Toothbrush Engineers, That Is
Kevin Cheng  

Choosing to Give Choices

June 3rd, 2005 by Kevin Cheng :: 27 Comments

I like to equate just about everything to some video game experience. Remember the choose your own adventure books? You would get to a decision point and have to choose which path to take, and each choice led you down to a different paragraph/page number. The choices were limited but boy was it fun. Now look at the modern day role playing games (RPGs). You can do anything you want! You can walk anywhere in the world, just about whenever you want to! It’s incredible really, just how much world and monsters I can see and _not have any fun_.

More choices does not equal a better experience. In fact, quite often, it simply confuses the issue and unnecessarily complicates matters. Ever go out with a group of people and try to decide where to go for a meal? It’s always easier to just give them a choice of a few to choose from, isn’t it?

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Google Earth : Not to be outdone by MS Virtual Earth, Google is also showing off some further integrations with Keyhole that are coming. Speaking of choices, look at how many layers you can turn on and off. - 2 Comments
Don Norman  

“The Don” Reveals All: Part 4

June 6th, 2005 by Don Norman :: 5 Comments

_When “The Don” Norman is being serious, he can be found at www.jnd.org. Ask him questions at: askdon@ok-cancel.com (and yes, it’s really answered by him). Also check out a full list of “The Don” Reveals All._

> Will the use of computers be mainly rational (predictable, controlled, logical, etc) forever?

Is this meant to be a serious question?

I see no evidence that computers of today are rational. The certainly aren’t predictable. Who controls them? Demons? All the many computers in my home are indeed controlled, but I don’t know by whom. As for logical, well, I have long maintained that logic is an artificial way of thought, invented by mathematicians and philosophers who were dissatisfied with the way that ordinary people think. Why must my life be ruled by some artificial convention that, by design, is not at all how I or any other living human actually thinks?

Hmm, your question, I now see, was not about how computers work, but about the “use of computers.” Same answer: The most exciting use of computers today is for music and art, creativity and imagination. Yeah, they are also used for all those dull, deadly (but critically important) tasks of controlling our infrastructures, but the exciting stuff is anything but rational or predictable.
The exciting stuff is fun, adventurous, and creative.

(And if you think the control of our infrastructure is rational, then you must be that rare individual who hasn’t suffered an electric grid failure, or identity theft, or loss of critical information, or website meltdown, or mistaken identity, or …., recently.)

So, what was your question?

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OK/Cancel is a comic strip collaboration co-written and co-illustrated by Kevin Cheng and Tom Chi. Our subject matter focuses on interfaces, good and bad and the people behind the industry of building interfaces - usability specialists, interaction designers, human-computer interaction (HCI) experts, industrial designers, etc. (Who Links Here) ?