cat_neuron boosted

When I was a smartass computer nerd in the 80s and 90s, an eternal theme was friends and family sheepishly asking me for tech support help, and me slowly, patiently explaining to them that computers aren't scary, they're actually predictable, they won't explode or erase your data (unless you really make an effort), and they operate by simple (if somewhat arcane) rules. Edit > Cut, then click, then Edit > Paste. Save As. Use tabs, not spaces. Stuff like that. Maybe not easy, but simple, or at least consistent and learnable.

But that's not true anymore.

User interfaces lag. Text lies. Buttons don't click. Buttons don't even look like buttons! Panels pop up and obscure your workspace and you can't move or remove them -- a tiny floating x and a few horizontal lines is all you get. Mobile and web apps lose your draft text, refresh at whim, silently swallow errors, mysteriously move shit around when you're not looking, hide menus, bury options, don't respect or don't remember your chosen settings. Doing the same thing gives different results. The carefully researched PARC principles of human-computer interaction -- feedback, discoverabilty, affordances, consistency, personalization -- all that fundamental Don Norman shit -- have been completely discarded.

My tech support calls now are about me sadly explaining there's nothing I can do. Computers suck now. They run on superstition, not science. It's a real tragedy for humanity and I have no idea how to fix it.

#HCI #UX #UI #okdoomer


a Schelling point for those who seek one