[MUD-Dev] UI Design

Adam adam at grexengine.com
Tue Feb 3 09:26:56 New Zealand Daylight Time 2004


Edward Glowacki wrote:
> On Thu, 2004-01-29 at 12:13, Brian Hook wrote:

>> And the clients I've looked at really haven't been much
>> friendlier than telnet -- they're often overwhelming with the
>> sheer number of options and configurability.

> MUD clients are a general-purpose tool for accessing any
> MUD/MUSH/MOO, so they usually have to be customized for each
> specific game they play. Thus options and configurability would be

Sure.

> The problem is that MUD clients are written by programmers.
> Programmers value configurability, flexibility, and power above
> all else.  So they design MUD clients that have those values at
> their

...

> behave.  Programmers are not good UI designers.  It's a different
> skill set and a different way of thinking.  UI design is more

That's not fair, and I think it only ceased to be fair quite
recently. Today I know a greater proportion of programmers who are
somewhere from "acceptable" to "good" at GUI design than
non-programmers, and similar rates in more general UI design,
although it's much closer to even there. I think this has a lot to
do with the youth of GUI OS's and apps as a whole, and people's
increasing frustration with (and changing expectations of) their
apps. Programmers tend to slate poor apps more often than
non-programmers (IME; this is not based on statistics, just random
observation), and this is a very strong first step on the path to
being good at UI design :).

I would hazard that novice programmers get a much greater negative
reaction to a poor UI these days than they would have 10 years
ago. I suspect that the reaction usually manifests as a very low
take-up rate, as shown by very low percentage of people visiting the
screenshots page of the website going on to the download page. Hey,
even the "standard" of nowadays including "screenshots" in every
navbar (alongside "About", "download", "docs", and "contact") shows
that UI design is thought about more often / seriously by the
majority of people. I believe that awareness of the issues is
reaching a point where programmers generally teach themselves (or
ensure they get taught) enough to produce quite good GUI's.

Adam M
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