We're back to this discussion again.


Unskilled Users (not necessarily new!) like the new Padded Rails simplicity. I have advised a couple of such users now and they really do like things being as "Safari is the internet". They don't know what a web page address is. They just type words into the search bar until it (hopefully!) shows up.


So if companies would quit playing Proprietary Lockdown games, we really do need "Basic / Advanced" versions of a UI at the click of a button.


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It's a difficult problem!

I remarked that my two Anecdotal Users "liked" that ultra low level understanding of Safari = Internet. I think it's rather disturbing, but I will politely call it the "wide base of learning problem" where any brand new field of information will have a wide swath of extremely confused users in a big circle at the base. These are decent guys who just didn't get the whole Computer Revolution thing, but they're stuck needing to check their email, so that's the best they can do.

Likewise, don't ask me any car questions. Or road navigation. Or hunting/fishing/golf/_____/____/_____ questions. I'd look equally dumb. Not even Command Line ones! (Oops, is my Geek Cred now at risk? Oh well!)

However, once I DO know how to do something, the message for companies is "don't take it away later." It's like the story Harrison Bergeron - "Let's move everything around so much that Everyone Becomes Equal because none of the stuff the old power users liked works anymore."


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(An AC wrote: The difference being that you'd probably be embarrassed by your lack and knowledge and want to correct that. So, if someone said to you "you use a Ford to access the Interstate" you'd call them out on that as it seems wrong.

Yet many casual computer users revel in their ignorance.)


Hi AC!

The odd part is that somehow I don't want to correct my stunning lack of car knowledge. Or a lot of other topics. I call it the "benefit per study". My van only breaks something (wheel rod, shocks, whatever) say twice a year, so I just don't enjoy studying something I would never use. (I'm not about to try to replace a wheel rod!)

Sorta the same thing with the Manly Pursuits - it's just too steep of a curve for me in my tired old age (joking!) to learn how to sail a boat. Or get a hunting license.

Computers are fun to learn on, I got started early enough and quietly kept at it. So here I am.


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(AC replied again)

But you're missing the point.

A user interface is for when stuff is working *as designed*. You - quite reasonably - don't what to know how to mend your van when it breaks. And a normal computer use doesn't want to know how to replace a graphics card when it breaks.

But here, are you saying you can't be bothered to learn how to use that big round thing that's in front of you when you're in your van? Or the feet-pushy things that are down below? And all those little buttons and switches and dials in front of you. Gosh, I wonder what they're all for????)


Actually this second part is a fair analogy.

"Where did they move Cruise Control to? Why is that back window wiper on a different control than the front wiper? Why can't I set the clock until I turn the CD player on? My compass is mis-aligned now, how do I get that to work again?"

Nothing mechanically wrong, just user features. That's a lot like what happened when File/Page Setup and Edit/Replace All moved to some ribbon. I finally found the way to turn off document protection last week.


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Apparently those minivans are really tough on the support rods, I had four techs go over my van and they all said it was fine at the time, so just grinding turns on those things every day out of the parking lot apparently does it.


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I got a new Win 7 machine at work a few months ago, and the first thing I had to do to it was to unhook a lot of the annoyances of the Win 7 theme. Grouped Windows was a disaster for me. As for "Dumped" of course you know that in Win 7 you can physically move your related tasks in the task bar next to each other. Moving them also lets you visually see your priorities.

I hate "pinned" apps. If it's not open I don't need it "pretending" to be open on my task bar. It's already got a desktop shortcut.

So yes, sometimes it's possible to have a golden age then begin to slide away from it.


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But UI is one of those topics that isn't "objectively right".


But opinion is growing that the fellow I replied to is a commissioned marketer somewhere related to the Microsoft-oriented sphere. Check his posts, he's "on message" a lot.


So I gave him the slightly-snarky tip of the hat, in that sometimes it's fun to banter with a paid marketer.


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UI features are for me to pick and choose among. Users have "Line Item Veto". We shouldn't have to just take the lumps handed to us by Lowest Common Denominator marketers.


My end result wasn't XP - I borrowed some new things XP didn't do. But I certainly turned off a lot of the Aero candy. I found that leaving three out of the 15 some settings gets you 60% of the shiny (so, better than Classic sure!) while turning the other 12 off stops short of the decreasing returns you started to describe.


Oh yes. Last point on the Ribbon. Gang, we need to think beyond these binary yes/no choice. I installed an *entire second set* of menus into Office 2010. So now I have the Ribbon AND the Classic menus. (And guess what? The old code is there! So yes, I don't like the new Print Page - so my plugin taps the existing older code.) I think the art of the AddOn is becoming a lost one soon.


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Yes, there are benefits to upgrading and anything takes getting used to.


The difference is between choosing a UI to learn in the peace of home vs work. IT floated in, checked that data was saved to the server, and said "Hi. We're taking away your old machine with XP to do a fleet upgrade. Here's your new one with Win 7. Bye!"


Meanwhile reports were still due. So yes, I set about making "my" computer do what I needed to get work done.


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Reports are coming in that Windows 7 is fairly solid, all told. Compare that to Vista.


At my job I was part of the crew that recommended against Vista, and we just bought time and kept working. Per my other notes, I just set about customizing my machine and two days later mostly all was well. The core of Win7 seems okay vs XP.


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Meanwhile, they did implement partial Taskbar Shuffling on Windows 7. However, that implementation still groups the windows by program together, such as copies of Firefox. On Windows XP, the program Taskbar Shuffle (I am on v2.5) lets you shuffle stuff in the order you like with more granularity.


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