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Re: awareness + flexibility + security

From: Jonathan S. Shapiro
Subject: Re: awareness + flexibility + security
Date: Tue, 08 Nov 2005 14:32:08 -0500

On Tue, 2005-11-08 at 19:00 +0100, Marcus Brinkmann wrote:
> I don't know about you, but everytime some dialog box in an
> application I use for the first time asks me if I want to
> babble-gabble the froob through the bibskadenga, I just click on the
> biggest of the buttons presented, or the one with the nicest color,
> and hope for the best.  So, "Awareness" is just a basic usability
> requirement.

This behavior is almost universal, and it leads to another goal that is
very very hard to achieve:

  To the extent feasible, natural actions taken by the user should lead
  (only) to expected outcomes.

This is sometimes referred to as the "principle of least surprise."

Most of the cases where a dialog box asks you a question are entirely
unnecessary if the system can confine behavior. *All* of the ActiveX
dialogs come immediately to mind as junk that could be eliminated.


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