• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL
Help

Chapter 45. New Media > Consistent Inconsistency

Consistent Inconsistency

Consistency, we are told, is the touchstone of good user interfaces (see Chapter 34). Users prefer and are more comfortable with interfaces that look and act like the ones they already know. Every intended innovation, every new device or arrangement, faces an uphill climb against some sort of natural resistance. Even demonstrably better interfaces may be rejected outright by users who do not want to or are unable to learn new ways to interact with their computers. Apple Macintosh users are duly famed for their insistence on consistency and their rejection of software that exhibits “un-Mac-like” behaviors or features. Few remember that among early testers of the Macintosh OS were some who found it utterly unusable, decrying the lack of standard commands and the absence of any form of the accepted “C:>” prompt.

Innovators have an array of clever concepts on which they can draw to design user interfaces that are simultaneously original and completely familiar. Many of the constructs for composing the internal structure of object-oriented programs also have application when the attention turns to the user interface. Generalization and specialization, composition and recomposition, extension and overloading—all these can help us develop effective new interface facilities and new ways of communicating with them. Often the most successful innovations in user interfaces are not dramatic breaks from the past, but variations on established themes that combine familiar elements in inventive ways, “radical evolution” as artist-inventor Bill Buxton terms it.


PREVIEW

                                                                          

Not a subscriber?

Start A Free Trial


  
  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint