Day: November 9, 2007

Windows Live Writer 2008

Microsoft Windows Live Writer 2008 is a free blogging tool that makes posting to your blog much easier. It has just left beta and has become a full release.

It works well with Microsoft Live Spaces and WordPress, and there seem to be a great deal of plugins that allow you to (for example) add Flickr images.

Setting up with your blog is very easy. You just point at your URL with username and password, and it figures out the rest.

User Experience

I spent a few happy weeks playing ‘Half-Life 2’ last year, and yesterday I bought Metroid Prime 3: Corruption for my Wii  and the differences are interesting.

Half-Life 2 was a beautiful game and I enjoyed every detailed scene. Metroid on the other hand doesn’t look as good.. it runs at 480p on my HD Television, and simply can’t match HL2’s level of detail.

But does it matter? Well not at all! The game play is very simple.. HL2 has excellent controls with the keyboard and mouse but it isn’t as easy as throwing the Wiimote and Nunchuck around. Metroid is just so easy to get into.

A while ago I saw a customer system based on Unix that they wanted to update to WinForms. What struck me was the simplicity and ease of this terminal services application: It only used a few colors, you could navigate quickly with the F keys, and there was no wait… the system was very responsive.

When you build a modern GUI application in WinForms, Java Swing or whatever there is much more you can do visually, but to what end?

I am not calling for a return to terminal services, but I feel we shouldn’t discard the simplicity that is the desire for most users out there. Most users really couldn’t care less if they have the ability to change the color of their toolbar.. they do care that they are able to finish their work for the day unimpeded by ‘IT issues’.

Nintendo made a very bold and praiseworthy statement by releasing the Wii. They were basically saying “The graphics are not important – the experience is important”. When designing our systems we should remember that a pretty prototype is no substitute for a system that real users can be productive and satisfied with.