TweetFollow Us on Twitter

March 94 - Editor's Letter

Editor's Letter

CAROLINE ROSE

[IMAGE 002-003_Editorial_rev1.GIF]

Dear Readers,

We're excited to bring you, in this issue, develop's first Newton article. Even if you're not set up for Newton development, you may find this article of interest. But it's the article on zooming windows that inspired this editorial. The subject is user interface annoyances: those cases where the application doesn't quite do what the user expects it to -- as when a window zooms to an odd location -- and the user has to adjust for it. So what's the big deal? Well, it all adds up. Over time, the harm to the user from compensating for these problems can be physical as well as mental. You'll end up with a customer who is suffering in more ways than one.

As Joan Stigliani puts it in her forthcoming book, High-Tech Health: The Computer User's Survival Guide: "Software can make you work hard and contribute to overuse if it requires a lot of mouse use -- clicking and dragging, scrolling, moving the cursor back and forth across the screen -- or a lot of complex key sequences or excessive keying. Software that is difficult or frustrating to use can increase stress and tension." This especially struck a chord with me, since I suffer from tendinitis caused by excessive keying and mousing. So I'm going to take advantage of this opportunity to vent my frustration (isn't that what editorials are for?). Mainly, I hope to have at least some small influence on how you design the interface for your applications in the future.

Why do so many applications lack common sense? Why, for example, shouldn't Print or Save work on my frontmost document even if the active window happens to be a dialog box? Why can't I just type Command-F followed by text to be found rather than first have to select the text that the application (for some odd reason) didn't choose to highlight in the Find dialog? Why, even on my two-page monitor, do I have to resize a teeny window for every piece of e-mail I receive, or read a mere eight lines at a time, scrolling repeatedly (excessively) to get to the end? Why, when I cut a double-clicked word and then paste it, do so few applications add spaces intelligently?

The list of user interface superfluities goes on and on; these are only the problems I encounter most frequently each day. Please, give my hands (and my mind) a break! If I may make a few suggestions:

  • Don't blindly follow what other applications have done: maybe they didn't think it through well enough. There's a place for guidelines and precedents, but don't totally disregard common sense.
  • Use the application yourself for real tasks until you're blue in the face. Be honest; what bugs you about it? Your users will be even less tolerant.
  • Do extensive user testing before first ship, of course -- but even after you ship, solicit feedback and incorporate it into the next release. Be sure to get feedback from experienced users, not just first-timers.
  • Beware of creeping featurism: fix problems your testers or customers have with current features before adding new ones.

These suggestions are based on my own experience as the user manual writer and ad hoc product manager for the first version of the WriteNow application. John Anderson, one of the authors of WriteNow, says he thinks interface problems stem from software being too hard to write (something his next product will address) and from the related problem of software teams being too large. With many specialized programmers on a project, no one person focuses on the overall picture well enough to make the requisite intelligent decisions about the interface. Given a large team, a good product manager can make all the difference in the world. Look for someone both knowledgeable about the market and able to grasp the technical issues. As I noted about technical writing in an earlier editorial, product management isn't a job that just any smart person can do, or that CEOs or VPs should tackle in their spare time.

So I guess the moral is that more is not always better -- not when it comes to features in an application or programmers on a project, and certainly not when it comes to keystrokes and mouse clicks in an interface. Please, keep it clean.

Caroline Rose Editor

CAROLINE ROSE (AppleLink CROSE) started writing and programming at a company called Tymshare, where she thought at first that the terminal was the computer. (She was stunned to learn it occupied a huge room in another building.) By the time computers were the size of terminals, Caroline was on her way to Apple to write Inside Macintosh. She digressed to spend five years at NeXT, where she managed the Publications group, but returned to the Apple fold to edit develop. Caroline owes her love of the printed word to her father, who worked for the New York Daily News for over 50 years. There was no greater thrill as a child than to go to the office with him and see the copy desks, darkrooms, printing presses -- and, of course, the editors. She'd like to take this opportunity to say thanks, Dad, and Happy 85th Birthday!*

SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION Subscriptions to develop are available through APDA (see inside back cover for APDA information), or you can use the subscription card in the back of this issue. Please address all subscription-related inquiries to develop, Apple Computer, Inc., P.O. Box 531, Mt. Morris, IL 61054 (or AppleLink DEV.SUBS). *

BACK ISSUESFor information about back issues of develop and how to obtain them, see the last page of this issue. Back issues are also on the develop Bookmark CD and the Developer CD Series disc.*

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Sibelius 2020.6 - Music notation solutio...
Sibelius is the world's best-selling music notation software for Mac. It is as intuitive to use as a pen, yet so powerful that it does most things in less than the blink of an eye. The demo includes... Read more
Bookends 13.4.2 - Reference management a...
Bookends is a full-featured bibliography/reference and information-management system for students and professionals. Bookends uses the cloud to sync reference libraries on all the Macs you use.... Read more
OmniGraffle Pro 7.16 - Create diagrams,...
OmniGraffle Pro helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use... Read more
Drive Genius 6.1.0 - $79.00
Drive Genius features a comprehensive Malware Scan. Automate your malware protection. Protect your investment from any threat. The Malware Scan is part of the automated DrivePulse utility. DrivePulse... Read more
Tor Browser 9.5 - Anonymize Web browsing...
The Tor Browser Bundle is an easy-to-use portable package of Tor, Vidalia, Torbutton, and a Firefox fork preconfigured to work together out of the box. It contains a modified copy of Firefox that... Read more
VueScan 9.7.28 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
OmniGraffle 7.16 - Create diagrams, flow...
OmniGraffle helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use Graffle to... Read more
WALTR 2 2.6.26 - $39.95
WALTR 2 helps you wirelessly drag-and-drop any music, ringtones, videos, PDF, and ePub files onto your iPhone, iPad, or iPod without iTunes. It is the second major version of Softorino's critically-... Read more
Airmail 4.1 - Powerful, minimal email cl...
Airmail is an mail client with fast performance and intuitive interaction. Support for iCloud, MS Exchange, Gmail, Google Apps, IMAP, POP3, Yahoo!, AOL, Outlook.com, Live.com. Airmail was designed... Read more
Iridient Developer 3.3.12 - Powerful ima...
Iridient Developer (was RAW Developer) is a powerful image-conversion application designed specifically for OS X. Iridient Developer gives advanced photographers total control over every aspect of... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Willy Jetman: Astromonkey's Revenge...
Barcelona-based developer Last Chicken Games are set to bring their game Willy Jetman: Astromonkey's Revenge to both iOS and Android on 9th July. The Metroidvania is already available on the likes of PS4, Switch and PC but now mobile folk will be... | Read more »
The 5 Best Mobile Real Time Strategy Gam...
Real-time strategy games feel like they’d be a perfect fit for mobile, but they’re trickier to pull off that you might think. The traditional mold of base-building and micro management can work on touch screens, but needs to be carefully honed so... | Read more »
Using your phone in a protest
I can't write about games today. There is a struggle happening in the streets right now and it needs everyone's attention. Here's some good info on how you can use your iOS device safely amidst a protest. | Read more »
Dungonian is a card-based dungeon crawle...
Dungonian is a card-based dungeon crawler from developer SandFish Games that only recently launched as a free-to-play title. It offers an extensive roster of playable heroes to collect and enemies to take down, and it's available right now for iOS... | Read more »
Steam Link Spotlight - Signs of the Sojo...
Steam Link Spotlight is a feature where we look at PC games that play exceptionally well using the Steam Link app. Our last entry was XCOM: Chimera Squad. Read about how it plays using Steam Link's new mouse and keyboard support over here. | Read more »
Steampunk Tower 2, DreamGate's sequ...
Steampunk Tower 2 is a DreamGate's follow up to their previous tower defence game. It's available now for both iOS and Android as a free-to-play title and will see players defending their lone base by kitting it out with a variety of turrets. [... | Read more »
Clash Royale: The Road to Legendary Aren...
Supercell recently celebrated its 10th anniversary and their best title, Clash Royale, is as good as it's ever been. Even for lapsed players, returning to the game is as easy as can be. If you want to join us in picking the game back up, we've put... | Read more »
