I just saw a recent post that I just can’t let pass by – “Overheard: Hardy Heron flunks the girlfriend test“. The cute title of course caught my eye right away — my love of the Heron and spotting the cute little graphic in the post also caught my attention — but then to read the post and realize that it related to my recent post about Microsoft being vulnerable on the desktop with its poorly received Vista was just too much to handle.
The reference to the “Hardy Heron” comes from a posting titled “The Great Ubuntu-Girlfriend Experiment“. I encourage reading the post, but in particular pay attention to the conclusion. I do believe that those of us who are developing programs for “real users” to “use” MUST avoid making assumptions regarding just what the user will know, and not – but it IS VERY DIFFICULT to do! Only the hardy need apply.
I found myself somewhat disappointed to hear that the girlfriend had trouble with the Ubuntu, but I also know that when I kept hearing from associates about how the Mac interface was so great — I remember myself sitting down at said Mac and being clueless as to where to begin. I’m not sure however that there won’t always be difficulties when one sits in front of a new application interface. I’ve posted before about my thoughts on “…Busy or Sparse?” user interfaces. Help is nice to provide, but it almost needs to be “in the face” before it will get used. (Something like having the last place you look to solve an issue is in the instruction manual?)
Anyway, based upon the “Hardy Heron” test maybe MS Windows and Vista isn’t in trouble — yet!