Everybody who comes from a Windows or Mac background – most of you- and who has ever played around with Linux has witnessed it: Poor usability. I consider myself quite computerfahig, but Linux is on the edge of my possibilities. I do n�t want to read a huge manual on my OS. I d�n’t want to work on the commandline. And I want to be able to install and get it running myself. It should work, it should be easy as hell and once configured it should work.
Frans Englich wrote an article that exactly points out the weak spot of the open source community: Too arrogant-nerdy to realize that usability is not an extra trick in a programmers toolbox but a full-grown science that has a lot more to do with psychology than with programming.
Englich pleads for reflection by the programmers, he thinks that if those people -yes, the 1000 and one different programmers from all over the globe- think just a little bit longer about labeling, that will solve the problems. Wrong ofcourse, since those programmers very well may allready be doing what he suggests.
Very useful to read the comments as well, it shows the sometimes very hostile attitude of OSS developers towards the ‘outside world’. An eyeopener and proof that lots of programmers should read more usability and IA books instead of the latest PHP- or MySql Bible.
It would give them so much more depth in their work that I think the REAL progress towards usability and more intuitive and advanced software development is still to be made. If only they would read about it…
Extra: a comic about this subject