Pokemon Go Fest 2020 will be a virtual e...
Niantic has announced that Pokemon Go Fest will still take place this year although understandably it won't be a physical event. Instead, it will become a virtual celebration and is set to be held on 25th and 26th July. [Read more] | Read more »
Marvel Future Fight's major May upd...
Marvel Future Fight's latest update has now landed, and it sounds like a big one. The focus this time around is on Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, and it introduces all-new characters, quests, and uniforms for players to collect. [Read more] | Read more »
SINoALICE, Yoko Taro and Pokelabo's...
Yoko Taro and developer Pokelabo's SINoALICE has now opened for pre-registration over on the App Store. It's already amassed 1.5 million Android pre-registrations, and it's currently slated to launch on July 1st. [Read more] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple restocks 27″ iMacs, Certified Refurbish...
Apple has restocked Certified Refurbished 2019 27″ iMacs starting at $1529 and up to $350 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, shipping is free, and each iMac features a... Read more
Apple’s new 2020 13″ 4-Core MacBook Airs on s...
B&H Photo has Apple’s new 2020 13″ 4-Core MacBook Airs on sale today for $100 off Apple’s MSRP, only $1199. Expedited shipping is free to many addresses in the US. The MacBook Airs are the same... Read more
New Verizon promo: $150 off any Apple Watch w...
Verizon is offering $150 off any Apple Watch when purchased alongside an iPhone through June 10, 2020. They’re also offering up to $100 on any Apple Watch trade-in. Here are the details: “Get $150... Read more
Last year’s 13″ 2.4GHz MacBook Pros are avail...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2019 13″ 2.4GHz/256GB 4-Core Touch Bar MacBook Pros available for $1359, $440 off original MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included, shipping is free, and each... Read more
Apple’s new 2020 13″ MacBook Pros on sale for...
Apple reseller Abt Electronics has new 2020 13″ MacBook Pros on sale today for up to $140 off MSRP, starting at $1208. Shipping is free, and most configurations are in stock today. Note that Abt’s... Read more
Apple CEO Reacts To Nationwide Protests Over...
NEWS: 06.03.20 – With the recent death of a black man in the custody of a white police officer igniting outrage among Americans from all walks of life, which resulted in protests and civil unrest... Read more
At up to $420 off MSRP, these Certified Refur...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2019 16″ MacBook Pros available for up to $420 off the cost of new models, starting at $2039. Each model features a new outer case, shipping is free, and an Apple 1-... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished 3rd generation 12....
Apple restocked select 3rd generation 12.9″ WiFi iPad Pros starting at only $699 and up to $330 off original MSRP. Each iPad comes with a standard Apple one-year warranty, outer cases are new, and... Read more
These wireless carriers are offering Apple’s...
Looking for a deal on Apple’s new iPhone SE? Apple itself offers the unlocked 64GB iPhone SE for $399 or $16.62/month. If you’re willing to try a new carrier, two of Apple’s wireless carriers are... Read more
Save $80 on the 64GB 10.5″ iPad Air with this...
Apple has 10.5″ 64GB WiFi iPad Airs models available for $80 off MSRP, Certified Refurbished. Each iPad comes with Apple’s standard one-year warranty and includes a new outer case. Shipping is free... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Architect - SAIC (United States)
**Description** We are currently seeking a motivated, career and customer oriented Apple Architect to join our team in Washington, DC to begin an exciting and Read more
*Apple* Support Engineer - SAIC (United Stat...
**Description** We are currently seeking a motivated, career and customer oriented Apple Support Engineer to join our team in Washington, DC to begin an exciting and Read more
Perioperative RN - ( *Apple* Hill Surgical C...
Perioperative RN - ( Apple Hill Surgical Center) Tracking Code 60593 Job Description Monday - Friday - Full Time Days Possible Saturdays General Summary: Under the Read more
Senior Practice Manager - *Apple* Hill Eye...
Senior Practice Manager - Apple Hill Eye Center Tracking Code 61713 Job Description Apple Hill Medical Center General Summary: Under general supervision, manages Read more
*Apple* Mac Desktop Support - Global Dimensi...
…Operate and support an Active Directory (AD) server-client environment for all Apple devices operating on the BUMED network + Leverage necessary industry enterprise Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.