Re: on the strange weakness of Graphical User Interface Languages

On Oct 20, 9:25 pm, George Neuner <gneuner2/@/> wrote:
On Sat, 20 Oct 2007 14:27:05 GMT, Kirk Sluder

<k...@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
In article <ol2gh310pe8rimaoaqbsmt6v4as7oiu...@xxxxxxx>,
George Neuner <gneuner2/@/> wrote:

On Wed, 17 Oct 2007 23:55:03 +0200, Pascal Costanza <p...@xxxxxxxxx>

George Neuner wrote:

Users don't want to have to learn anything to interact with computers,
they want to communicate with machines as they would with another
human and have it provide meaningful results - without having to know
or care how the machine operates.

This assumes that we don't have to learn anything to communicate with
other humans. That's wrong as well.

I didn't say people don't *have* to learn ... I said they don't *want*
to have to learn.

for email reply remove "/" from address

Well, I'll take a contrarian view on this is that people, in
general, love to learn. They can't help it because each and every
interaction they have with their environment is a learning
experience. People will gladly tackle hobbies with a learning curve
from weekend baseball, to knitting, to woodworking, to painting, to
watching their favorite sports program. (And I've yet to watch a
sports program that is not utter gibberish to those without a
treasury of learned information about both the rules, and the league
in question.) People spend billions of dollars on complex computer
interfaces that they will spend hours trying to master. Most people
call these interfaces "games."

So the problem isn't with willingness to learn. Anybody with the
ability to interact with computers is learning whether they like it
or not. The question is, what do computer interfaces actually teach
with their superficially inconsistent rules, mixed metaphors, and
glitchy bugs?

People actively resist learning about things that frighten them. The
problem is that people seem to have a unique fear of computers that is
fundamentally different from their fears of other technology
(automobiles, flying, etc.). Many people act as if they believe the
computer is sentient and judges them if they make a mistake. Even the
most irrational, terrified flyer doesn't think the plane is angry at

Joel Spolsky - User Interface Design for Programmers:
A very significant portion of your users are scared of the darn
computer. It ate their term paper. It may eat them if they press the
wrong button. And although I've always known this intellectually, I've
never really felt this fear of the computer.
Until last week. You see, last week I set up the payroll for my new
company. I have four people to pay, and the payroll company has set me
up with a Web-based interface in which I enter payroll information.
This interface has a suctionlike device directly hooked up to vacuum
money straight out of my bank account.