Intuitive? (was :OT How do I unsubscribe?.. reading directions)

Subject: Intuitive? (was :OT How do I unsubscribe?.. reading directions)
From: Roy Jacobsen <rjacobse -at- GreatPlains -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2000 09:16:34 -0600

Peter [mailto:pnewman1 -at- home -dot- com] wrote:
>Chuck Martin wrote:
>> When users approach the door, they do so without conscious thought. They
>> the bar and recognize from its appearance what to do. Or so they think.
>> are then surprised when pushing does not result in what they expect.
>> not incompetence in users, that's incompetence in design.
> What about two door symmetrically designed. One for Entrance and one
>for exit.
>Are you saying that software should be so intuitive as not to need
>documentation? How many zillion lines of code would that need.

Hard to say. But it's worth looking at. But much of what we consider
"intuitive" is merely something we learned so long ago that we forgot it was
something we did not just "know." Case in point, the aforementioned doors.
At some point, we all learned that the horizontal bar all the way across the
door meant "push." There's nothing intuitive about it.

Perhaps an even better idea than striving to make something "intuitive"
would be to reduce the number of wrong choices available to the user. For
the doors, who says they can't be designed so you could push OR pull and get
the door open?

<TokenEffortToBringThisOnTopic>I realize not everyone has the luxury of
being able to lobby for changes to a product to improve its usability, but
if you can, THAT is the kind of change we should lobby for (instead of being
stuck trying to document a bass-ackward, obstinate

Roy M. Jacobsen
Documentation Supervisor
Great Plains
1701 38th Street Southwest
Fargo, ND 58103

"[The Y2K bug] was sorta like dodge ball. You hardly ever get hit by the
ball you see." -- Patricia Jacobsen (age 12)

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