User friendly Free Software Desktops

MJ Ray markj at
Thu Jul 19 21:23:26 UTC 2001

home at writes:

> > Is this natural or symptomatic of the way technology has been
> > introduced so far?
> Cooper's argument is that IT is qualitively different from any industry up
> to now, and that traditional engineering as we know it is actually failing.

Ah!  Wait a minute!  This is the guy whose "Cooperism" I've been
seeing the usability press attacking recently?  They are saying that
we need to move beyond "Cooperism" now because it's as outdated as the
previous engineering methods were when he was originally defining

Of course, that could all be written by journos out of their skulls on
pot who he upset at a user-friendliness party last new year.  ;-)

> [...] So, they may have never used a
> particular function before, but perhaps they are able to use previous
> knowledge of how the program works to begin using the function. As they go
> forward from this basic starting point, the user may need to learn new
> things, but so long as the learning curve is constant difficulty as the user
> progresses in knowledge, the argument is that they will be willing to put in
> effort and gain knowledge if they see visible returns. [...]

Sounds like "principle of least surprise" to me.  That's why I find
Postilion such a good mail client for new users.  XEmacs doesn't
always obey it.  ;-)

> doing things. Although we're actually pretty piss poor at designing
> interaction currently as a community (which I think everyone would admit??),

I might, once I understand what you mean by it.

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