Mac OS vs. Windows usability [split]

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by voodoofish, May 22, 2004.

  1. macrumors regular

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    #1
    Discussion split from Mac OS X Security Update: 5-24-2004 thread
    -------------------------------

    Yeah, but they still fill half of your Add/Remove programmes list thingy with all the hotfixes. Plus sometimes when I installed a hotfix it would randomly stop some feature of the computer working, and that roll-back thingy in Windows (I've forgotten what it's called) wouldn't even work and I had to re-install Windows.

    I was also doing something on a Windows computer yesterday and realised how illogical it all is - for example, why are display settings not in the control pannel like all the other settings? Hmm maybe they are, i've never really looked for them there, but I've always just changed them from the desktop like everyone else I know. It's kinda confusing though, whenever I want to change a setting in Windows, I always have to stop and think where to do it (like network options are under My Network Neighbourhood). Give me Mac OS anyday....
     
  2. macrumors 6502

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    #2
    You say you always change display settings under the desktop and network settings from network neighborhood, then complain that they aren't in the control panel. Have you ever looked in the Windows control panel? Umm...... then Displays control panel applet is pretty self explanitory to what it does. And Networking in the control panel takes you directly to your Network Properties window, which lists your network interfaces, which is completely logical, and is also accessable by right clicking on Network Neighborhood. Hell, even Printers have been a link to another shell interface from the Control Panel since 95. Why? Because it happens to work well, and most people can figure it out...not to mention it can be accessed from the shell in multiple places making it easy for people to use it the way it makes sense most to them.

    Why do you right click on the desktop? Maybe because it makes sense that there are desktop properties? I'm trying to remember what OS X does...I beleive it does the same thing, does it not (I am not on my iMac right now). Then why do you criticize MS for having display properties on the desktop, but not Apple. Why is it so hard for you to open the control panel and actually look to see if there is a Displays icon, which there has been since 1995 and is fairly obvious..... yet you go complaining that there isn't.

    The only thing different about the two items you listed is on Windows the Network Properties use a different window for each network adapter, whereas on the Mac they are combined into 1. And I personally like the multiple windows, it makes it easier to duplicate settings from one to another if needed by being able to view both at the same time.

    *end of rant*
     
  3. macrumors 68040

    JFreak

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    #3
    one can change desktio background by control-clicking osx desktop. that makes perfect sence, since you are clicking on a desktop and not the display. it is just unintuitive (though it is easier than going to control panel) that windows lets you change display properties when doing the same, but nobody actually cares because they have got used to it without thinking if it's good or not.

    from usability point of view things should be accessible from one route only, and that should be the control panel / system preferences. every other way breaks usability theorems and should be used sparingly, and when used, the shortcuts should be few and really intuitive, and they should above all be needed often.

    so in my opinion (and usability point of view) apple has done better than microsoft. when everything is in system prefs and shortcuts are few, people associate the system prefs as the location for changing system prefs. microsoft has done too much shortcuts alienating its users from the control panel making it difficult to remember where the shortcuts are and actually making people fear touching the control panel. you can only imagine how many windows people call me to change settings for them because they are afraid to do it themselves, and that's an indicator of bad usability decisions by microsoft. in comparison, apple people just change their system prefs and not think about it being difficult.

    back to the point, apple has thought that when user clicks on desktop, he wants to make adjustments to the desktop. that's just right. there's no reason to put in a shortcut for adjusting display to the desktop, because if one changes display settings regularily, he puts the display icon to the menu bar.
     
  4. Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #4
    Whose theorems are these "usability theorems"? I certainly don't agree with them. Think of how many ways you can open a document:

    double-click the document
    select the document and press Command-O
    select the document and pick File -> Open
    select the document and pick File -> Open With
    control-click the document and pick Open
    control-click the document and pick Open With
    drag the document to an application's icon in the Finder
    drag the document to an application's alias
    drag the document to an application in the Dock
    open an application, choose File -> Open, and navigate to the document
    select the document from Apple -> Recent Items
    type a command in Terminal to open the document
    access the document through a web browser
    do any of the above with an alias of the document
    ...and no doubt many more...

