MozillaZine

Mozilla UI FAQ

Wednesday April 19th, 2000

Waldo writes, "Just a reminder that there's a Mozilla UI FAQ at this news post."

I've been meaning to get this up on the chromeZone. Hopefully sometime soon.


#5 Re: Hi, my name's Peter & I'm a prioritizaion

by wraith

Friday April 21st, 2000 11:41 AM

You are replying to this message

(Tim) >> The fact is that there has been tremendous end-user outcry about this non-standard user interface, especially by Mac users, who have the highest expectations for user interfaces in the industry. Despite this, no one is re-examining this flawed decision, and the justifications given for it don't make sense. <<

>> (trudelle) By the way, please point out the 'tremendous end-user outcry'. I've heard plenty of this from developers and other techies, but I have yet to see it even mentioned in any usability study or focus group. <<

Well, I'm sympathetic. But there's been a tremendous amount of it all over the place, but here's a start:

<http://www.macintouch.com/netscape6.html> and <http://www.macintouch.com/netscape6part2.html>

Lots of other forums, that's just a handy big batch. I'm not sure how you could miss it. ;-) Not that I disagree with the decision, I don't -- I would undoubtedly made the same decision. However, there's still no point in sugarcoating the seriousness of the problem. I've yet to see a positive Mac user response from outside the Mozilla community, and I've seen 100s (no exaggeration) of negative. To the honest eye, it's a PR apocalypse.

If you read these, you'll note that the audience is leaving the building in fairly large numbers. I'm not sure how useful a usability study would be after the fact, it would appear to be too little too late. So much damage has already been done.

There is a lot of ignorance and misunderstanding in these posts (e.g. they don't understand how easy it will be to customize the UI that offends them so, nor the initial startup speed, the debug speed -- speed seems to be almost as popular to ignorantly beat up on as the UI), but that doesn't make the damage any less apalling. As it stands, it looks like the legacy of the XP UI may be to run off the non-Unix user base. And that would be tragic.

May be a dead horse, but it's no less depressing. :-( I think the upside could (someday) be the fizzizilla opportunity. If M$ drops the ball here for X (going Carbon and sticking with legacy toolbox), that would be the opportunity to recoup some of these losses. Already too late for that on the UI front, but not too late in terms of back-end speed and reliability and so forth. And maybe some good press there will help get some of the Win32 crowd back.

But it ain't gonna happen with the AOL skin, that's for sure. I hope the lesson learned is that skinnable or not, the default skin is profoundly important and deserves a lot more usability attention than it obviously got. If they did do usability and/or focus groups, they need to get to work explaining the stark discrepancy between their results and the real world.

pax ex machina, <glenn@carnagey.com>