So i posted that coda thread, which I don’t expect anyone to be interested in, since it’s a Mac exclusive text editor… niche (around here), to be sure.
What i really want to get at, though, is user experience. I mentioned before that I use coda on ios, and despite its imperfections, it makes me happy as a user, and that leads me to my inquiry about coda on the desktop, which claims to be for “web design.” I almost want to try it for general usage as a code editor- not because it’s any better than what’s available, but to see if it has that same special sauce.
All that being said:
What are some principles or brief examples of ux design (software, web, whatever) that you feel bring you joy, and what are you sacrificing?
if it can be ran with commands that most people could remember then let them run it via text. and give a GUI for those who who cant remember a lot of complex commands. and have the GUI just issues the text commands in the background with the option to display the text commands that corresponds to the GUI work. ( i know a program that shows you how it works while it works amazing) not practical or efficient coding but gives many options.
One thing I really appreciate is “discoverability”. I first got exposed to a good example of it when I sat down in front of a Macintosh running System 7 back in the early 1990s. Exploring the menus at the top of the screen you saw dark entries which showed you what you could do now, and also greyed/ghosted entries that showed what was possible once certain conditions were met (like selecting an object on the desktop). It was an interface that encouraged experimentation and exploration. Also, the minimal Help was actually helpful. As a result, it didn’t need a manual. You could “work it all out” just by using it.
I like the nano text editor for the same reason. Even if you’ve never used it before, the bottom couple of lines will let you work out how to use it and, most importantly, how to get out of it. The same is absolutely not true of vi — where a new user is far more likely to give up out of frustration, and power down their system, than they are to work out how to exit the program.
I believe that software shouldn’t need manuals. If the software is so complicated that the developers think a manual is needed, then it should probably be broken down into two (or more) smaller pieces of software that are more focussed and interoperable.
Small applications with clear purpose and limited scope should dominate the software landscape. Interoperability should be high. Their individual interfaces should be tuned to the task at hand. Help should be helpful. Functionality should be discoverable.
I find the ‘kitchen sink’ approach — exemplified by every single Microsoft Office product in existence — to be offensive, and the best example of how not to do UI/UX.
Remember: You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
PS: Extending functionality should be possible. Perhaps the best way to do this is with something like plug-ins. You start with the basic program that’s fine for 90% of users, and more advanced, demanding or specialised users can opt to install plug-ins to add precisely the functionality they need — no more, no less. I, personally, prefer very granular control over this. I wouldn’t have any problem at all if I used a word processor that required plug-ins to enable spell-checking, or strike-through as a formatting option, for example. Very, very specialised plug-ins that play nicely together. The basic program should only become more functional and complex if/when/how the user decides.
For GUI Applications i think Contrast and Iconography are the most important to me. Followed by “simplicity” (in Design, not function). For things i will use more than occasionally: Keyboard shortcuts for everything. Customizable perfered.
Having Icons that are 1. Identifiable, 2. large enough, but not too big and 3. universally known where applicable makes a huge difference in how quickly i can pick up an application and find my way around it. I’m a visual learner. I need icons in GUIs. Text is only secondary explanation to me.
Contrast is really important to me. I sit on a PC all day. Easy to read and identify text is paramount. Having light grey text on white background is unusable.
Finally, for anything Productivity, i need keyboard shortcuts of some sort. I’m willing to learn new ones, but i need the Option for Ctrl+N for New Item or Ctrl+S for save. Ideally, any function in the Software would have a Keyboard shortcut. If they are configurable all the better.
The rest is optional. I personally enjoy the current “flat electron web5.0” design trend. I think it looks really nice. I’ll not sacrifice important features or usability for it though.
Holy Hell. Office with Plug-Ins? That would be great. I mean more than they currently do.
Make Word into Wordpad or Notepad. Anything else as a optional plugin! Man that would be awesome. I could leave out all the stuff i don’t ever use and still get all the advanced functionality for Excel or such. I never thought about modularizing an Office Suite. Great Idea!
Some Software offer some kind of “Interactive Help”. I think Blender and Reaper have that. Like a search for the help but “smart”. You type in what you want to do and get relevant help. Plus you offer to do that from right there. Not just text but the actual option to perform the operation from the help.
Overall help systems in Software are severely lacking and often are stuck in the XP era.
Maybe do it similar to apples Spotlight? Ctrl+H to open a “Help Search Bar”, then filter on typing, show the option, underneath it the path/Menu you can find it in and an option to open a help article that explains the function. I mean it can’t be that hard to make a decent help system in 2019…
Nope. DIdn’t even know it existed. Thanks for pointing it out, though. I’ve been happy with nano for many, many years now. If my needs change I’ll make sure to give micro a try. (As a rule I don’t bother testing new software unless I feel my current software is deficient somehow.)