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Re: The Core Beliefs of Usability and Their CSS Application

From: Orion Adrian <orion.adrian@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 6 Jul 2005 20:25:19 -0400
Message-ID: <abd6c8010507061725703e9d2f@mail.gmail.com>
To: www-style@w3.org

On 7/6/05, David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> 
> > > The details of caching are actually pretty important and a large
> > > part of HTTP/1.1 is about them.  It's unlikely that defaults truly
> > > reflect the appropriate values.
> >
> > But not to content authors. They only care about the content. And yes,
> 
> Content authors are the only people who know the likely lifetime of
> their content, how important it is that out of date material not be
> used, whether the contents is private to one user, etc.  They are the
> only people who can set the caching parameters, although it does mean
> they have to show a certain amount of altruism, as they are sacrificing
> immediancy for lower server costs and the benefit of the net as a whole.

My mentioning of caching was a purely an IT thing. It isn't required
to do what I'm talking about. It's an optimization the IT people could
do, but it isn't necessary.
 
> > it's part of the spec and it should certainly be possible for
> > developers of web software to turn it on by default or for web authors
> > to say, "hey, we need this feature".
> 
> The feature has to be configured.  Caching is not an on or off option.

Either way, not necessary to what I'm talking about. Only content
negotiation is required.

> > think the largest fault of the web was that when authors were
> > clamoring for application behavior, rather than given them an
> > application language we bastardized the document language.
> 
> I would agree with this, but that is a combination of the fault
> of the browser vendors and of the IT managers who saw web browsers
> as a way of avoiding installing and maintaining software on
> users' machines.

It was a perfectly fine request (client/server infrastructures). And
the browser vendors may have controlled the standards before, but now
it's the W3C's perview and I'm distressed to see them not fixing the
situation.

> > I think what it says is that people will use whatever means they have
> > in front of them to get the job done. Give them the tools to do it and
> 
> In particular, they will get the job they want to do done, which means
> that if W3C outlaw things because it is in the consumers' interest
> the authors will simply work around those public policy decisions,
> as they have done in the past.

I never said outlaw something and don't give them an alternative. I
think I've been fairly consistent in my "take this away, replace it
with this" approach.

> > they won't mishandle the tools that don't do the job as well.
> 
> > I disagree very strongly that computing is a fashion industry. I think
> > what they have discovered is that attractive applications are more
> > usable than unattractive ones. This knowledge has only recently (last
> 
> Fashion is not about being attractive (retro can be fashionable);
> fashion is about changing things every year or so that people
> buy new versions in order to maintain their self esteem.  In this
> case, rather than sticking with HTML 4.01, people move to XHTML 1.0,
> even though they gain no real benefit from it, especially as the
> majority browser doesn't actually understand it except as broken HTML.

This would imply that no real benefit comes out with each version.
While that may be true for certain applications, I find that many
applications make many improvements per version. Some are limited to
usability improvements (which are never bad).

> > Now don't be mistaken, customers have reported to Microsoft after
> > doing a study that what they want most is for the features they use
> > every day to be improved rather than adding more features. Well
> > designed products are more important than feature rich ones.
> 
> But the features are added by Microsoft in order to create the
> fashion market as much as to actually be useful.
> 
> This point is actually interesting, because it is my point about
> Word 97.  Users are sticking with Word 97 because they don't need the
> new features (and probably because it is used by a level of staff that
> can't indulge themselves with the latest fashions).  This means that
> the deployment cycle for MS Office is now at least 8 years and growing.

Microsoft has stated that they're going to move towards improving what
they have produced rather than producing new features. That's good
news for me.

Do you have numbers for Word 97 as that stands in stark constrast to
what I'm seeing in my work environment and home environment. I've
owned the latest and greatest every version of Office from 95 to 2003.

-- 

Orion Adrian
Received on Thursday, 7 July 2005 00:25:25 GMT

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