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[ba-ohs-talk] The Humane Environment

http://humane.sourceforge.net/jefweb-compiled/humaneenvironment/index.html    (01)

"When [Jeff] Raskin created the Macintosh project at Apple, his fundamental 
insight was to design a popular-price product starting from the human 
interface. Instead of starting with the sexiest processor or the coolest 
operating system as others did, he went from the user's needs to creating 
hardware and software to support the desired interaction. Combining 
then-current trends (many of which had been developed or improved at Xerox 
PARC) with his own interface inventions (such as click-and-drag for making 
arbitrary selections and moving objects), and the work of many colleagues, 
the result of Raskin's project became a major factor in the industry 
changeover to the modern Graphic User Interface (GUI). Computers became 
much easier to learn, and accessible to a wider range of users.    (02)

But interfaces have not moved with changing times. After a decade of 
research into cognitive psychology and by paying attention to people's 
constant computer complaints (and his own annoyance), Raskin realized that 
today's GUIs are fundamentally flawed. The interface-building tools that 
companies and open-source prouducts provide enforce bad interface design 
practices. They are wrong. Period. Raskin figured out how to fix the 
problems. His popular book, The Humane Interface (Addison-Wesley, 2000) 
explains all this in some detail.    (03)

Now, a few of Raskin's ideas have been turned into usable, open-source, 
open-ended software so that you can try them for yourself. The initial 
system, built without funding (or the chains that come along with it), when 
described, doesn't sound like much. It consists of a Python programming 
environment that is also a word processor, or perhaps the other way around 
(in any case, it's its own IDE), and which has some other interesting 
abilities. But two things about it take it far beyond this pedestrian 
description: its user interface and its API.    (04)

The Humane Environment (THE) is as easy to learn as a GUI (or easier) yet 
as fast to use (or faster) than the command-line systems we struggle to 
learn but love to use. It is easier to add new software to than any 
previous interface-based system.    (05)

Important observation: You cannot make an interface better without making 
it different (that's obvious). If it's a lot better, it will be a lot 
different. This means that it will feel unfamiliar to anybody familiar with 
present interfaces. Therefore, it has to be used for a while (after you 
read the manual) before you unlearn your present habits and can begin to 
appreciate it. You are in a worse position for learning it than a novice 
who has only to acquire new habits and has nothing to unlearn!    (06)

But once you have learned THE, you will wish that all your software had at 
least some of its interface features. This we guarantee; it happens every time.    (07)

"    (08)