[LINK] Are GUI design standards no longer relevanr?

Fernando Cassia fcassia at gmail.com
Sun Jan 17 14:17:30 AEDT 2010

On Sat, Jan 16, 2010 at 8:53 PM, Jan Whitaker <jwhit at melbpc.org.au> wrote:

> At 10:07 AM 17/01/2010, Fernando Cassia wrote:
> >Is the drawing of
> >a "monkey wrench" or a "star" more intutive than a button that reads
> "File"
> >?
> Funny you should mention symbols versus text, Fernando. I recently
> went to a website that hosts video podcasts. When the presentation
> was finished, I wanted to play it again. But for the life of me, I
> couldn't find the way to do that. I literelly went back to the page
> three times before I recognised the replay button. There was no text
> to draw my attention, just the symbol. Granted, it was the same
> symbol used by YouTube, but the word replay was missing.
> So my answer to your question is: there needs to be both, the symbol
> and the word. There are always new users coming to a website who may
> not have the symbol code from their own experience. So why handicap them?

Exactly my thinking. What really irks me is this "general concensus" on the
IT press that Google Chrome was superb and revolutionary because of its
"clean" user interface. By "clean" they mean "few buttons, no menu". But
then you read the Chrome page and the users´ first words were "how do I
print? for the life of me I can´t find the option". So, gee, menus DO have a
purpose. And I´m not buying that argument that using 30 vertical pixels for
the CUA compliant menus (File, Edit, View, etc) is "a waste of screen real

At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man (I´m 35 so I guess that makes
me a geezer in web-years) I venture to say the problem is all those students
out of the university with a degree in "graphics design" without a clue
about the story of graphical user interfaces. There´s CUA menus for a
reason: because before CUA, everything was a mess, and developers from
different companies (from Wordperfect to Microsoft to IBM to Sun
Microsystems) decided something had to be done about it. So they implemented
CUA menus.

But then comes this new generation of bold graphics designers, full of ideas
(and full of themselves) wanting to "change the world". So they say "who
needs those stinking menus? let´s maximize screen space!". And... we´ve got
Chrome with a star button and a monkey wrench. This nonsense has to be
stopped. Before it´s too late.

> I recently also was asked about the design of a site for a writer who
> had just hired a web designer to create it. My first comment to her:
> Don't use a flash only first page. Some? many? people just turn it
> off. Your first order of business is to get as many people as
> possible stay. Why shoot yourself in the first right out of the gate?
> But surprisingly, that is exactly what many site designers do:
> sabotage their clients.

"A Flash applet is not a web page" is my favourite motto. I repeat it day
and night. I write nasty letters to every web page I run across that does
not feature a HTML link to a flash-free page.

Flash content cannot be indexed by Google. Cannot be boookmarked. You cannot
return to any given page (because what you bookmark is an empty html frame
that contains a huge Flash blob).

In short: Flash has its uses, but it´s NOT to replace HTML. Again: an empty
html frame with a huge Flash blob acting as a web page isn´t a web page to
begin with.

Yet, Claro, Argentina´s largest Mobile Phone operator, has a 100% Flash "web
page". A "web page" that 90% of its mobile users cannot load to begin with!.
(and if they do, the Flash content seems to be designed for a 800x600
resolution) How idiotic is that?. See for youselves... www.claro.com.ar

So yes, I agree with you wholeheartedly.

When do we start the grassroorts movement and/or militia to remove this
smenace from the Net?. ;-)


Buenos Aires, Argentina

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