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Jay provided a great response to this thread, but it appears as if he fell into the trap of hitting "reply" instead of "reply all," so only I got the benefit of his response. I'm copying it below.

Jay wrote:

My understanding of the original XEROX research is that is for desktop GUI
there is a narrow range of options and criteria to implement a good
interface. What I always understood is that because the why humans
interact with the surroundings and basic physiology of arms, shoulders,
hands, etc. the WIMP based GUIs with menus, icons, windows, and a mouse
are the most practical interfaces. The XEROX conclusions, IMHO, are still
valid today. So the GUI (app or OS) should be very similar. Learning any
"XEROX" style GUI is fairly easy for most users because it feels right.

MS seemed to ignore the XEROX research with the Ribbon and the criticism
of W8 indicates they ignored the research again. I read MS was concerned
with the complexity of the menus in MSO and the fact that most users only
used a fraction of the available commands. Two logic flaws: complex
software will cause complex menus and most users probably only need to use
a fraction of commands. However different users will use a different
combination of commands.
Jay Lozier

As I think about software evolution, there was little consistency back in the DOS days. For example, Wordstar had its Ctrl-key combinations that were hard to learn but, once learned, made touch typists *very* proficient. WordPerfect preferred the Function key commands.

When Windows came out, it was not immediately embraced. DOS was fast, lean and light. I recall working very efficiently on a computer with a 10 mg. hard drive with plenty of room to spare.

One of the Windows selling points was that all of the programs could have a consistent UI. All programs followed the same basic menu structure (File, Edit, Format, Tools, etc.). While each program had its own quirks (page layout under "File"?), the general consistency of menus made programs relatively easy to figure out.

Users knew that everything could be found *somewhere* in the menu. Yes, more complex commands may be deeply buried, but that was the nature of the beast. More often-used commands could be attached to icons streamlining the process. But, the icon toolbars, while quick and easy, were never intended to *replace* the menu structure, just supplement it. Toolbars are, by their nature, very much subject to user preferences. When installing LO, I immediately customize the toolbars to eliminate icons I never use. That's okay, because I know *everything* is in the menu structure.

It appears that, with the ribbon, MS has tried to combine the menus and icons into one structure. But, for me at least, MS has abandoned the very logical and consistent menu structure that gave Windows its advantage over the inconsistent UIs of DOS.

(And, Doug, I have tried to load PC-Write onto my computer, but it won't run on a 64-bit computer. *sigh*)


-----Original Message----- From: Doug
Sent: Friday, June 07, 2013 8:39 PM
Subject: Re: [libreoffice-users] CNET is claiming the best free MSO alternative is not LO

On 06/07/2013 08:10 PM, Virgil Arrington wrote:
This has been fascinating reading all of the opinions about user
interfaces and the dreaded ribbon.
I've been playing recently with WriteMonkey, a markdown text editor, and
I must confess, I like the UI with absolutely no toolbars or ribbons;
just keystroke combinations and some basic menus. Works for me.


Sounds like you should find a copy of WordStar!


Blessed are the peacemakers..for they shall be shot at from both sides.

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