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[REBOL] Re: OS-specific Look and Feel

From: rebologue::yahoo at: 4-Jan-2003 15:37

Hi Don-- --- 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. <snip> > 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 feel. 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 likely encounter.
> 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 menus * there are often multiple forms of navigation to users (hierarchical site menus, linear/search and content hyperlinks) * 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. Best, Ed