zander at kde.org
Fri Nov 17 12:41:19 GMT 2006
On Friday 17 November 2006 12:39, johnflux at gmail.com wrote:
> I don't think you can just apply blanket statements.
I wasn't aware I said anything controversial.
> If there was a way to split pdf's etc in a way that did not confuse
> or distract or otherwise negatively affect newbies wanting to only
> view a document, would that please everyone?
Some years ago I was doing helpdesk work for an application our company
shipped to be used by secretaries. One thing that they had to do quite often
was add an image to the document. They could do that using a file-open
There were quite a number of these secretaries that learned just one or two
applications and had no knowledge about computers whatsoever. Microsoft Word
being the app that most knew.
The result we had was that we got bugreports that the images could not be
imported. Our application didn't recognize them according to the caller.
What had really happened was that the photo had been made and copied onto a
floppy disk after which they read our manual and saw the example of using our
application to read the image if it had been placed on the desktop.
So, they started the only app they knew well and used Word to load the image
from floppy and saved the Word file on the desktop.
And complained that our application could not load the Word file. (which they
called the image).
Where am I going with this?
Just because you can do something doesn't mean its a good thing to do. As an
application developer you have the responsibility to find out, first and
foremost, the problem the user tries to solve. Best described as the users
goals. (Print one page, send a document to a friend).
> I think this is the base that new features should be considered on.
Placing a feature in the application where it makes most sense is another one.
And 'most sense' is not where you personally think it should go because, as
you know, you are not your user. Typical users look very differently on
things, they make silly decisions and ask for silly features just to work
around the silly decisions they made earlier.
The lady from my example thought she had to work around some difficult concept
by using Word to 'copy' a file.
Lets show people how we they can be productive by making applications simple,
to the point and do what it says it does.
Overloading a concept like a viewer with editing functionality just distorts
the mental model of the way things work and it doesn't help the huge
percentage of those users that has no need to edit and _just_ want to view
I'd say that finding out what high-level goal the user wants to accomplish and
finding the best way (and app) to accomplish that is a much better way to
consider which feature to add.
After all, what would KMail look like if we'd add adding images, and cropping
and color adjustment etc. Just because we can.
Very hard to use, thats what.
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