22 Jun 2004
I agree w/ your rant.
It is a sad day for technology when BBS had more usability than present
day GUI applications.
When I learned HTML in 1992/1993 I remember finding this treasure:
http://werbach.com/barebones/ - The Bare Bones Guide to HTML.
If you want someone to use your methods, products, etc. make it easy to understand and write for a general audience. Why do you think a majority of newspapers are written at a 6th grade level? Why do you think 5 year olds can use Windows? Better yet why can a 5-year-old program in VB? The GUI, intuitive layouts, and documentation are created so they can read and actually understood. It would be great if 5 year olds and people with no formal training could write or add modifications to open source projects. Imagine a newbie being able to patch a kernel problem.
Both standards organizations and the open source community have lessons to learn (myself included - my grammar and spelling are horrible). Remember DOS? What happened? What did MS learn that we (the open source community) did not? Intuitive GUIs is what I feel they learned (or copied depending on your opinion) and documentation for the common user. We have lessons to learn from our mistakes. I personally think we have brilliant people writing excellent software, however, I feel they are so intelligent they forget about those who are not as well educated as them. Please keep the 5 year olds and people who are using a computer for the first time in mind when you write documentation and software. After all you learned some time ago and started somewhere, just as they are now. I know we all complained about the documentation then, so why repeat that cycle. Can we not learn from our past mistakes? Why do you think they have the dummies series? We forgot in all our feature rich excitement about the average user who does not have a technical background.
Remember we all had to learn technology. DonÇƒÙt forget the past or you are likely to repeat itÇƒÙs mistakes. Above all KISS - keep it simple stupid (or keep it simple or you will appear stupid).