Too Easy

Daring Fireball had a comment on Christopher Dawson’s post over at ZDNet earlier this month. I’m a bit confounded by Dawson’s perception of usability.

…even iLife has its drawbacks in an educational setting. It simply hands so much to the students that they struggle with software (whether Windows, Linux, or even pro-level software on the Mac) that isn’t so brilliantly plug and play. Yes, iLife rocks in many ways, but the level of spoonfeeding it encourages actually makes me think twice about using it widely, especially at the high school level.

Heaven forbid we make it easy to use computers!

By designing software that is genuinely useful, easy to learn, and yes, even enjoyable, Apple, as well as others, are raising expectations of what a computing experience can and should be. That’s a good thing!

Certainly, given an increase in complexity of capabilities, there will be an increase in complexity of the user interface, but we can expect many of the qualities that make Apple’s consumer-level products so accessible to work their way into professional software as well. Video editors are already requesting some of the features from the most recent version of iMovie to be migrated into Final Cut.

So, Chris, don’t deny your students well-designed software. Eventually, they will be the ones progressing our industry and replacing the confounding with the understandable, the difficult with the efficient, and the frustrating with the enjoyable.

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