Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: Things we learned from BucksWoodside.Com

Author:Dave Winer
Posted:5/21/1999; 8:54:46 AM
Topic:Things we learned from BucksWoodside.Com
Msg #:6540 (In response to 6533)
Prev/Next:6539 / 6541

I also think it's time for engineers to study user interface again too. All the insights I've had for the last month have been about UI. I see all our stuff in a different light, and I see how it's just like the problems we solved in the 80s in the UI of what was known as "software" then, and now are called "tools".

I'm finding incredible inefficiencies in the process of writing for the web. Our initial hope that we could reduce the distance between the words and their storage on the server reduces the UI so significantly that it's now possible to start with a totally standard File menu, and have nothing but new space, between the File and Window menu for customization.

You're absolutely right, designers can play a huge role in the refinement of new UIs, but it's probably up to engineers to decide what the big parts are and how the interfaces work.

My goal is to give you a blank slate. That you can use the Menu Editor to write the custom stuff for your users, but at the kernel level the tool only knows about the net. This takes about twenty steps out of the usual routine of writing for the web.

Another insight. I just did a little editing of an old DaveNet piece using the old WebEdit-based interface. I could see how many extra steps I was doing. When I'm working on BucksWoodside.Com, most of the pages (soon all) are accessible thru an Edit this Page button. In that world I never have to navigate to the location of the source of the page, the server knows how to find the source and send it to me.

Think of all the MIS managers who have to try to coordinate among users who don't even know how to manage their own hard disks! We can solve this problem by taking the storage location out of the hands of the writer. They can use the same navigation structures that readers of the site use. We just dropped the price of creating content navigation to zero.

So my point is this, before we hone the current way of doing web writing, we have to redefine the process.

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