(Fwd) Re: Minimalism

Subject: (Fwd) Re: Minimalism
From: Michael Priestley <mpriestley -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 30 Jan 1997 16:24:53 EST

Robert Plamondon writes:

>Really good intuitive design eliminates the need for a lot of documentation.
>So does less-intuitive design if it's part of a universal standard.
>I've never seen a piece of documentation telling the user to raise the
>little red flag in his mailbox when he wants the carrier to pick up
>a letter.

Just make sure the standard really is universal. If you're documenting an
email product that happens to use that little red flag as a metaphor within
the interface, you will indeed have to explain its purpose, if only for the
sake of European and Asian users who have not grown up with N. America's
rural postal system.

That one actually is a textbook example, though I can't remember which
textbook.

Aside from that quibble, though, I whole-heartedly agree with your point:
if the product's a dog, the documentation barks; and the more obnoxious the
dog, the more it barks; unless of course it's your iddy widdle oopsy dums
and can do no wrong, gets enshrined as a standard and becomes undead.
(Case in point: we still have a DOS command window in OS/2 and Windows 95).
Anyone got some garlic?

Michael Priestley
mpriestley -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com
Who despite his brave posturing still resorts to the good ol' undead
command prompt more often than not.

Disclaimer: speaking on my own behalf, not IBM's.

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