Monday, October 10, 2005

R.I.P. WYSIWYG - Results-Oriented UI Coming (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)

Saw this on ProFox (thanks AGAIN , Malcolm)

It's interesting that Neilsen jumps over the new "results-oriented user interface", as noted by Office 12's interface. His big statement: "We know from user testing that users often demand that other user interfaces work like Office"

It will be interesting to see how this plays out - but keep the key poitns in mind from the new Office 12 interface - it's still all about the document-centric vision.

What do I mean by that? The O/S used to be application-centric - that is you choose the application to do the job you need done. Windows (and the web for that matter) has always tried to be more
document-centric - you work in a document and choose the right tools to do the job.

This new results-centric approach says you choose the tools based on the results you want and it's the job of the interface to make it easier to show what the results are - in short, you don't have to deduce or figure out what the tools mean, the interface should make it plainly obvious to you.

MS has been doing this for a few years now -still it's very telling that Jakob Neilsen is noting the big change in Office 12 as the telling signpost for the next generation user interface.

His comment: "But Microsoft Word 2003 has 1,500 commands, and users typically have no clue where to find most of them." Well the question really should be - do you NEED 1500 commands? (ask that to any Fox developer who knows all about dBloat) - maybe the real solution is the 37signals approach of less is more.

Most people who are starting with word processing (and there are a lot of them) don't get the difference between spaces and tabs or tables or columns so having 20 different commands for each of them essentially creates the UI conundrum.

It's a good article to read though - whether or not you agree or disagree with his conclusion that the Office 12 interface is going to be the defacto standard.

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