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Old 06-05-2008, 11:26 PM
Andrew Smallshaw
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Default Re: ANNOUNCE:-- TimingAnalyzer Free Version -- Draw timing diagrams

On 2008-06-05, rickman <[email protected]> wrote:
> On Jun 5, 9:14 am, Brian Drummond <[email protected]>
> wrote:
>>
>> Do you work in the NHS, or for one of their equipment suppliers?
>> All the CUI references (includinghttp://www.mscui.net/seem to be
>> associated with the health care sector.

>
> I have no idea what you are talking about... I am an electronic
> design engineer and have never worked in the health care sector. What
> exactly is NHS? Is that a government agency or a company?


NHS = National Health Service, the state run healthcare provider
here in the UK. Unlike state healthcare provision in the US the
NHS is fairly comprehensive and covers the entire population (paid
for out of general taxation). As a result it is a massive organisation
- it dwarfs the entire Ministry of Defence, for instance. ISTR it
is Europe's biggest employer.

> I'm really not trying to bash the tool. I expect there are those who
> like it and use it. I have often wanted a good tool for drawing
> waveforms and timing diagrams. But the very first and most important
> feature is that it has to be easy and intuitive to use. I feel that I
> should be able to sit down and use it without reading a manual or
> taking a tutorial. Many years ago I did that with a Mac! I expect
> most people do that with the iPhone and iPod. A timing diagram editor
> is not a complex tool. I should be able to draw simple waveforms
> without learning a complex interface. I currently use Visio and I
> find that to be a burdensome tool for simple things. It also has its
> own ways in which it doesn't work. I just wanted something a bit
> simpler.


Interesting that you mention Macs. For many years Apple have
published user interface guidelines that document exactly how UIs
should behave. I recall looking through the one for the Newton a
few years ago and it was very prescriptive and quite forceful in
places. I remember it was full of things like "This UI component
has square corners. This other component has rounded corners. If
you need to reimplement them for some reason you stick to those
conventions or your users will be swamping your helpdesk with
support enquiries." This might not give designers as much leeway
to create "really cool" interfaces but I suspect it is more in
tune with what many users actually want.

This is also an area where Microsoft have completely lost the plot.
Since Windows 95 every major release of Windows has been accompanied
by a new interface. Applications are even worse - I don't know
how many style of toolbar have been played with over the last 15
years. Microsoft always make great play of the new interface but
who exactly does it benefit? Users are forced to learn new interfaces
every upgrade and application developers are forced to 'upgrade'
their programs with the new UI or risk being considered outdated.

The only people I can see benefiting are Microsoft themseleves (it
provides a very obvious reason to upgrade, even if it does lack
clear benefits) and hardware manufacturers (the upgrade needs newer
faster hardware). For all the talk of enhancing the user's experience
it seems obvious to me that MS don't give a shit about users. All
that matters is ensuring that the revenue keeps coming in from
repeated meaningless upgrades.

--
Andrew Smallshaw
[email protected]
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