Re. Interface metaphor hype?

Subject: Re. Interface metaphor hype?
From: geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA
Date: Fri, 8 Mar 1996 14:41:26 -0600

Stuart Burnfield asks if we're not getting a tad carried
away with our emphasis on user interface metaphors, then
makes the telling point that these are most important for
new users, and that we're only new users once.

Two points of rebuttal, Stuart: First, for a product with a
growing user population, there will always be lots of new
users, and you can't ignore them. Second, when you add new
features or update old ones, even experienced users will
learn them faster if they're consistent with the existing
metaphor. (User interface consistency is important...
remember the bad old days when Windows was a really pale
imitation of the Mac and no two applications used
consistent keyboard shortcuts? Ugh!)

You're right, though, that it's easy to lose sight of the
purpose of an interface and to overextend the metaphor. The
thing is, I haven't seen any metaphors for general office
computing that work better than the desktop metaphor.
Something better is bound to come along, but not just yet.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

Disclaimer: If I didn't commit it in print in one of our
reports, it don't represent FERIC's opinion.

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