(Visitor John Lindal's response to Bryan Oakley's post)
I would argue that the ease in which one intuits the features and functions of a design is _not_ necessarily indicitive of a good design.
Read "The Design of Everyday Things," by Donald Norman. Making things obvious is the holy grail of design, both for physical objects and software. Even for door handles. (Have you ever noticed how many doors are done wrong? Think about this the next time you instinctively push instead of pull.)
sometimes you just have to learn something new to use something new.
I agree. People have to learn about computers in order to use them. Computers can do things that nobody ever dreamed of doing with customized physical objects, and designers should therefore not limit themselves. (A beautiful example is a communications package that I heard of where one had to literally walk out of the building, down the street, and into another building in order to use a different feature of the program. No chance of displaying each function in a separate window.)
if one's goal is to create a completely new design, one can't help but use design elements no one has seen before.
IBM was clearly trying to avoid doing that, but it's an excellent design rule. It worked for the Macintosh! (or the Xerox Star, if you prefer :)
Tooltips and statusbars are a crutch.
There can never, never, -never- be too many ways to help the user figure out what is going on. Throwing away something that has proven useful and that is not intrusive shows that the IBM gang isn't thinking at all.
Sincerely, John Lindal
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