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ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)


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"ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)" <[log in to unmask]>
Boniface Lau <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 16 Nov 1999 22:57:35 -0500
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Toby Hede wrote:

> These are issues I have been thinking about a great deal. Debates on this list
> rage about whether to underline links, whether to call the submit button
> 'submit' or something else entirely, and a myriad of other issues which I
> think are ultimately minor and quite possibly petty.

Well-designed web sites are the results of paying attention to the things big
and small.


> We should expect a lot from our users.


The broader is a web site's audience, the less we can expect from all users.


> Software is difficult to use because it is stupid, selfish and arrogant.

Software is as stupid, selfish, or arrogant as people made it to be. Those
attributes are not inherent in software. They are reflections of the software
makers be they the giant corporations or individual developers.

For an example, let's say you have a graphic program installed on your computer.
You have your computer configured in such a way that whenever you click on a GIF
file, the graphic program would be invoked with that file.

Now, you install a web browser. During installation it overwrites, without your
permission, the existing configuration on your machine so that whenever you
click on an image file, say a GIF, it opens with that browser. I call this
trampling of user configuration an arrogant behavior.

But that arrogant behavior is not something that comes with all browsers, let
alone all software. The arrogance is a result of decisions by the maker of that
particular browser.

Boniface Lau