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
$100.41
Apple Inc.
-0.17
MSFT
$45.11
Microsoft Corpora
+0.16
GOOG
$583.46
Google Inc.
-1.03

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Videobox 4.1.1 - Download Flash video th...
Videobox allows you to quickly and easily download Flash video from most all of the popular video sites on the internet. Videobox will convert the video into a native Quicktime format so it's ready... Read more
Web Snapper 3.3.5 - Capture entire Web p...
Web Snapper lets you capture Web pages exactly as they appear in your browser. You can send them to a file as images or vector-based, multi-page PDFs. It captures the whole Web page - eliminating... Read more
Picasa 3.9.138 - Organize, edit, and sha...
Picasa and Picasa Web Albums allows you to organize, edit, and upload your photos to the Web from your computer in quick, simple steps. Arrange your photos into folders and albums and erase their... Read more
Tidy Up 3.0.15.0 - Find duplicate files...
Tidy Up is a complete duplicate finder and disk-tidiness utility. With Tidy Up you can search for duplicate files and packages by the owner application, content, type, creator, extension, time... Read more
Parallels Desktop 10.0 - Run Windows app...
Parallels Desktop is simply the world's bestselling, top-rated, and most trusted solution for running Windows applications on your Mac. With Parallels Desktop for Mac, you can seamlessly run both... Read more
Apple Final Cut Pro X 10.1.3 - Professio...
Apple Final Cut Pro X is a professional video editing solution.Completely redesigned from the ground up, Final Cut Pro adds extraordinary speed, quality, and flexibility to every part of the post-... Read more
Apple Compressor 4.1.3 - Adds power and...
Compressor adds power and flexibility to Final Cut Pro X export. Customize output settings, work faster with distributed encoding, and tap into a comprehensive set of delivery features. Powerful... Read more
Chromium 36.0.1985.143 - Fast and stable...
Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all Internet users to experience the web. FreeSMUG-Free OpenSource Mac User Group build is... Read more
Macgo Blu-ray Player 2.10.6.1691 - Blu-r...
Macgo Mac Blu-ray Player can bring you the most unforgettable Blu-ray experience on your Mac. Overview Macgo Mac Blu-ray Player can satisfy just about every need you could possibly have in a Blu-ray... Read more
Apple Motion 5.1.2 - Create and customiz...
Apple Motion is designed for video editors, Motion 5 lets you customize Final Cut Pro titles, transitions, and effects. Or create your own dazzling animations in 2D or 3D space, with real-time... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

BoxPop Review
BoxPop Review By Jennifer Allen on August 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: UNTAXING PUZZLESUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Move from tile to tile to clear the board in this slightly too simple and easy puzzle game.   | Read more »
Breakdown Buddy Review
Breakdown Buddy Review By Jennifer Allen on August 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: FLAWED CONCEPTiPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad There’s a good idea here, but Breakdown Buddy isn’t as useful as it tries to... | Read more »
jamstik, the Guitar You Can Take Everywh...
jamstik, the Guitar You Can Take Everywhere, is Now Available for Purchase Posted by Jessica Fisher on August 21st, 2014 [ permalink ] Zivix has announced that their guitar-in-your-pocket, | Read more »
Star Walk 2 - Guide to the Sky Day and N...
Star Walk 2 - Guide to the Sky Day and Night 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: The next generation of the best-selling Star Walk, winner of Apple Design Award, used by... | Read more »
Forks Over Knives Review
Forks Over Knives Review By Jennifer Allen on August 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: TASTY AND HEALTHYUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Want some tasty new recipe ideas but want to keep it healthy? Forks Over Knives is the... | Read more »
Invaders! From Outer Space (Games)
Invaders! From Outer Space 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Dementia: Book of the Dead (Games)
Dementia: Book of the Dead 1.00 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.00 (iTunes) Description: EXCLUSIVE CONTENT ONLY ON THE APP STORE. Medieval England. Times of knights, witches and hunters. What other... | Read more »
Wan Nyan Slash (Games)
Wan Nyan Slash 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Wan Nyan Slash is an infinite adorable demon slaying slashing action game! Play as the wandering samurai Wan and Nyan as they... | Read more »
Fallin Love - The Game of Love (Games)
Fallin Love - The Game of Love 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: GRAVITATE AROUND LOVE | Read more »
Ancient Battle: Hannibal (Games)
Ancient Battle: Hannibal 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

21-inch iMacs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 21″ iMacs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. B&H will also include a free copy of Parallels Desktop software: - 21″ 2.7GHz iMac: $... Read more
27-inch 3.2GHz iMac on sale for $1698, save $...
Abt has the 27″ 3.2GHz iMac on sale for $1698 including free shipping. Their price is $101 off MSRP. Read more
Mac Backup Guru 2.0 Drive Backup/Cloneing Uti...
Mac Backup Guru developer MacDaddy has released Mac Backup Guru 2.0, offering new and enhanced advanced features, such as bootable backups, synchronised volumes and folders, and a Snapshot mode that... Read more
Operate GE’s New Free-Standing KItchen Range...
Think you accidentally left the oven on? Switch it off while on the go. The new free-standing Profile™ Series gas and electric ranges are GE’s second cooking appliances, following their wall oven, to... Read more
Parallels Announces Parallels Desktop 10 for...
The no. 1-selling software for running Windows applications on a Mac becomes an even easier choice for millions of consumers and IT professionals worldwide with the launch of the most powerful... Read more
Apple now offering certified refurbished 2014...
 The Apple Store is now offering Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs for up to $180 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is... Read more
Best Buy’s College Student Deals: $100 off Ma...
Take an additional $100 off all MacBooks and iMacs, $50 off iPad Airs and iPad minis, at Best Buy Online with their College Students Deals Savings, valid through September 6th. Anyone with a valid .... Read more
MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP, free...
B&H Photo has three 2014 MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. They also include free copies of Parallels Desktop and LoJack for Laptops... Read more
Razer Taipan Mouse For Gamers And Non-Gamers...
If you’re a serious gamer on either Mac or Windows PCs, a serious gaming mouse is a necessity for first-tier performance. However, even if like me you’re not much of a gamer, there’s still a strong... Read more
15-inch 2.2GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $1899,...
Adorama has the new 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1899 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this... 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* Solutions Consultant (ASC)- Retail S...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
…customers purchase our products, you're the one who helps them get more out of their new Apple technology. Your day in the Apple Store is filled with a range of 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
Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.