nov 4, 2005
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                                Jon Kern wrote:

                                > Lotus 1-2-3

                                Now there's an example of slick usability that did everything _wrong_
                                by todays standards.

                                Everyone nowadays does Object->Action. First you select the object,
                                then you pick an action. Example: Select some cells, then Copy them.

                                In Lotus 1-2-3, you declare Copy, and get a Cell Selector Mode to pick
                                the cells to copy.

                                So the amazing thing was this got useful and intuitive, after you
                                start using it.

                                --
                                Phlip
                                http://www.greencheese.org/ZeekLand <-- NOT a blog!!
                              • Phlip
                                ... It s because Microsoft invented it! Snarl! Drool! Drool! (Uh, the principle of least surprise might also apply...) -- Phlip
                                Message 15 of 22 , Nov 4, 2005
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                                  Desilets, Alain wrote:

                                  > So there must be something else that bothers you about the way MS Excel
                                  > supports cell vs character navigation with arrow keys. What is it?

                                  It's because Microsoft invented it! Snarl! Drool! Drool!

                                  (Uh, the principle of least surprise might also apply...)

                                  --
                                  Phlip
                                  http://www.greencheese.org/ZeekLand <-- NOT a blog!!
                                • Phlip
                                  ... The CUA sez it should be . ... Arrow to a cell and start typing alpha without . You are still in arrow among cells mode , not text edit
                                  Message 16 of 22 , Nov 4, 2005
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                                    Ignacio Facello wrote:


                                    > I haven't used Excel much, but I remember having the opposite problem
                                    > -- I am
                                    > editing a cell, and left-right moves the caret in the text. How do I go to the
                                    > previous cell?

                                    The CUA sez it should be <Shift+Tab>.

                                    > And also, I had the problem the OP described. It all depended on what I was
                                    > doing, which was frustrating.

                                    Arrow to a cell and start typing alpha without <F2>. You are still in
                                    "arrow among cells mode", not "text edit mode", and the system allows
                                    you to enter text essentially as a "convenience".

                                    > What bothers me is the different behaviour with no
                                    > significant visual cue that you are in a different mode.

                                    Not at all. The frame around the cell goes from a focus-style to an
                                    edit field frame style.

                                    Can't you tell? ;-)

                                    --
                                    Phlip
                                    http://www.greencheese.org/ZeekLand <-- NOT a blog!!
                                  • Anthony Williams
                                    ... XEmacs does this, and I presume emacs does too. Anthony -- Anthony Williams Software Developer Just Software Solutions Ltd
                                    Message 17 of 22 , Dec 16, 2005
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                                      Phlip <phlip2005@...> writes:

                                      > On UEdit, when you type off the end of a window, the caret would
                                      > scroll to the center of the window. This is the correct behavior, and
                                      > I never saw any editor since use it.

                                      XEmacs does this, and I presume emacs does too.

                                      Anthony
                                      --
                                      Anthony Williams
                                      Software Developer
                                      Just Software Solutions Ltd
                                      http://www.justsoftwaresolutions.co.uk
                                    • Desilets, Alain
                                      ... XEmacs does this, and I presume emacs does too. -- Alain: Yes it does, and I HATE it (eventhough I have been using Emacs for 12 years). Whenever the screen
                                      Message 18 of 22 , Dec 16, 2005
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                                        > On UEdit, when you type off the end of a window, the caret would
                                        > scroll to the center of the window. This is the correct behavior, and
                                        > I never saw any editor since use it.

                                        XEmacs does this, and I presume emacs does too.

                                        -- Alain:
                                        Yes it does, and I HATE it (eventhough I have been using Emacs for 12
                                        years). Whenever the screen jumps like that, I completely loose my sense
                                        of where I am within the buffer.
                                        ----
                                      • Anthony Williams
                                        ... Interesting. I never really noticed until I read Phlip s message, despite the fact that I use XEmacs all the time (including writing this email). But then,
                                        Message 19 of 22 , Dec 16, 2005
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                                          "Desilets, Alain" <alain.desilets@...> writes:

                                          >> On UEdit, when you type off the end of a window, the caret would
                                          >> scroll to the center of the window. This is the correct behavior, and
                                          >> I never saw any editor since use it.
                                          >
                                          > XEmacs does this, and I presume emacs does too.
                                          >
                                          > -- Alain:
                                          > Yes it does, and I HATE it (eventhough I have been using Emacs for 12
                                          > years). Whenever the screen jumps like that, I completely loose my sense
                                          > of where I am within the buffer.
                                          > ----

                                          Interesting. I never really noticed until I read Phlip's message, despite the
                                          fact that I use XEmacs all the time (including writing this email). But then,
                                          I'm particularly good at keeping my place when the text moves --- I can read
                                          whilst scrolling the buffer at a reasonable pace (e.g. when hunting through
                                          a long list of search results for something relevant).

                                          I can see the benefit of not having the text jump around whilst you're
                                          working, but if it doesn't, then the cursor is almost always at the bottom of
                                          the window, which strikes me as less than ideal.

                                          Anthony
                                          --
                                          Anthony Williams
                                          Software Developer
                                          Just Software Solutions Ltd
                                          http://www.justsoftwaresolutions.co.uk
                                        • Desilets, Alain
                                          Interesting. I never really noticed until I read Phlip s message, despite the fact that I use XEmacs all the time (including writing this email). But then, I m
                                          Message 20 of 22 , Dec 16, 2005
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                                            Interesting. I never really noticed until I read Phlip's message,
                                            despite the fact that I use XEmacs all the time (including writing this
                                            email). But then, I'm particularly good at keeping my place when the
                                            text moves --- I can read whilst scrolling the buffer at a reasonable
                                            pace (e.g. when hunting through a long list of search results for
                                            something relevant).

                                            -- Alain:
                                            I'm a very spatially challenged person. I get lost rapidly when my
                                            environment keeps changing dynamically.
                                            ----
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