It seems that now and then when you’re developing a project for someone you lose sight of an important principle.
Don’t complicate their life.
People want you to work for them because they have a problem. This problem complicates their lives. If the solution you propose further complicates their lives, then why are they even getting you to help them in the first place?
This article by Bleek of DivisionTwo is either a big joke or one of the best case-in-point examples of what I’m talking about I could have ever found.
The author intends to build a machine that their 89 year old grandmother can use. This grandmother has little to no experience with computers at all other than writing the odd letter.
What the author provides is the most “feature rich” (read complicated) convoluted setup I could possibly fathom.
He might have made it harder on her if he decided to include a few more flavours of linux on the same box and make the boot loader display in Chinese in case she was studying that language.
Obviously, he didn’t even follow up and all he knows is that his mother called saying that grandma can’t get past the boot loader and needs some instruction.
In my opinion the first place he went wrong was deciding that more choices is always a good thing. In general, people who are in unfamilliar territory want to know the best choice (whether it’s your best choice or whatever), if they’re inquisitive MAYBE they’ll ask why it’s the best choice, and they’ll want to know how to get there.
As well, don’t put someone in unfamilliar territory if at all possible. Why would you have a computer randomly change things around on someone who barely knows how to use it? Even seasoned veterans of the computer world get annoyed when someone moves around the navigation on them.
I have serious trouble believing this is real but I also know full well people make these mistakes all the time. I guess I’ll chalk it up to a joke and one of the best usability case studies ever written.