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Subject: Putting the user in the loop (Was Re: len0x: apps settings.c, 1.310, 1.311)

Putting the user in the loop (Was Re: len0x: apps settings.c, 1.310, 1.311)

From: Frederic Devernay <frederic.devernay_at_m4x.org>
Date: 2005-11-04

Dear all,

I remember having taught human-computer-interaction to masters students for a
while (those reading French can take a look at
<http://devernay.free.fr/cours/IHM/lucid.pdf>), and one of the most important
principles you learn is to put the user in the loop when you do interface
design. The user has to take part in user interface conception and this usually
improves the final result a lot. You also learn that developpers themselves are
very bad at improving the UI, simply because they know how it works.

The rockbox interface is already very good, but couldn't the users have a way to
express the fact that they're not happy with something without getting flamed?

Sure enough, committing UI changes (even default values for preferences) to the
CVS without discussing them is a bad thing - because that developper thinks he's
an average user, which is wrong -, but what about being more open to these
suggestions? (*)

The rockbox-users mailing list is certainly not a good place to put such
suggestions: a suggestion from one user may not be listened to at all, and would
be lost amongst other questions. One better way would be to have polls on the
rockbox site on these issues, with questions such as "Do you have the 'Follow
playlist' option set to yes? no?". Having a Wiki page for suggestions would be
another, since several users could express their wills before they're turned
into a poll.

Fred

(*)Of course, some suggestions may be impossible to take into account because of
internal design, in which case the developpers can just say "no, it's impossible
because of the way it works internally" - users usually accept that quite easily.
Received on Fri Nov 4 15:39:40 2005


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