[REBOL] Re: OS-specific Look and Feel
From: rebologue:y:ahoo at: 4-Jan-2003 15:37
--- On 03/01/03, M. Evans wrote:
> What I am after is a website where I can direct
> people to show off the capabilities of REBOL in this
> area (native OS look-and-feel imitation).
--- On 04/01/02 Don Cox replied:
> Hello M.
> IMO making the GUI look supeficially like that of
> Windows, Mac, etc would make things worse, because
> the user will then expect the behviour to match as
> well, and be annoyed when it doesn't.
> Whereas if the program looks weird, the user will
> not feel cheated if it acts weird too.
I don't follow this logic. It sounds to me like you're
saying that because REBOL doesn't fully emulate the
behavior of the native OS/platform, we're better off
avoiding UI conformity with the underlying OS
altogether. Unless you're developing programs/apps
exclusively for yourself or your close friends, let me
say: caveat emptor-- this is high-risk advice.
For better or worse, a few important things happened
in computing during the past decade: 1, the GUI
displaced the command line for the vast majority of
desktops, 2, normal, ordinary people displaced
technicians, programmers and sys admins as the leading
users of software, and 3, roughly 94% of users operate
in a Win/Mac GUI environment.
It boils down to who you're writing programs for. If
it's just for you, or your group of coworkers/friends
that have similar skills and background, then, by all
means, get as jiggy as you wanna get with tha look and
However, if you want to write programs commercially,
or for people you may have never met personally-- hey,
maybe even release your program in the wild using the
SDK-- you should think carefully about the intended
audience and design around the expectations of this
group. The better the job you do meeting these
expectations (for the interface, program behavior,
user goals, etc.), the fewer people-problems you'll
> People have adapted to the cross-platform web
> browser environment because it doesn't look like a
> normal program.
Well yes and no. But my take-away from this would
be,"If your program behaves like the web, adopt the
look-and-feel of a highly regarded web page or site
that is similar to your app. But if your program
behaves like an application, adopt a look-and-feel
that closely models an app with which the user is
already familiar and comfortable."
The short reason why people have adapted to the web is
because the benefits and payoffs far outweighed the
cost/learning curve. Some of the reasons are:
* it uses a document metaphor, which users prefer to
an application metaphor; IOW, it's a supermarket with
prepackaged goods, not a combine harvestor
* browser navigation and menu links are typically out
in the open and not hidden behind layers of pull-down
* there are often multiple forms of navigation to
users (hierarchical site menus, linear/search and
* it's relatively easy to author pages
* almost every desktop has a browser
Due to its strengths, the Web has become a loose
standard (i.e., a content-driven experience with link
navigation). But don't overlook that the web is a huge
catalog of usability problems. The last 5 years have
been described by some as the worlds largest amateur
software development project.
Generally speaking, if you're programming for others,
it's not a good idea to create new and distinct
interface innovations unless you've got strong
evidence that you've leapfrogged the standard of the
user's primary platform. What's best for REBOL is
what's best for users, and vice-versa.
I don't mean get in a snit with anyone over this.