Re: Meaning of "user-friendly"

Subject: Re: Meaning of "user-friendly"
From: rjl -at- BOSTECH -dot- COM
Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 14:32:29 EST

A couple of people have responded to a statement that I made a few days
ago, when I said:

>To me, "user friendly" means "easily understood." Bob and cute icons don't
>contribute to that. I'd rather have a clearly written, dry looking manual
>than a "cute" icon-loaded pile of muddled words.

A typical response is Connie Winch, who wrote:

>Rick, I believe you're making an unfair assumption. Just because a manual
>contains cute icons and the like doesn't mean its words are muddled.

I agree with Connie, and the others. The original statement that I made is
flat out wrong. My original message left out a single word, and it changes
the meaning.

I -should have said:

"Bob and cute icons don't necessarily contribute to that."

Some "cute" books are clear and well written. Some "dry" books are clear
and well written. Some cute books, and some dry books, are a mess and
poorly written. Adding cute stuff to bad writing doesn't make it user
friendly, and I imagine (but have never thought to try) that deleting them
from a good manual won't turn good writing into garbage.

Now that I've stopped and thought about it, I've posted two messages on
this subject and somehow managed to muddy the waters both times. Maybe
I should just lurk for a while on this one....

Rick Lippincott
Boston Technology
Wakefield, MA
rjl -at- bostech -dot- com

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