Hmm. I disagree.
User-friendliness is not, as many self-proclaimed power users seem to think, a newbie
feature. It is a matching of the control over the capabilities to the user’s workflow, no
matter the level of user and/or complexity of workflow.
Saying “we don’t need user-friendliness” is throwing the baby out with the bath water, and
belies a lack of user experience design, IMO.
For any workflow, even, no, *especially* power user workflows, there is a sweet spot of
providing control over that workflow in ways that make that control simple, elegant, and
Power user != just throw me into the guts of a system. If it were that, the only true
power users would be flipping bits directly.
Now, you can say that user-friendliness is not a strongly required feature for a
particular application or system. That’s a systems design choice. But to say that power
users don’t need user-friendliness? Naw, that’s just taking the easy way out. UX design
is hard, absolutely, but to say “oh, we don’t need that, we’re *power users*” quickly
leads to the preference panels in many Linux apps that look like the dashboard of a 747.
Everything-is-an-option is chaos.
Instead, TM2 should be looking at ways of making the common tasks of power users simpler
and more direct. I think it does a remarkable job of this as it is. At the risk of
contradicting myself above, perhaps a “Global preferences take precedence” switch. Turn
it on, the pref you set at the global level trumps all. Turn it off, and the pref you set
at the global level is the default, to be overridden by bundles.
I can easily see scenarios where either is rational and reasonable, and neither jumps out
as a clear winner. Therefore, a power user workflow decision is promoted to a
discoverable, clear checkbox. Voila. User friendly for the power user.
And just as a datapoint? I finally ran screaming from emacs back in the great 19.27/28
schism of ‘94, and haven’t looked back. Got tired of dealing with the ongoing breakage of
basic power user scripts. That may not be the best model to aspire to, from a user
perspective. :) I take the description of TM2 as “emacs for Macs” to mean that it has
the Mac usability baked in, and has the same level of attention to detail and design as
other Mac apps. Otherwise, it’s just “emacs with Python and Ruby” and I don’t think
anyone wants that. We can do *way* better than that, and I think Allan has.
On Feb 2, 2014, at 8:27 PM, Matt Neuburg <matt(a)tidbits.com> wrote:
On Feb 2, 2014, at 7:38 PM, Trevor Harmon <trevor(a)vocaro.com> wrote:
I certainly agree this procedure is not very
user-friendly, but is it still the way to go? Or have things changed in TextMate 2?
My ideas are very inchoate and I appreciate the discussion of the opposing point of view,
so please keep countering me.
My thought here is: It is wrong to look for user-friendliness in TM2.
Non-power users of TM2 are probably not going to be capable or desirous of changing
_anything_; they will love the text editing features and will learn to use them, in the
same way that I use TM for editing and running Ruby or writing Markdown without worrying
about _how_ it works behind the scenes, but they won't do any tweaking.
Anyone, on the other hand, who does _any_ tweaking is promoted to a power user! And such
a person, I argue, _will_ have to make these sorts of non-user-friendly adjustments. To
make a non-user-friendly way to let non-power users do what power users do would dilute
and confuse the program. TM2 is like emacs: you can take what you're given or you can
make adjustments, but there is no naive user-friendly way to make those adjustments, nor
should there be. TM2 is like Flammarion's woodcut:
Either stay on your side of the universe and enjoy the beauty of nature, or peek behind
the curtain and blow your mind. There is no middle course.
matt neuburg, phd = matt(a)tidbits.com, http://www.apeth.net/matt/
pantes anthropoi tou eidenai oregontai phusei
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