    Are you saying that only one of these methods should be available?
     
  5. macrumors 68040

    JFreak

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    #5
    no.

    the document is where it is, and you can open it by clicking on it or dragging it to the app you wish it to open into, and that's ok because you're focusing into the document you are handling.

    system prefs on the other hand, well, they are where they are and you shouldn't be able to access any single pref pane in any other way than through the system preferences. making a shortcut (to single pref pane) breaks the usability in a way that it gives user more than one way to connect into such a pref pane.

    it is far more intuitive to get the user used to going to "system preferences" if one wants to change system settings than implementing a plehtora of shortcuts to incividual preference panes. the way windows does it just alienates the user from the control panel, and in comparison, the way osx does it encourages the user to change the settings by himself.

    apple has done its homework regarding usability. microsoft hasn't.
     
  6. Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

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    #6
    JFreak-

    I think you're pointing to the key difference between having a single application that controls various settings (OS X's System Preferences) and having a collection of widgets in a Folder that control various settings (Windows Control Panel).

    Each approach has strengths and weaknesses, but I think you're overstating the usability issue. Like Dr. Q asked, what "theorems" are you following and where to they come from?
     
  7. macrumors 68040

    JFreak

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    #7
    i'm sorry but i can only discuss usability in finnish as i study computer technology in tampere university of techology and have not yet studied the resources in english. but the point is, that usability researchers agree about the fact that to keep things simple everything has to be accessed from only one location. multiple access routes to single resource only complicate things and therefore shortcuts must be avoided, if there are not any points strong enough to justify breaking that rule.

    from the usability point of view, i cannot think of anything that is better implemented in windows than in mac osx.
     
  8. Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

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    #8
    Can you even point to usability experts who have said it in English? I was hoping you'd say "Jakob Nielsen said...", or "Donald Norman suggests..." or even "Alan Cooper theorizes..." and we could go from there.

    I study usability as a part of my graduate studies and as a personal interest - stating absolutely that multiple access routes to a resource is a "bad thing" is ridiculous since it leaves no room for intermediate/advanced users to increase their productivity. By your logic, keyboard shortcuts should never be implemented, since anything past mouse-driven menu access to a command complicates things too much.

    This is getting off-topic, but I'd love to see the studies that support what you're saying, and which researchers are saying them. I'll split this discussion into a new thread, soon.
     
  9. macrumors 6502

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    #9
    I'm a Mac OSX Fan. I dislike windows very much. But I've always wondered why it has taken Apple until OSX 10.3 to incorporated Printer Settings into the "System Preferences". Until 10.3 it was in /Applications/Utilties/PrinterAdmin (Or something like that). Talk about obviscated to the normal user. Another thing is it seems like LOTS of OSX apps install using some sort of PACKAGE BUNDLE format that OSX uses. BUT, why is there no GUI to uninstall these packages that were 'easily installed'? Those are my two qwerks with OSX (now down to ONE) that I think should be resolved fairly quickly.
     
  10. macrumors P6

    wdlove

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    #10
    I happen to like the availability to access an item by different routes.

    We shouldn't complain about the Security update, after all it's free! :)
     
  11. macrumors member

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    #11
    uninstall


    Can't you just drag the appication item or folder to the trash to uninstall it? Isnt that pretty simple?
     
  12. macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Nice try, but most apps are installing stuff in /Library/Application Support or in /Library/StartupItems and things. Plus I know when you install a package it puts files in your /Library folder that tell the system the package is installed. In theory if you just drag an application from /Applications to the trash you'll still the updates for that application from the Update Software option like for iDVD or something. I haven't tried it, but I would imagine that would be true.
     
  13. macrumors 6502

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    #13
    I have thrown numerous apps away to the trash often leaving behind items in preferences or Application Support. Never causes any problems for me.
     
  14. macrumors 68040

    JFreak

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    #14
    there is a gui for uninstalling these packages, and it's called "the finder". you can just simply drag the app to the trash can and there you go. do you want it simpler? :)
     
  15. Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #15
    The trouble with dragging an Application to the trash to delete it is that people don't guess this metaphor. It's too obvious! That's why the question keeps coming up.

