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User Selectected Interface

One of the things I have noticed while supporting end users is that there seems to be a few (perhaps many) different user types regarding desktop layout preferences. 

For instance, some users tend to keep their desktop simple, plain and organize program objects into deeper menu structures.  Another group of users may choose bright colors, a variety of fonts and will place a thousand program icons directly on the desktop.

At first I thought that there was no particular pattern or predictability to the preferences.  Now I am beginning to sense that these groups are predictable and can be identified and categorized.

This leads me to think that it might make sense to consider designing user interfaces that can be selected at runtime to match the preferences of the user type and that go beyond font and color selection to include menu organization, prompt text content, the ratio of graphics to text, etc.

Perhaps an application should ask a few questions of the user and then adjust its interface to match the user's type?

Joe Nieters
Saturday, May 17, 2003

My "ect" key must have bounced!

Joe Nieters
Saturday, May 17, 2003

I always liked customizable user interfaces, myself.

However, I am not sure about the approach of "asking questions and ajusting to the user". I don't want software to adjust to me: if you have N different skins, I want to look at them all and just pick one myself.

Maybe I just fall into a particular 'user type', but I'd rather see what tunables are available and manipulate them directly. Or at least be able to.

I disagree with the school of thought that "the program knows best". It may, but it also may not, and I want to be able to override any decision it makes on my behalf.

Mike Swieton
Saturday, May 17, 2003

Perhaps a configuration wizard that lets the user select from a variety of options for each of the customizable program sections?

Joe Nieters
Saturday, May 17, 2003

I deeply resent when software Reacts to me.  I don't want menu items to hide\show based on experience.  If I want them turned off, I'll turn 'em off, thank you.

I also become frustrated when there are things I can't control...

Shoot for (not at <g>) the green-horn but allow the geek to do what he wants.

Damn users!

B#
Saturday, May 17, 2003

I am not so much interested in turning features on or off but more with arrangement and presentation.

Joe Nieters
Saturday, May 17, 2003

Writing the documentation could be fun :-)

"Click the X option on the File menu (or it might be on the Edit or View menu on your system, or perhaps not a menu, but be visible as a glowing green goblin icon)

S. Tanna
Saturday, May 17, 2003

I think that's a great idea, but it all hinges on being able to assess preferences reasonably well.

.
Sunday, May 18, 2003

Plastic, user-centric interfaces are, of course, one of the key targets addressed by CSS. 

Simon Lucy
Monday, May 19, 2003

Implementing a system to categorize user types would certainly have to be one of the initial steps.  I can't help but wonder if the user prefences may be predictable using  the MBTI or perhaps a subset of the various facets?

Joe Nieters
Monday, May 19, 2003

Build one good interface before even considering the building of more than one.

pb
Monday, May 19, 2003

Hmmm!, Multiple interfaces or a single interface framework with selectable components?

Joe Nieters
Monday, May 19, 2003

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