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A very biased review


2005-09-04 06:15:46 PM
delphi242
It is Father's day in New Zealand today.
I've spent some time with my dog, some time with myself, and some time
with my boy.
I always like spending time with myself and my dog, but I find it most
rewarding to spend time with my boy.
He now works in the same industry as I do (as a software support person)
but he comes from a different generation and has different ideas about
how software should work.
I gave him a machine to watch television for him for his birthday a few
weeks ago. Today he spent time showing me how to do things with the
machine, but asked "Why isn't it as easy to use as the programs that you
write Dad?"
How can anyone answer that?
There are all sorts of aspects to elements of UI design and the
functionality that the UI can provide, and I am certainly no expert in
figuring out the best way to get things right, but I figure that if my
boy can make sense of it then I am on the right track.
Not all of us have the luxury of a usability lab. Heck there's probably
things that all of us get wrong in the way we present data, but when it
makes sense to the people we're trying to present it to, then maybe
we're getting something right.
I'll try to guess why my boy likes the way my systems present data to
him, and I will try to use my findings to make my programs better, but I
have no idea how well these findings will work in the greater market.
There's a very good chance that my boy was being nice to me because of
the day. There's also a very good chance that using a survey with a
sample quantity of 1 is going to be incredibly inaccurate. But having
surveyed the usability from even only 1 user makes me feel better.
At least I tried. And it is nice being able to be a hero for at least
one customer.
I love you Stephen.
Scout
 
 

Re:A very biased review

By, "a machine to watch television," do you mean a TV set?
 

Re:A very biased review

TObject writes:
Quote
By, "a machine to watch television," do you mean a TV set?
He may be referring to what is practically the only satellite TV decoder
in New Zealand, the 'Sky' decoder.
Cheers,
Nicholas Sherlock
 

Re:A very biased review

Scout writes:
Quote
It is Father's day in New Zealand today.
Do you live in New Zealand? If so, where abouts?
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Re:A very biased review

"Scout" <XXXX@XXXXX.COM>writes
Got any screenshots we can see?
I am always interested in some nice UIs :)
--
Best regards,
Alessandro Federici
Chief Architecture Designer
RemObjects Software, LLC
www.remobjects.com
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Re:A very biased review

Scout writes:
Quote
Today he spent time showing me how to do things with the
machine, but asked "Why isn't it as easy to use as the programs that you
write Dad?"
I had exactly the same sort of thing at the weekend too.
We bought a new Digital Camera for my mum for her 70th birthday. it is an
Olympus one - so it comes with a thing called 'Camedia Master' that allows
you to download and manipulate images.
While it (sort of) works it is a nightmare in terms of usability You know
the sort of thing - big on natty little images that don't mean a thing;
silly wizards that don't help; and a très modern skinned UI that's
virtually unusable.
I found she had a bunch of other Digital Image software installed that she
could use instead. There was some program from Epson that came with her
printer; some Adobe thing that came with her scanner, etc. etc. So we
tried them out to see if they were any more usable. They were universally
hopeless. Hideous non standard UIs, useless help and error messages in
Japenglish, etc.
One thing they all did which we particularly diskliked was that they all
had their own versions of something called "Albums", and it was virtually
impossible to find out the relationship between an 'Album' and an actual
folder on the hard disk.
In the end I gave her a copy of my old Image Viewer application and now
her life is complete!
--
Colin
 

Re:A very biased review

Colin Wilson writes:
Quote
In the end I gave her a copy of my old Image Viewer application and
now her life is complete!
I hope you charged her for it <g>
--
www.jed-software.com
 

Re:A very biased review

Quote
In the end I gave her a copy of my old Image Viewer application and now
her life is complete!
I know what you mean. I dumped all of the software that came with my Kodak
camera (except the drivers), and now just use the XP image wizard to grab
the pictures and put them into My Pictures.
It seems to me that Microsoft are miles ahead in the usability game, and
every piece of software that they integrate with XP is a million times
easier than the bloated alternative that gets supplied for 'free'. I am also
thinking of the CD writing ability of XP and the Zip functionality.
Oliver Townshend