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Usability guru designing a nightclub

I'm looking for the quote about 'if a usability expert designed a nightclub, it would be well light, the music not too loud.. etc, etc.'

I can't remember if this was posted on Joel's website or not. Can anybody help?

Thanks in advance,


Lawrence Attrill
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

I think it is a quote from Joel's "User interface design for programmers" book, but I did not find it in the online version, maybe it is in one of the seven brand new chapters :-)

Have fun,

Jutta Jordans
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

It is indeed from Joel's book. The full quote is:

"Usability is not everything. If usability engineers designed a nightclub, it would be clean, quiet, brightly lit, with lots of places to sit down, plenty of bartenders, menus written in 18-point sans-serif, and easy-to-find bathrooms. But nobody would be there. They would all be down the street at Coyote Ugly pouring beer on each other."

Don't thank me, thank google.

- m

Matt Christensen
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

I believe that's from Steve Krug's book "Don't Make Me Think" but I'm not 100% sure.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

oh... nevermind...

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

That's an amusing quote, but it never made much sense to me.  Why would you assume that brightly-lit surroundings, plenty of room to sit down, etc. would enhance the usability of a nightclub?  Maybe a book store, but not a nightclub.

Seems like a straw-man argument to me.  If you did your usability research correctly, you'd end-up with Coyote Ugly, not the example described by Joel.

Anonymous coward
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

See for an example of usability being applied to a nightclub.

They took 2 years to finish "refactoring". BTW, this is Jamie Zawinski's (from Netscape fame) joint.

Leonardo Herrera
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Nice looking club. The new floor plan looks like an improvement.

Night clubes are one of the few instances where difficult to see = good, except when you're talking about the stage. Anyone who's been in a bar at 4am when the lights get turned on knows exactly what I mean.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

The DNA lounge is something of a double irony. The first irony is that Zawinski quit Netscape because Mozilla hadn't released anything after a year, bought a nightclub, and then spent _two_ years redesigning and rebuilding it before it served a single drink.

The second, of course, is that Mozilla 1.0 still hasn't shipped.

Charles Miller
Thursday, May 23, 2002

About the second irony: it seems they are closing to release mozilla 1.0. I'm using it at work, and it's wonderful. Still have some pesky little interface bugs, but nothing I can't live with.

Leonardo Herrera
Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Mozilla since, 0.94 has been very usable - and the latest releases are quite awesome.  I like the user options for disabling window spawning, the tabbed interface is very cool.  And it renders very fast.  A beautiful peice of work!

Nat Ersoz
Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Out of curiousity, how is it compared to Opera? Opera has had an "accept/refuse pop-up windows" option and an equivalent to the "tabbed interface" for a while. Plus lots of other goodies I'm starting to use all the time.


Adrian Gilby
Thursday, May 30, 2002


I have tried Mozilla 0.9.9 and Opera 6.

I don't think the tabbed browsing in Mozilla is as good - there's no option to use tabs for all new windows. Instead you can choose for certain situations to open a new tab.
  On the other hand, Mozilla lets you open a link in a new tab by middle clicking, something that would make sense in Opera, but the latter insists on using the middle button to scroll.

The "accept/refuse popups" feature is better in Mozilla. This is because you choose to refuse popups that aren't opened by a user action (ie most advertising popups). In, Opera 6.1 (at least), refusing popups means you don't get popups which are launched when you click a link, which can be annoying as they are sometimes used to launch information windows or pictures.

  I can't vouch what the latest Mozilla does though.

  You can use an ad-filtering proxy such as Proxomitron to make Opera handle popups just as you like. It's fairly easy to setup and the default settings remove most advertising.

Thursday, May 30, 2002

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