India Uncut

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Keep it simple, stupid

Joel Spolsky, in an excellent post titled Choices = Headaches, points out a key problem in Windows Vista: it gives the user too many choices. There are, for example, "[a] total of fifteen different ways to shut down a laptop that you're expected to choose from."

Now, choices are a good thing, and the more choices we have, the more empowered we are. But these choices also confuse us if we have no tool to navigate them. When it comes to the internet, portals and filter blogs and search engines help us make sense of the bewildering amount of content out there in different ways. Similarly, in different ways, we manage not to lose our minds when it comes to picking from books to buy, films to see and so on. We don't let the choices overwhelm us, and they're generally not in-your-face choices, so we're ok.

But our computers are different. If I want to perform an action -- like closing the computer -- I should not be made to apply my mind on how to do it. It should be simple and intuitive. And I rather like Spolsky's suggestions on how to make that interface simpler, especially his conclusion: just one button that says "b'bye." Simple, elegant, and respectful of my time and attention bandwidth.

(Link via email from MadMan.)
amit varma, 11:38 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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