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.*

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Civilization VI 1.0.1 - Next iteration o...
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is the next entry in the popular Civilization franchise. Originally created by legendary game designer Sid Meier, Civilization is a strategy game in which you attempt to... Read more
Chromium 55.0.2883.75 - 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. Version 55.0.2883.75: Security fixes: High CVE-2016... Read more
Google Chrome 55.0.2883.75 - Modern and...
Google Chrome is a Web browser by Google, created to be a modern platform for Web pages and applications. It utilizes very fast loading of Web pages and has a V8 engine, which is a custom built... Read more
VirtualBox 5.1.10 - x86 virtualization s...
VirtualBox is a family of powerful x86 virtualization products for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers... Read more
Pixa 1.1.9 - Quickly and easily organize...
Pixa is an image-organizing application. The new app functions well, is easy to use, and helps people organize their images quickly and easily on their computers. For those who prefer not to use the... Read more
VirtualBox 5.1.10 - x86 virtualization s...
VirtualBox is a family of powerful x86 virtualization products for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers... Read more
Pixa 1.1.9 - Quickly and easily organize...
Pixa is an image-organizing application. The new app functions well, is easy to use, and helps people organize their images quickly and easily on their computers. For those who prefer not to use the... Read more
Civilization VI 1.0.1 - Next iteration o...
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is the next entry in the popular Civilization franchise. Originally created by legendary game designer Sid Meier, Civilization is a strategy game in which you attempt to... Read more
Google Chrome 55.0.2883.75 - Modern and...
Google Chrome is a Web browser by Google, created to be a modern platform for Web pages and applications. It utilizes very fast loading of Web pages and has a V8 engine, which is a custom built... Read more
Chromium 55.0.2883.75 - 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. Version 55.0.2883.75: Security fixes: High CVE-2016... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Amateur Surgeon 4 Guide: Become the worl...
It's time to wield your trusty pizza cutter again, as Amateur Surgeon has returned with a whole fresh set of challenges (and some old, familiar ones, too). Starting anew isn't easy, especially when all you have at your disposal is a lighter, the... | Read more »
Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire (Ga...
Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Telltale Games really is working on a Gu...
Telltale Games' next episodic adventure is indeed Guardians of the Galaxy. A document tied to the voice actors strike suggested that the project was in the work, but now we have direct confirmation following an announcement at the Game Awards that... | Read more »
Amateur Surgeon returns to iOS and Andro...
Amateur Surgeon and its two sequels disappeared from the App Store some time and it was sad days for all. But now, just in time for the holidays, the Adult Swim favorite makes its joyous return in the shape of Amateur Surgeon 4, a remake with... | Read more »
The best board games on mobile
Sometimes you need to ditch all of the high speed, high action games in favor of something a little more traditional. If you don't feel like parting ways from your mobile device, though, there are still plenty of ways to get that old-school fix.... | Read more »
The best Facebook Messenger Instant Game...
Facebook's new Instant Games is now here, meaning you can play games with your friends directly via Facebook. It's a fun new way to connect with friends, of course, but it's also proving to be a solid gaming experience in its own right, with a... | Read more »
You can now play game's on Facebook...
Facebook launched its new Instant Games platform in an exciting new attempt to engage its user base. As a result, you can now play a number of different games directly through Facebook Messenger. All of these games run with HTML5, meaning you play... | Read more »
Apollo Justice Ace Attorney (Games)
Apollo Justice Ace Attorney 1.00.00 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.00.00 (iTunes) Description: Court Is Back In Session Star as rookie defense attorney, Apollo Justice, as he visits crime scenes,... | Read more »
KORG iWAVESTATION (Music)
KORG iWAVESTATION 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $19.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A revolutionary new world of sound.The Wave Sequence Synthesizer for iPad - KORG iWAVESTATION | Read more »
Don't Grind Guide: Tips for becomin...
Don’t Grind is a surprising, derpy little one touch game with fun hand-drawn graphics. The goal is simple -- get the high score without being chopped to bits. That can be tough when you’re not used to the game, and that’s compounded by the fact... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

13-inch Silver Touch Bar MacBook Pro in stock...
Amazon has the new 2016 13″ 2.9GHz/256GB Silver Touch Bar MacBook Pro (MLVP2LL/A) in stock today and on sale for $1749 including free shipping. That’s $50 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price... Read more
Parallels Toolbox 1.3 for Mac Offers 25 Singl...
Parallels has launched Parallels Toolbox 1.3 for Mac, an upgrade that adds five new utilities to the stand-alone application which was released in August and is available exclusively online at http... Read more
OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual mini Ultra-Portabl...
OWC has introduced the new OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual mini, a powerful yet ultra-portable dual-drive RAID solution. The new Mercury Elite Pro Dual mini packs phenomenal performance into a small... Read more
Clearance 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros availab...
B&H Photo has clearance 2015 13″ Retina Apple MacBook Pros available for up to $200 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $... Read more
Roundup of 2016 13-inch 2.0GHz MacBook Pro sa...
B&H has the non-Touch Bar 13″ MacBook Pros in stock today for $50-$100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.0GHz MacBook Pro Space Gray (MLL42LL/A): $1449 $... Read more
New 13-inch 2.0GHz Space Gray MacBook Pro in...
Adorama has the new 13″ 2.0GHz Space Gray MacBook Pro (non-Touch Bar, MLL42LL/A) in stock for $1499 including a free 3-year AppleCare Protection Plan. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax... Read more
Finnair Adopts iOS Enterprise iPad Apps from...
Finnair and IBM have announced a first-of-its-kind agreement to utilize iOS enterprise apps from IBM to support the airline’s overall digital transformation. Finnair is focused on Asia-Europe traffic... Read more
Tech21 Launches Evo Go iPhone 7 Case Availabl...
Tech21 has announced the launch of the Evo Go case for Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, exclusively at T-Mobile. Available online and at participating T-Mobile stores nationwide, Evo Go cases start... Read more
Apple Turns (RED) with More Ways to Join the...
In recognition of World AIDS Day, Apple is offering more ways than ever for customers to join (RED) in its mission to create an AIDS-free generation. Apple is the worlds largest corporate contributor... Read more
Deals on new 15-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pros,...
B&H Photo has new 2016 Apple 15″ Touch Bar MacBook Pro models in stock today with some available for $50 off MSRP, each including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.7GHz Touch Bar... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Brand Ambassador (Macy's) - The...
…(T-ROC), is proud of its unprecedented relationship with our partner and client, APPLE ,in bringing amazing" APPLE ADVOCATES"to "non" Apple store locations. Read more
US- *Apple* Store Leader Program - Apple (Un...
…Summary Learn and grow as you explore the art of leadership at the Apple Store. You'll master our retail business inside and out through training, hands-on Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- White P...
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
Automotive Detailer - *Apple* Used Autos -...
We are currently conductinginterviews and will be accepting applications for a part-time detailer. Apple Used Autos is a great place to work andstart a career. We Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.