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Screw the power users | Hacker News

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> Power users were happy with all the features and all the options, but the extra baggage made it harder for less technical people to use the product.

Poor design. Seriously. Simplicity is really really hard. Much harder than throwing a ton of settings, toggles, and switches at a user.

Your design has to be ridiculously simple, but be flexible enough to allow complexity when it is called for. It's hard to put into words, but I frequently spend months refining an interface to fit just right.

The best example of this is an operating system. Windows has to be simple enough for the least computer literate person to use, but flexible enough for you to configure anything you can imagine via the registry or command line. There is no link to the registry in the start menu. But every power user knows how to launch it. The complexity is possible, it's there, but it's hidden. It doesn't bother the new guy because he doesn't even know about it. Only the power use can find it.

If you prefer an example with Mac OS, the operating system by default is unbelievably limiting. There is very little you can configure via the settings. Pull out the terminal and you can change absolutely everything you can imagine. Again, the complexity and features are there ... but hidden. They don't interfere with the regular user experience, but they're there if needed by the power user.

Ditto for Linux.

Actually, the real comparison is iPad to Windows.

iPad is so easy my 3-year-old niece can use it and so can my 70-year-old dad.

Windows? *shutter*

I like the original post:

"I’d argue that’s one of the biggest problems that has plagued the software industry. We’ve all built stuff for ourselves, even though the vast majority of software users aren’t like us."


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