Ease of Use Doesn’t Always Mean “Fewer Buttons”

by Joey deVilla on September 28, 2007

In yesterday’s posting, Monkey Knife Fight, I point to an argument made by Elliotte Rusty Harold that Java’s java.util.List is more “humane” than Ruby’s Array since it has fewer methods. He posed the question “Which of these three remotes would you rather use?”:

Two complex TV remotes and the very simple Apple TV remote

There is, of course, a point where having too few buttons or controls is a hindrance. Which instrument would you rather play? This beastly thing with an ancient user interface sporting 88 buttons, each of which reacts with volume proportional to the force with which you press them, and three pedals?

Grand piano

Or this much simpler, more “humane” interface with two controls?

“Music Maker” app with a “Pitch” slider and a “Play Note” button.

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