TweetFollow Us on Twitter

December 96 - Editor's Note

Editor's Note

Caroline Rose

Regular readers of develop may know that, while I always use the latest hardware and software at work, my home system is woefully out of date -- at least it was until I recently upgraded to a Power Mac. The initial setup wasn't too hard, once I got used to flipping back and forth between the manual for the computer, the manual for the monitor, and the online updates; when all else failed, I relied on common sense. But when I moved beyond hardware setup into software installation, it seemed as if I was expected to know much more than I did. The modem software installer, for example, would just name a software module and say "click OK if you want to install this," with no mention of which module(s) provided the basic modem capabilities (which is all I wanted). What to do? I recently had this same feeling while trying to learn a new e-mail application at work: though I immediately saw how to address mail to anyone on any network in the known world with barely a keystroke, I couldn't tell how to simply enter an address for someone here at Apple. In these and many similar cases I've encountered recently, I couldn't figure out how to perform basic application functions without the intervention of an experienced user. The manuals and online help were somewhat helpful, but they were limited by the design of the software, which was the problem in the first place. Common sense was no help at all.

Naturally I griped about this to my "friends in the industry." I think one of them hit the nail on the head when he said the problem is that too many products are being designed by experts who, consciously or not, design for experts. Designing with experts in mind ends up complicating everything, even the features that should be simple. Bud Tribble, when he managed the software group at NeXT, used to tell programmers, "Simple things should be simple, and complex things should be possible." It seems increasingly true these days that designers are trying to make complex things simple, but as a result are making simple things complex. Design by experts for experts is not the answer: developers need to find out what real users want, and focus on their needs.

Is develop guilty of a similar problem? When I looked at the feedback we gathered at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference this year, I noticed that some develop readers are asking for more entry-level articles, saying that a lot of what we publish is over their heads. While we're limited by what types of articles are submitted to us for publication, the develop Review Board does get to say which ones are accepted or not, and the Board is largely made up of "expert" programmers. Do we consequently tend to decide in favor of the more advanced articles? We'll keep an eye out for this from now on.

I often recall the days when Steve Jobs envisioned that the Macintosh would be as easy to use as a home appliance. Sure, we don't want to go back to that first oversimplified product, but maybe we should all ponder whether we've gone a bit too far in the opposite direction. I'd like to believe there' s still a place for common sense.

CAROLINE ROSE (crose@apple.com) has been a Mac enthusiast ever since she started writing the original Inside Macintosh in 1982. After a reorganization that suddenly changed the entire managerial hierarchy above her (up to and including Steve Jobs), she left Apple, but like so many other formerly disgruntled employees, she eventually returned. This year, again, a reorg happened that changed the entire managerial hierarchy above Caroline. At least there's some stability in her home life, where her cat Cleo remains the boss after 15 long years. *

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

How to get coins faster in Rodeo Stamped...
There comes a time in a cowboy or cowgirl's life when all the riding and lassoing skills in the world aren't enough. You're going to need some cold, hard cash to keep your sky zoo expanding in Rodeo Stampede. [Read more] | Read more »
How to out-do Cam Newton in Can You Dab?
The thing about dance crazes is that you're never really sure when they've run their course. Take the Dab, for instance. Propelled by its adoption as the touchdown celebration of choice for Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, the Dab seemed... | Read more »
Artik Games releases Splashy Cats for An...
Splashy Cats had us hooked from the title alone, and when we found out the game was literally just zig-zagging one of our favourite pop-culture references, guised as a playable cat character, down a river – our appetites were whetted to say the... | Read more »
Battle Cars (Games)
Battle Cars 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Welcome to the world of Battle Cars. Battle Cars is a classic arcade top-down racing game with fast mini cars and funny weapons to... | Read more »
How to get started with live.ly
One could be forgiven for thinking that there are already plenty of streaming video apps out there. It's just that the App Store charts would insist that you're mistaken. [Read more] | Read more »
Rodeo Stampede: Guide to all Savannah an...
A "gotta catch 'em all" joke seems appropriate here, even though we're talking animals in Rodeo Stampede and not pocket monsters. By now you've probably had plenty of rides, tamed some animals and built yourself a pretty nice zoo | Read more »
Is there cross-platform play in slither....
So you've sunken plenty of hours into crawling around in slither.io on your iPhone or iPad. You've got your stories of tragedy and triumph, the times you coiled four snakes at one time balanced out by the others when you had a length of more than... | Read more »
Rodeo Stampede guide to running a better...
In Rodeo Stampede, honing your skills so you can jump from animal to animal and outrun the herd as long as possible is only half the fun. Once you've tamed a few animals, you can bring them home with you. [Read more] | Read more »
VoxSyn (Music)
VoxSyn 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $6.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: VoxSyn turns your voice into the most flexible vocal sound generator ever. Instantly following even subtle modulations of pitch and... | Read more »
Catch Battleplans on Google Play from Ju...
Real-time strategy title Battleplans is due for release on Google Play on June 30th, following its release for iOS systems last month. With its simple interface and pretty graphics, the crowd-pleaser brings a formerly overlooked genre out for the... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

MacBook Airs on sale for up to $50-$100 off M...
B&H Photo has 13″ and 11″ MacBook Airs on sale for up to $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 11″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air: $849 $50 off list price - 11″ 1.... Read more
Brexit Vote Result Forecast To Slash UK 2016...
Uncertainty and economic volatility can be expected to increase over the next nine months, as the Brexit and concerns over the future of the EU hit IT investment, say Canalys market analysts, with... Read more
13-inch 256GB MacBook Air on sale for $1149,...
Amazon has the 2016 13″ 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air (model MMGG2LL/A) on sale for $1149.99 including free shipping. Their price is also $50 off MSRP. Read more
Haven App Launches New Age Of Wirless 911 Eme...
Haven from RapidSOS represents a transformation in access to emergency services from a phone call solely dependent on voice to a robust data connection for voice, text, medical/demographic data.... Read more
Cu Parachute 1.1 Retirement Success PLanning...
Tucson, Arizona based Indie developer Bradley McCarthy has announce the release of Cu (Copper) Parachute 1.1 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices — a tool with which users can continuously... Read more
Research and Markets Releases iPhone 6s Plus...
A new analysis report from Dublin-based Research and Markets observes that with the iPhone 6s Plus, Apple introduced a new rear camera module. The new device has similar structure and technology than... Read more
Apple refurbished Retina MacBook Pros availab...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 13″ and 15″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $380 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free... Read more
Apple refurbished 11-inch MacBook Airs availa...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 11″ MacBook Airs (the latest models), available for up to $170 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is... Read more
Apple price trackers, updated continuously
Scan our Apple Price Trackers for the latest information on sales, bundles, and availability on systems from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers. We update the trackers continuously: - 15″... Read more
12-inch 32GB and 128GB WiFi iPad Pros on sale...
B&H Photo has 12″ 32GB & 128GB WiFi iPad Pros on sale for up to $80 off MSRP, each including free shipping. B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 12″ Space Gray 32GB WiFi iPad Pro: $749 $50... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* iPhone 6s and New Products Tester Ne...
…we therefore look forward to put out products to quality test for durability. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store, Read more
*Apple* iPhone 6s and New Products Tester Ne...
…we therefore look forward to put out products to quality test for durability. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions, Willow...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* iPhone 6s and New Products Tester Ne...
…we therefore look forward to put out products to quality test for durability. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store, Read more
*Apple* iPhone 6s and New Products Tester Ne...
…we therefore look forward to put out products to quality test for durability. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.