Usability goes mainstream, finally

There are some good articles in the Economist this week about usability and simplicity of user interfaces. I like the automobile analogy, in which they point out that cars were once so complex that you had to employ a driver/mechanic – equivalent to today's computer support techie. I often find it depressing that we still have to point out this same old obvious stuff, 20 years after the Mac appeared. But some things make me believe that things are going to get better.

  • Mobile phones were always too difficult to use and they are now gaining a shitloads of new features, vastly compounded the problem. Their manufacturers are clueless – they do almost no user interface design or testing. Desktop computers have been so unusable for so long that people think that's normal, but they won't be forced to accept that on their mobile phones. Because there is actually competition (no monopoly) in the mobile phone market, the best will win.
  • GNOME just works.