Re: HTML5, Phones, and Tables

Subject: Re: HTML5, Phones, and Tables
From: Chris Despopoulos <despopoulos_chriss -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: Kathleen MacDowell <kathleen -dot- eamd -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 24 Jun 2016 19:04:24 +0000 (UTC)

Since I'm the one who accused UX design of dumbing down, I'd better respond. I don't mean to say that dumbing down NECESSARILY happens, or that the world would be better without designed GUIs. But in my opinion the current trend is toward dumbing down.

Just the change of title, from User Interface to User Experience gives me a problem. At the highest level, if I want an experience I sure don't want it on my computer (phone, etc.). Collapsing everything into images and removing the raw POWER of text is not the right way to go IMO. Without the combinatory power of text, we wouldn't have the technology to support this discussion.Â

GUIs initially presented command frameworks as a language -- nouns, verbs, and modifiers. That was a huge innovation. The visuals give shortcuts, but the interface still supports linguistic combination of terms. IMO, User Experience is in danger of trending away from that kind of combination, and back to lists of independent commands that can be expressed by a tile or some sort of picture. And I'm wondering if this trend isn't driven by shrinking real estate (phones).
Back to tables... I just think tables support rapid (agile?) combination of data points, and hate to lose that. What's the alternative on a phone? Can we support the same level of combination, or must we dumb things down and force users to either know the combinations beforehand, or else risk never discovering them?


From: Kathleen MacDowell <kathleen -dot- eamd -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Chris Despopoulos <despopoulos_chriss -at- yahoo -dot- com>
Cc: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Sent: Friday, June 24, 2016 2:32 PM
Subject: Re: HTML5, Phones, and Tables

This is a very interesting discussion, as I haven't considered how to do a better job than is currently being done. I do know I get frustrated with trying to do too much with my smart phone, but I haven't had a sophisticated one for very long.
A couple of small component ideas based on the discussion:
-Some vendors do a superb job with putting type & info onto the small screen. I don't know enough to compare them, but Apple has impressed me, so I know it can be done.
-Love tables for info, but even on a computer or piece of paper, there are limits to how much info you can put on them or absorb. So then we do some type of judgement call. If necessary we can offer links or books of background or expansion. Thinking of it makes me marvel at the whole idea behind Excel and similar types of programs.
Hate the airline apps & way to choose flight, but there's something to the idea. Maybe give people a list of selectors as to what's most important: A, B, C, ..., with a max number of choices, then present info sorted that way and let them scroll sideways. Then they can select from that list to present info more compactly? Like your photo app lets you select?
One could also present info similar to what was selected, like a shopping site, when you select one item and it offers other choices like that. Or a list where you select a bunch of items to compare.
-I beg to differ with whoever slighted UX/UI practitioners as dumbing down info. Ideally that's not any more what they do than what a tech writer does. In fact, I'd hazard that this discussion touches on a real synergy between what tech writing and UI/UX could be/does at its best.
Kathleen

On Thu, Jun 23, 2016 at 3:09 AM, Chris Despopoulos <despopoulos_chriss -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote:

In the old world tables are very useful. There's no better way in print to show a matrix of options, or present a comparison in one glance. For desktop online docs that translates really well... You can even use javascript to turn the table into something a bit more dynamic -- say, enable sorting of rows, for example. But tables require a lot of real estate.Â

What do you do for phones?
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--
Kathleen MacDowell
kathleen -dot- eamd -at- gmail -dot- com



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References:
HTML5, Phones, and Tables: From: Chris Despopoulos
Re: HTML5, Phones, and Tables: From: Kathleen MacDowell

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