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RE: [ba-ohs-talk] User-centricity and convergence

Note that part of the problem involved the idiotic "look and feel" lawsuits
that made it actively dangerous for a developer to use an interface that was
too similar to another product. Microsoft was a big enough gorilla to make
that go away.    (01)

It is ironic that Microsoft today lags in standards compliance. They still
believe that whatever they do *is* the standard.    (02)

The elevation of "ease of use" to the point where it has teeth and where
usability testing actually happens was indeed innovative.    (03)

> It is here that I hold out "ubiquitous ratings" as the one potential to
give users the "teeth" they need to enforce standards.    (04)

Are there any good studies on rating systems? There are several places that
support comments and reviews (Amazon, epinions, Free Republic), but I
haven't seen anything concerning the impact of such a system on standards
acceptance.    (05)

Thanks,    (06)

Garold (Gary) L. Johnson    (07)

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-ba-ohs-talk@bootstrap.org
[mailto:owner-ba-ohs-talk@bootstrap.org]On Behalf Of Eric Armstrong
Sent: Tuesday, December 24, 2002 4:23 PM
To: ba-ohs-talk@bootstrap.org
Subject: Re: [ba-ohs-talk] User-centricity and convergence    (08)

"Garold (Gary) L. Johnson" wrote:    (09)

> The three most important critical success factors for any groupware
> infrastructure are:
> *       access
> *       easy access
> *       very easy access    (010)

This is a notion that is at least beginning to penetrate into the enclave
of Unix/Solaris developers.    (011)

Microsoft beat their brains in for *two* reasons:
   1. One was monopolistic practices
   2. Equally important, but over-looked during the breast-beating over
       #1, was Microsoft's commitment to ease of use for end users    (012)

Their ability to innovate, much as they like to tout it, has been highly
overrated. Mostly, the acquired and/or duplicated good ideas.    (013)

But they were the first and only company (for a very long time) to
understand the overriding importance of ease-of-use as the critical
factor it is for usability and acceptance, and to *act* on that notion,
to the point of giving a user-interface quality-monitoring group veto
power over product releases.    (014)

*That* organizational structure was unprecedented, and truly innovative.
They brought a standard interface paradigm to a diverse set of products,
so I know going that Ctrl-F will open a file, Ctrl-X will cut the current
selection to the clipboard, the File menu will contain 6 standard
in the standard order, with the standard names, etc.    (015)

In other words, I can pick up any new application, and I immediately
know the basic commands for using it without any training whatever.    (016)

That was a true innovation, because in the history of computing prior
to that (and in subsequent history on many platforms) every application
was a law unto itself, with its own way of doing things that had to be
understood, and recalled every time you switched back to that application
from some other one.    (017)

It was for that reason -- and high-quality windowing -- that I loved
MS for many years -- before the evidenced their true colors by
impeding my beloved Java language (which I will continue to be
enthralled with right up until something even better comes along...)    (018)

The moral to this story, for our efforts, is that IT TOOK A MONOPOLY
efforts to create a standard had been just short of a joke. Where
standards came into existence, there were no teeth to enforce compliance.    (019)

It is here that I hold out "ubiquitous ratings" as the one potential to
give users the "teeth" they need to enforce standards. If standards get
ratings, and one standard rises to the top, and if products get ratings,
so that products which have the capacity to be standard-conforming
also rise to the top, then a standard has a *chance* of being more
than words on paper, even without a monopoly.    (020)

The difficulty we in this forum have had in coming to an agreement
about what is "the right in thing to do" is symptomatic of the
difficulty that such standards have had in the computing world since
day one.    (021)

Now, the electronics industry seems to do a better job. But it has
still been a bumpy road, with VHS vs Betamax, minidisc vs CD,
.wav vs. .mp3, etc.    (022)

An industrial revolution is impossible without standardized nuts, bolts,
and threads. Similarly, usably functional systems are impossible without
some level of standardization.    (023)

But the overriding message of history has been the difficulty of doing
exactly that which is most necessary for synergistic progress.    (024)