TweetFollow Us on Twitter

March 94 - Editor's Letter

Editor's Letter

CAROLINE ROSE

[IMAGE 002-003_Editorial_rev1.GIF]

Dear Readers,

We're excited to bring you, in this issue, develop's first Newton article. Even if you're not set up for Newton development, you may find this article of interest. But it's the article on zooming windows that inspired this editorial. The subject is user interface annoyances: those cases where the application doesn't quite do what the user expects it to -- as when a window zooms to an odd location -- and the user has to adjust for it. So what's the big deal? Well, it all adds up. Over time, the harm to the user from compensating for these problems can be physical as well as mental. You'll end up with a customer who is suffering in more ways than one.

As Joan Stigliani puts it in her forthcoming book, High-Tech Health: The Computer User's Survival Guide: "Software can make you work hard and contribute to overuse if it requires a lot of mouse use -- clicking and dragging, scrolling, moving the cursor back and forth across the screen -- or a lot of complex key sequences or excessive keying. Software that is difficult or frustrating to use can increase stress and tension." This especially struck a chord with me, since I suffer from tendinitis caused by excessive keying and mousing. So I'm going to take advantage of this opportunity to vent my frustration (isn't that what editorials are for?). Mainly, I hope to have at least some small influence on how you design the interface for your applications in the future.

Why do so many applications lack common sense? Why, for example, shouldn't Print or Save work on my frontmost document even if the active window happens to be a dialog box? Why can't I just type Command-F followed by text to be found rather than first have to select the text that the application (for some odd reason) didn't choose to highlight in the Find dialog? Why, even on my two-page monitor, do I have to resize a teeny window for every piece of e-mail I receive, or read a mere eight lines at a time, scrolling repeatedly (excessively) to get to the end? Why, when I cut a double-clicked word and then paste it, do so few applications add spaces intelligently?

The list of user interface superfluities goes on and on; these are only the problems I encounter most frequently each day. Please, give my hands (and my mind) a break! If I may make a few suggestions:

  • Don't blindly follow what other applications have done: maybe they didn't think it through well enough. There's a place for guidelines and precedents, but don't totally disregard common sense.
  • Use the application yourself for real tasks until you're blue in the face. Be honest; what bugs you about it? Your users will be even less tolerant.
  • Do extensive user testing before first ship, of course -- but even after you ship, solicit feedback and incorporate it into the next release. Be sure to get feedback from experienced users, not just first-timers.
  • Beware of creeping featurism: fix problems your testers or customers have with current features before adding new ones.

These suggestions are based on my own experience as the user manual writer and ad hoc product manager for the first version of the WriteNow application. John Anderson, one of the authors of WriteNow, says he thinks interface problems stem from software being too hard to write (something his next product will address) and from the related problem of software teams being too large. With many specialized programmers on a project, no one person focuses on the overall picture well enough to make the requisite intelligent decisions about the interface. Given a large team, a good product manager can make all the difference in the world. Look for someone both knowledgeable about the market and able to grasp the technical issues. As I noted about technical writing in an earlier editorial, product management isn't a job that just any smart person can do, or that CEOs or VPs should tackle in their spare time.

So I guess the moral is that more is not always better -- not when it comes to features in an application or programmers on a project, and certainly not when it comes to keystrokes and mouse clicks in an interface. Please, keep it clean.

Caroline Rose Editor

CAROLINE ROSE (AppleLink CROSE) started writing and programming at a company called Tymshare, where she thought at first that the terminal was the computer. (She was stunned to learn it occupied a huge room in another building.) By the time computers were the size of terminals, Caroline was on her way to Apple to write Inside Macintosh. She digressed to spend five years at NeXT, where she managed the Publications group, but returned to the Apple fold to edit develop. Caroline owes her love of the printed word to her father, who worked for the New York Daily News for over 50 years. There was no greater thrill as a child than to go to the office with him and see the copy desks, darkrooms, printing presses -- and, of course, the editors. She'd like to take this opportunity to say thanks, Dad, and Happy 85th Birthday!*

SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION Subscriptions to develop are available through APDA (see inside back cover for APDA information), or you can use the subscription card in the back of this issue. Please address all subscription-related inquiries to develop, Apple Computer, Inc., P.O. Box 531, Mt. Morris, IL 61054 (or AppleLink DEV.SUBS). *

BACK ISSUESFor information about back issues of develop and how to obtain them, see the last page of this issue. Back issues are also on the develop Bookmark CD and the Developer CD Series disc.*

 
AAPL
$101.76
Apple Inc.
+0.18
MSFT
$46.78
Microsoft Corpora
+0.26
GOOG
$588.24
Google Inc.
+3.47

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Xcode 6.0.1 - Integrated development env...
Apple Xcode is Apple Computer's integrated development environment (IDE) for OS X. The full Xcode package is free to ADC members and includes all the tools you need to create, debug, and optimize... Read more
Apple Safari 7.1 - Apple's Web brow...
Apple Safari in OS X Mavericks brings you all-new ways to find and enjoy the best of the web. It works with iCloud to give you a seamless browsing experience across all your devices. It looks out for... Read more
Delivery Status 6.1.2 - Check delivery s...
Delivery Status displays delivery status of packages for a variety of shipment services. Can't wait for your packages to arrive? Don't waste your time checking the site constantly, just open this all... Read more
Mavericks Cache Cleaner 8.0.9 - Clear ca...
Mavericks Cache Cleaner is an award-winning general purpose tool for OS X. MCC makes system maintenance simple with an easy point-and-click interface to many OS X functions. Novice and expert users... Read more
OneNote 15.2.2 - Free digital notebook f...
OneNote is your very own digital notebook. With OneNote, you can capture that flash of genius, that moment of inspiration, or that list of errands that's too important to forget. Whether you're at... Read more
Apple Configurator 1.6 - Configure and d...
Apple Configurator makes it easy for anyone to mass configure and deploy iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch in a school, business, or institution. Three simple workflows let you prepare new iOS devices... Read more
SpamSieve 2.9.16 - Robust spam filter fo...
SpamSieve is a robust spam filter for major email clients that uses powerful Bayesian spam filtering. SpamSieve understands what your spam looks like in order to block it all, but also learns what... Read more
OS X Server 3.2.1 - For OS X 10.9.5 Mave...
OS X Server is the next generation of Apple's award winning server software. Designed for OS X and iOS devices, OS X Server makes it easy to share files, schedule meetings, synchronize contacts, host... Read more
Apple Security Update 2014-004 - For OS...
Apple Security Update is recommended for all users and improves the security of Mac OS X. For information on the security content of this update, please visit this website: http://support.apple.com/... Read more
OS X Mavericks 10.9.5 - The latest versi...
Apple OS X Mavericks is the latest release of the world's most advanced desktop operating system. Now free! With more than 200 new features, OS X Mavericks brings Maps and iBooks to the Mac,... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Sling Adds Chromecast Support Through Sl...
Sling Adds Chromecast Support Through Slingplaye​r Mobile Apps Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
How to Completely Delete Your iPhone’s C...
The iPhone 6 is out tomorrow, and plenty of people are excited about it. So much so that they’re planning to – or already have – traded in their old iPhone to go towards it. The thing about trading in hardware is it’s very important to make sure... | Read more »
Dragon Quest I Review
Dragon Quest I Review By Andrew Fisher on September 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: THINE QUEST AWAITETHUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Its historical significance aside, Dragon Quest 1 is a fun, campy, difficult, thoroughly... | Read more »
It Came From Canada: Overkill 3
Overkill 3 is like every trope of big modern gaming rolled into one. It’s a sequel to an action-packed military shooter. It’s flashy and scripted and flaunts its sophisticated graphics. And it’s a mobile game with a heavy emphasis on in-app... | Read more »
New Modes and Leader Boards in Update fo...
New Modes and Leader Boards in Update for Rules! Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
TwistedRun Review
TwistedRun Review By Rob Thomas on September 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: DON'T TWIST YOUR ANKLE!Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad TwistedRun is kind of like running up a giant curly fry into the sky. Or maybe that was just... | Read more »
Scope Review
Scope Review By Jennifer Allen on September 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: LOCATION AWAREiPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad Want to easily find photos from around the world based on their location? Scope is a... | Read more »
HipstaFox Review
HipstaFox Review By Jordan Minor on September 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: FANTASTIC MR. FOXUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad HipstaFox is a great single that makes players long for the whole album.   | Read more »
Ninja Raft (Games)
Ninja Raft 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** Special Launch Price ** "Ninja Raft is definitely the game to play if you’re into Tower Defense games and want to play something... | Read more »
Paste+ | Clipboard Action Widget (Produ...
Paste+ | Clipboard Action Widget 1.0.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Productivity Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Powerful clipboard widget for iOS 8. Reimagine what you can do with your clipboard! Paste+ is a... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Save up to $300 on the price of a new Mac wit...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad at The Apple Store for Education and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free,... Read more
13-inch 2.8GHz Retina MacBook Pro available f...
B&H Photo has the new 2014 13″ 2.8GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1699.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. They’ll also include free copies of Parallels Desktop and LoJack for... Read more
16GB iPad Air on sale for $449, save $50
Walmart has the 16GB iPad Air WiFi on sale for $449 on their online store for a limited time. Choose free home shipping or free local store pickup. Their price represents a $50 savings over standard... Read more
13-inch 256GB MacBook Air on sale for $1099,...
B&H Photo has the 2014 13″ 1.4GHz 256GB MacBook Air on sale for $1099.99. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Toshiba Introduces TransMemory ID High-Speed...
Toshiba’s Digital Products Division (DPD), a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., today introduced the TransMemory ID USB 3.0 Flash Drive, a simpler storage solution for people who... Read more
New iPads and OS X Yosemite Release Coming Oc...
The DailyDot’s Micah Singleton reports that Apple is planning to hold its next product announcement event on Oct. 21, at which it will unveil the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 and release a final build... Read more
Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Cross-Platfor...
Logitech has an enviable track record of making some of the best computer keyboards and mice. At least in my estimation, the best freestanding keyboards I’ve ever used have been Logitech units,... Read more
Roundup of Apple refurbished iPad Airs and iP...
Apple is offering Certified Refurbished iPad Airs for up to $140 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. Stock tends to come and go with some of these... Read more
Sprint offers 16GB iPad mini for $199.99 with...
Sprint is offering 1st generation 16GB iPad minis for $199.99 with a 2-year service agreement. Standard MSRP for this iPad is $429. Their price is the lowest available for this model. Read more
2.5GHz Mac mini remains on sale for $549, sav...
B&H Photo has the 2.5GHz Mac mini on sale for $549.99 including free shipping. That’s $50 off MSRP, and B&H will also include a free copy of Parallels Desktop software. NY sales tax only. Read more

Jobs Board

Project Manager, *Apple* Financial Services...
**Job Summary** Apple Financial Services (AFS) offers consumers, businesses and educational institutions ways to finance Apple purchases. We work with national and Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.