Follow

I don't think either Microsoft or Apple software is particularly "user friendly". And certainly not more than most open source software. I think it's just a) familiar (to people who use it), and it's b) incessantly marketed that way.

At best, some of the software on each platform has some superficial visual similarity which I guess is like friendliness, but ultimately, I think it creates an expectation of consistency on which it usually fails to deliver.

I'd actually assert that perhaps the least user friend app I've ever had this displeasure of having to help Windows users wrangle is MS Outlook. Most people it. Some think they like it (mostly because they've never used anything else). It's horrible - simplified like a Fisher Price toy, beyond any sort of usefulness, but still a hot mess.

@lightweight Proprietary software should be expected to be user-hostile.

@be of course. To do otherwise would be forgoing the proprietary training and certification tie-ins.

@be I'd actually argue that the incentives on FOSS devs to write good interfaces are, in general, far more compelling...

@lightweight Yeah. For one, free software developers usually do some user support, unlike proprietary software where that is usually delegated to people who don't really know the details of how the program works. So free software developers have an incentive to make more self-explanatory UIs to reduce support requests.

@lightweight The story with this guy's videos on sheet music software is a good example. After he made the MuseScore video, MuseScore hired him to be in charge of design. youtube.com/watch?v=dKx1wnXClc

@lightweight
Hear, here.

Imagine an alien spaceship crashed to Earth. What would their GUI be like?

Now, imagine a place where countless alien races lived in a community, and the GUI had to accommodate them all.

I have used a particular niche software product for the past 26 years. Trained dozens of people to use it. It is made by Germans, but provided in many languages. The UX is weird, unique, so very much NOT like Microsoft that new users always *HATE* it. But I love its logical UX & GUI.

@space_cadet Nice. :) And I like how you address the question of which "here/hear" it is, by hedging your bets 😂

@lightweight
Yeah, nah, that way's the right way, hey mate. I googled it.

@lightweight there is a windows serial program i remember with endless tabs of options.

Search based interfaces are awesome.

@lightweight I think "simplified like a Fisher Price toy, beyond any sort of usefulness" pretty much sums it up.

But I think the key to its success, or at least proliferation, is that "most people" are on that "Fisher Price" skill level of using a computer as a tool.

The difference, of course, is that M$ markets it as some amazing creation instead of just a plastic wrench with no sharp edges that you definitely cannot choke on.

@lightweight I'm not sure the Fisher Price analogy holds up for Outlook. I see Fisher Price toys as being overly simplified, designed to be do only a single thing, but it does that single thing really badly.

Outlook on the other hand does a million things, and it has some pretty advanced functionalities, but they are so convoluted and wrapped in a UI that was trying, and failing to be clever 20 years ago, and hasn't been updated since.

@loke I agree that Fisher-Price loses out on the comparison. Their stuff at least does its job. The way I see it, Outlook exists to keep MS WIndows techs employed. The interfaces are insufficiently complete to provide the minimum configurability. If a well engineered product is "as simple as can be, and no simpler", Outlook is far too simple. But, it makes up for that by being like an onion - I believe at least 3 past config interfaces continue to exist, although finding them is a crap shoot.

@lightweight It seems to me that there has been a silent shift from "intuitive" to "elegant" interfaces. Which often involve flat, unlabelled buttons.

@lightweight Apple took the right approach to user friendliness; hide from the user the technical workings of a computer. This however made the Apple UI unacceptable to users who want to explore the technical workings.

Windows has always been user unfriendly, but it was shoved down our throats.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Mastodon - NZOSS

The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!