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Usability vs. Beauty

Mickey Williams takes me to task on Usability vs. Beauty. I disagree, but understand his point. I think more beautiful designs are simply more usable. Why? Because they are more pleasing to use.

[Robert Scoble]

Totally disagree. Take a look at a product like "Total Commander". It still has that 70's software look, yet it is still one of the most known and beloved software products. Why? Because it gets the job done for which it was created, and it does it with a minimum of fuss or arrogance. It's still one of the most usable tools out there for admins even though many competitors have risen to the challenge. Of course, it could not have done this without setting the expectations to the right place. Don't expect a nice GUI, but do expect to be able to do anything with keyboard shortcuts. Even though it has lots  of missing "usability" features (Some of the dialogs just suck) it still wins out over a lot of other products. I've tried them all, and always went back and so have many many others. Just look for "file managers" in google. The best thing is - it's just a successor to "Norton Commander" which was the most used app in the DOS days. People still look for that power/simplicity combo, and TC seems to be one of the few that provides it.

Usability does not always mean “low learning curve”. It does mean “consistent” almost always. TC is consistent with NC keystrokes and a lot of people used that. It's like a legacy that moved on. Same reason that Word still has a setting to look like word 95 somewhere (along with key binding).

Take a desk clerk who handles his work with paper and no computer. Now give them the most usable paper processing app. What should it look like? It should like exactly like what his desk looked like, along with painted papers that can be moved around, labels and all. It should not look like a windows form. It should be consistent with what the work used to be like. That's how you win. TC does exactly that.

Can we have this for the PDC as well?

[Book] Managed DirectX 9 Kick Start : Graphics and Game Programming