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+ - The Condescending UI 1

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "Paul Miller has some advice for user interface designers: Don't be condescending. 'The Ribbon in Microsoft Office products,' complains Miller, 'is constantly talking down to me, assuming I don't know how to use a menu, a key command, or an honest-to-goodness toolbar.' Miller's got some harsh words for Apple, too: 'And of course, there is the transgression of the century: Apple's downward spiral into overt 1:1 metaphors. The physical bookshelf, the leather desk calendar (complete with a torn page), the false-paginated address book...these new tricks are horrible and offensive [and likened to Microsoft Bob]. They're not only condescending and overwrought, they're actually counter-functional.' So, how does Miller cope while waiting for his UI knight in shining armor? 'I recently switched my Windows 7 install over to the Classic Theme', Miller explains, 'which is basically Windows 95 incarnate, just with all the under-the-hood improvements I've come to rely on. I really like it. It feels right, and if it isn't beautiful, at least it's honest. I wish there was a similar OS 9 mode for OS X.'"
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The Condescending UI

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  • I like how his advice is coming directly from how he personally feels a UI should look and feel, instead of the potential mess of bringing in a group of average people and asking them to compare UIs, and performing usability tests to tune the UI towards the common user. But no, clearly every UI should be tuned for Paul Miller, he knows what a good UI is supposed to feel like.

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