[OT] Microsoft Office's New UI Blazes Some New Trails for Us

Trevor DeVore lists at mangomultimedia.com
Tue Oct 11 17:24:28 EDT 2005

On Oct 11, 2005, at 1:30 PM, jbv wrote:
> IMHO this is the kind of approach that works perfectly
> on paper, but not so well in real life...

> Let's take the example of electronic music devices (synths,
> rhythm-boxes, etc). Since the mid 80's most of them come
> with numerous presets, but also with editors...
> I've been in touch with many musicians between the early
> 80's to the late 90's and I must say that very few of them
> took the time to learn how to program / edit / modify...
> Most of them seemed to be satisfied with presets, and used
> to sell the device and buy another (brand new) one once they
> got tired of the presets.
> It is true that UIs of this kind of gear were rather crappy (tiny
> LCDs), but anyway the vast creative possibility of some synths
> were really worth the effort of reading the manual and try to go
> beyond the presets (for example additive synthesis with the
> K5000).

You will always have a group of people who accept what is given them  
and will do what they can with it.  Then there is the group of people  
who love to tinker and will learn all they can about something in  
order to get more use out of it.  The musicians of the 80s and 90s  
who took the time to read the manuals and learn the beastly UIs (I'm  
thinking early Ensoniq here) came up with some cool stuff for the time.

Either way, templates/presets meet the needs of both.  The average  
user has something that gets them through the day and the above  
average user has something which shows them what is possible.

> I afraid that providing too many templates might lead to
> lazyness for users, and in the end every document / layout / etc
> might look the same, just like every piece of electronic music
> sounds the same these days...

Well, that depends on what studio they are coming out of and the  
quality of the sounds from their library :-)  It also depends on  
whether the music produced was something that was paid for or  
something that the person was doing for fun.  Now, if you are hiring  
someone to do work for you and they are providing work that closely  
resembles templates/presets from a popular app then you might want to  
find someone else.

In the end, the average user doesn't mind if their document looks the  
same as others.  They just want something that looks nice.  Templates/ 
presets provide that for them.  My mom has no desire to learn how to  
tweak templates in Pages (and I don't want to teach her, there are  
bigger fish to fry when it comes to her and computers).  She just  
wants a nice looking document.  A document template gives her that.

I would say that the above average user usually likes to have  
something to start with.  A template/preset gives them that as well.

Trevor DeVore
Blue Mango Multimedia
trevor at mangomultimedia.com

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