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On Tue, Sep 17, 2002 at 08:26:56AM -0400, Elliotte Rusty Harold wrote:
> At 4:57 PM -0600 9/16/02, Matt Gushee wrote:
> > * Well-designed tools, to really make a difference, often demand
> > growth on the part of their users. Compare, say, a Mercedes and a
> > Buick (I've never driven either, so I'm going by hearsay). Now I
> > would predict that almost anyone who is fully engaged in the driving
> > experience would prefer to drive a Mercedes ... but if your mind is
> > focused on trying desperately to make the meeting on time, while
> > your cell phone is buzzing, the radio is blaring, and some idiot
> > just cut you off ... who cares? Go for the Buick: it's cheaper and
> > probably a bit easier to drive.
> If it's both cheaper and easier to drive, then I think the Buick is
> better designed. This assumes the use case for both cars are standard
> American highways and city roads and not the Indy 500. The only other
> factor that might argue in favor of the Mercedes design would be
> repair history and tendency to break down, but ease of use is a real
> concern, and one all too often overlooked in design.
It can also be hard to define. Is Microsoft Windows easy to use? For
whom? Doing what? In comparison to what?
I'm not sure I should have stuck that analogy in there, especially given
that, as I mentioned, I have never driven either a Buick or a Mercedes.
But the distinction I was trying to make was between a class of tools
that rewards the fully awake and engaged user (Mercedes), versus one
that can be managed by someone who is half asleep (Buick). It may be
*pragmatic* design, and is certainly good marketing strategy to cater
to the latter group, but is it *good design*? (that's a genuine
question, not rhetorical)
As for the Buick being cheaper ... no, I won't go there. There are
things that should be said about how our economic system distorts the
prices of goods and services, but I have to get some work done today.
Englewood, Colorado, USA