Ever read something that made you feel dumb(er)? #ui #ux #consistency


I saw a quip on Slashdot about a Google researcher who found that ~90% of his subjects (aka people) that he was observing didn’t know that the keyboard shortcut ctrl+f would bring up a dialog to find the desired phrase/word in the current document.

Amusing in itself, but not too surprising.

The real interesting thread happened in the comments.  (http://goo.gl/Oor9X for the page and the related comments, BTW)

There was a reasonably long thread about why the menu for find was invariably in the “edit” pull down menu.  Lots of odd justifications, and postulates (think: find + replace is an editing function etc).

As a product manager, and one who grew up during the computer revolution, the answer is boneheaded simple.  Back in 1984 (or perhaps 1985) when Apple introduced the original Mac computers.  They also published design guidelines.  There woudl be a mnimum set of pull down menus (file, edit, help) and that certain functions MUST be in the same place if they are used.  This allowed for a consistent user paradigm.  it was an early attempt (quite effective too) to enforce celar and consistent styles and user interactions.   

Compare that to the types of programs used for editing text (non windowed environments.).  You had Wordperfect control commands, Emacs key comands.  In fact each word processor had its own set of codes.  No standardization, no consistency, huge sunk cost to move to a new platform.  

Now, we look back and wonder why this happened, but the truth is that it was good, and we all benefit.

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By geoffand


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