Theory: Older people aren't worse at discovering or using new technology. UIs are just worse at conveying function/intent

Some evidence:

"Beginning users and many intermediates relied almost exclusively on visible cues for finding commands. They relied on (and found intuitive) menu bars and tool bars, but did not use pop-up (or “context”) menus, even after training."

"All but the most advanced users did not understand how to manage overlapping windows efficiently."

Whether the tech world chooses to accept it or not, there are still a couple of generations of folks who never mastered using a computer and are only now discovering the smartphone

Let's cut them some slack, shall we

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@cypnk the asinine hidden features of apps like Snapchat ("three finger swipe upwards to access the menu!") are prime examples of this

@wilbr @cypnk I feel like app developers have really failed when it comes to the curse of knowledge. They know what they implemented so of course it seems intuitive.

Meanwhile the rest of us are just desperately looking for visual interface cues. There must be a design principle that says something like "invisible =unusable" or something

@wilbr @cypnk there was (and still is) all that confusion over click vs double click. And left mouse button vs right mouse button too, so it's not just app developers I guess. But I feel we are constantly having to point out that these paradigms are *not* free to adopt. They take up valuable headspace

@enby @cypnk actual ui/ux people and literature is very clear about this. Read "The Design of Everyday Things" and the concept of affordances, for example.

@cypnk I've been thinking in a similar vein lately after helping my girlfriend's mom with some tech stuff, and also seeing mostly older people interacting with an iPad at work. I've decided that intuitive design is intuitive to those of us who were raised on the paradigms it uses, but it's evolved so far from the entry point of those paradigms that they're not intuitive to anyone without that point of reference.

@cypnk as much as I agree that our current UI design is a hideously arcane mess, this doesn't explain why, despite the fact that I ask them every single time, my folks still haven't learned to try switching the damn thing off and then on again when it stops working.

@Vordus Oh I’ve got a few of mine who’re like that too. Part of it is “I don’t want to move that to find what’s behind it in the fridge” and part, it breaks their train of thought while completing a task so off/on never enters the troubleshooting workflow in their minds

I’ve found that non-technical people tend to turn off their own common sense when interacting with technology

@cypnk it is incredible how many of the problems described here are still exactly the same more than twenty years later

@cypnk this was an excellent read! thanks for the link :3

@cypnk evidence: every single time someone has trouble using Windows, it's because Windows is broken and not because they were doing the wrong thing

Windows will just sit there and wait for you to do the wrong thing before it lets you continue, but it has to be a specific the wrong thing or it doesn't count

@cypnk it is painful to me that this is an article about ui design and usability

and it's got grey text on white background

i had to modify the page to be able to read it comfortably

@ky0ko That's an unfortunate irony. I'm pretty bad with tiny text so I had to increase the font size too

@cypnk and today much the same - people don't find the idiotic 'burger menu' stuff, and I've met people who had used Android phones for years without discovering long-press.

@cypnk Touch interfaces have been a bit of a disaster in this area; touch gestures are almost totally undiscoverable.

@cypnk I think some of it could be because people get mentally lazy with time, they forget how to think.

Perhaps more better put: they get stuck into "fast thinking mode", when the brain does stuff automatically and don't analyze every element of a puzzle to try to come with a solution.

Evidence: dude trust me

@cypnk Also, trying to hide actual abstractions from the user through the interface leads to confusion.

Sure, you don't need to know what a compositor is to watch a video.

But you do need to know what a software, a media player, a file and a codec are to take the the most out of the player.
If you as a developer just hides all of that under "haha video icon goes brrrr", then you are only shooting yourself in the foot.

There is this interesting concept, called NUI (natural user interface), in which the interface not only makes things easily accessible but also works as a teaching tool.

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