Sunday, January 11, 2009 8:43 PMSimplicity is created by removing complexity, not by hiding it.There are many examples in Windows 7 where apparently the engineers wanted to make things simpler, but instead made matters worse by hiding instead of removing complexity.Let me give just three concrete examples (reply in this thread to add to the list):
When striving for simplicity, ask yourself: Must things be that complex? Try to actually make them less complex (i.e., remove background processes, remove three-letter filename extensions). If it proves to be the case that you can't remove complexity (because some things just are complex), then make the mechanisms as transparent as possible (i.e., show the backround processes and show the filename extensions). Never try to HIDE complexity. Either REMOVE it or make it EXPLICIT. This will help people to actually understand, rather than just use, their computers.Thanks.
- Background processes with icons on the right-hand side of the taskbar have long been both a slowdown and an annoyance on Windows-based computers. Things like "Intel Desktop Resolution", "Realtek Audio Something", "Antivirus Super Annoyance Icon",... you name it. Removing complexity would mean to actually remove background processes with icons on the right-hand side of the taskbar (or at least, only allow to install them with the explicit opt-in of the user). Instead, Windows 7 goes the way of hiding the icons. This does nothing to cure the core reason, it merely addresses the symptom. Even worse, it makes it harder for the casual user to understand what's actually going on (processes are running, but I don't see them).
- Three-letter file extensions have been used on Windows systems to indicate the type of a document for ages. In Windows 7, if I put a file "test.txt" to the desktop, it shows up as "test". Worse, if I want to rename this to "test.csv" it will apparently allow me to do this (I see the file as "test.csv"), but in fact the file will be renamed to "test.csv.txt". Again, things are made worse by hiding complexity instead of removing it.
- There are hidden system files. Why don't you put all of them into the Windows directory, make them visible and explain the user that he shouldn't delete stuff from there?
Sunday, January 11, 2009 9:22 PMthere are the casuals and the pros.
but i think, you forgot the people (there are pros and casuals) who care very much about the style of theyr OS. That makes it even more complicated to find the best solution for these things.
Sunday, January 11, 2009 9:29 PM#1) I don't see how this is a Microsoft problem. For the most part APPLICATIONS put icons in the notification area, not the OS. Yes there are few built-in such as the speaker, network status and action center. But for the most part yell at the application developers to add an option to remove the notification area icon. Thankfully in W7 I can choose to hide them and only display the ones I want. I don't see how MS could do any better since for the most part it's not their icons cluttering things up.
#2) Well you can't eliminate file extensions, but I agree that hiding them by default can cause confusion. That's one of the first options I always turn off when creating a new account.
#3) Hidden system file are in multiple locations, and what's wrong with hiding them by default? 95% of users don't want to see them, so who cares if they are in a single directory or spread around? Personally I show them, but that's just because I'm a geek and sometimes need to see them. But in this case hiding them is the right choice for the vast majority of users and it doesn't make things more complicated.
I DO think there are areas which MS makes large blunders in trying to make things easier but just creates additional complexity. For example, from the start menu I no longer have one click access to my NICs. I must jump through some control panel hoops to actually open my NIC properties. Really bad for servers where looking at NIC properties is a pretty common occurance.
Changes in Explorer to dumb down the interface and removing the directory UP arrow was also a huge mistake. They actually created many more problems than it solved.
Sunday, January 11, 2009 11:53 PMI have to agree, hiding complexities is not the same as doing away with them. Just a few minutes ago I was trying to show my file extensions and still haven't found it. I'm not sure if anyone else has used KDE desktop or Xine media player, but a KDE like first-run GUI would be nice so that I can choose my default views. (Such as show extensions, one click browsing, etc.). I realize that power users aren't the norm, but given the choice is nice.
Xine gives you differenct "Users Levels" that open more options. A beginner level gives just a very few options where as "Master of the known universe" gives you all the options.
I must admit I do like the hidden icons and the choice to show it. I don't care about the AVG icon but I do care about my Pidgin icon. Excellent choice on MS's part. I do have to agree that hiding complexity is not always the correct way of simplifing things. Give me an advance tab that gives me all the options or something. Don't make me have to google search on how to do something that takes 1 min on XP, Linux, and Mac.
I guess I pretty much agree with most everything YngDiego says. Even down to the up arrow in Explorer. I really miss that button after being in Linux. Make things EASIER, not SIMPILIER. Very different concepts.
Monday, January 12, 2009 1:49 PMColoneljesus said: people (there are pros and casuals) who care very much about the style of theyr OS.You make something clean and beautiful by engineering it in a clean and beautiful way, not by hiding the same old clutter and cruft under the hood.
Monday, January 12, 2009 1:55 PMYngDiego777 said: #1) I don't see how this is a Microsoft problem. For the most part APPLICATIONS put icons in the notification area, not the OS.
I have never actively installed anything into the notification area, but I have lots of icons there as any third-party installer can put anything it wants there without asking for my explicit permission. Anything that wants to install any processes that run in the background all the time and eat my resources should have to ask explicitly for my permission to do so, and Microsoft should make clear that doing so is in fact bad policy. Why does a sound driver need to run a background process for showing a GUI panel?
Monday, January 12, 2009 3:09 PM_jodo said:
- Three-letter file extensions have been used on Windows systems to indicate the type of a document for ages. In Windows 7, if I put a file "test.txt" to the desktop, it shows up as "test".
This is an old issue. It is also one of must-change thing on almost every computer I administer (even i am not using it).
/ together with for example highlight newly installed programs and animated progress bar, animated min/max windows (especially because of Windows Installer dialogs) /