    Deleting/uninstalling an application is a rare activity compared to installing, so it's not a major issue. But another choice would have been to let you control-click an application's main program or folder in the Application folder and select Delete Application or Uninstall. Then again, if that meant the same as Move to Trash, why have two control-click functions for the same thing?

    I guess I can see the problem but not solve it.
     
  16. macrumors 68040

    JFreak

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    #16
    well, now that you put it this way... ;)

    it is nielsen who i respect the most, and it is he who believes in minimalist navigation system, and he thinks that everything shouldn't be linked to everything else. i'm not able to give you straight quote, but if you study this you probably know that this is his opinion.

    (nielsen is to my knowledge more focused on web design than software, so i guess you won't take him as an answer; however, the principles should remain the same.)
     
  17. macrumors 68030

    johnnyjibbs

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    #17
    If I delete an app, I drag the app to the trash, then go to the Finder and type in the name of the app so that it lists things in the library, etc such as preference files, receipts, shortcuts and any other little files it may have installed. Then I delete them, along with any documents it may have created and I've completely removed it from my system. If you just drag the app to the trash, more often than not you will end up with little files such as unused preference files that will be cloggin up the system but never getting used.
     
  18. macrumors 68040

    JFreak

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    #18
    very true, but also not very harmful - preference files are tiny. compared to windows' registry problem, this is nothing; it only takes a yearly os upgrade to get rid of those :)

    no seriously, if the library gets bloated, the easiest way out is to make a new fresh user and delete the old one altogether.
     
  19. macrumors 603

    gekko513

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    #19
    And that's not the worst of it. Here's from an article on theregister.co.uk: "However, install nearly any program in Windows, and chances are it will (for example) place a different .DLL file in the Windows/System directory or even replace existing ones with its own version in what system administrators of earlier Windows versions grudgingly called "DLL Hell." Want to remove the application? You’ve got two choices: completely remove the application (going beyond the software uninstaller to manually remove things like a power user) and risk breaking Windows or remove the application (via the software uninstaller) and let whatever it added or modified in Windows/System to remain, thus presenting you a newly-but-unofficially patched version of your operating system that may cause problems down the road."
     
  20. macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Addressed by Windows File Protection. XP will sense if a DLL has been overwritten then replace it from a backup copy automatically, logging an event that it has done so.
     
  21. macrumors 68040

    JFreak

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    #21
    except if the system backup has been disabled, as it admins in many companies do. and even with the feature on, having "windows" and "protection" in the same sentence makes me laugh ;)

    just visit www.microsoft.com web site - the two most notable things are "get smart about security" and "protect your pc". they even advertise that they have no clue.
     
  22. macrumors 6502

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    #22
    ..not the point. It protects by DEFAULT. If you want to go disabling parts of the system that protect you against problems then that's your lookout.

    Do you actually know anything about Windows or are you another jump on the bandwagon type who has never actually used it but they heard about a Windows 95 box that an auntie had once that crashed?
     
  23. macrumors 68040

    JFreak

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    #23
    i have to work with them on a daily basis. have had to since windows 2.0 and i fear our company will adopt to longhorn as soon as possible, hopefully not before 2010.

    in my opinion, the best windows ever was the NT4, but it's not even supported anymore so we have to use xp:s. it takes a lot of tweaking to strip all unnecessary bloat away from them, but what can you do...
     
  24. macrumors 6502

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    #24
    If you look into Group Policy Objects in Active Directory you can set policies to control almost every aspect of XP, including what GUI it uses to if system restore is used etc.

    It's really not difficult to manage en masse. You can even administratively set software updates. Apple have a similar thing in OSX Server where you can manage the prefs for your OSX clients.
     
  25. Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

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    #25
    Nielsen has been rapidly falling out of favor for his overly simplistic, black and white usability "suggestions" that don't take into account the breadth of use situations and user needs. This falls right in line with your all-or-nothing view of usability.

    Alan Cooper has some very interesting things to say about software usability. You might want to check out About Face 2.0.
     

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