Random rambling on user interfaces – part 1

In my last entry, I linked to a music video of Every OS Sucks by Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie.

It’s really true, every OS does suck – both under the hood and at the user interface level.

I don’t feel qualified enough to comment extensively on the internals of various OSes, as I’m no programmer, but as a user, I (and any other computer user) work with UIs every single day, and I feel qualified to comment on that. I’ve used various graphical UIs in day-to-day use, primarily Windows (almost every version from 3.1 to 7, and I even used 1.01 daily for fun at one time,) but also Mac OS System 7.1 and X 10.5, IIGS System 6.0.1, KDE 3, GNOME 2, RISC OS 4 and 6, and CDE 1.5. I’ve also supported users of varying skill levels on Windows XP. I, however, am not a UI researcher.

This will likely be a multi-part series, hence “part 1.” I’ll be commenting on my opinions of what’s bad and good in a wide range of UIs. I might be able to tie this all together in something resembling a description of a good UI, I might not. If none of this makes sense, or if I’m flat-out wrong about something, please let me know in the comments.

So, let’s get the first thing out of the way: what is a good UI? A good UI is one that makes it as easy as possible to complete your computing tasks. Nothing more, nothing less.

Why is it so hard to make a good UI, then? Several reasons. Continue reading “Random rambling on user interfaces – part 1”