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Love/Hate Continued…

To follow my post from yesterday, Rich made a very interesting comment that I was hoping to address in today’s post.

He suggests that perhaps a NMR Lite would be a good approach. I gave reason as to why we didn’t take that approach and strip away existing features from 1D NMR Processor when developing the processing component in ACD/1D NMR Assistant yesterday.

But Rich makes a very good point in his comments:

For everyone else, it’s all too easy to not even look at a piece of software who’s fundamental purpose is obscured by layer upon layer of
expert features. They just tune out and the only ones who end up using
the software and giving feedback are the power users – which
unfortunately reinforces the misconception.

For me, the key is to make sure that all these features
don’t get in the way of the primary reason someone is using the software. I
don’t have a problem with a wealth of features as long as it does not interfere
with the main workflow.

Cathy Sierra is a blogger that I dearly miss for her daily insight on how to "create passionate users". Here’s one of her takes. Specifically I like:

One of the themes I heard over and over at ETech and SXSW (Jason Fried,
Craig Newmark, and others) was the developer mantra of "get out of the
way." In other words, build the thing so that it stays the hell out of
the way and lets the user get on with what they really
want to do.


So as an adaptation of Rich’s comment. Make the 20% REALLY clear,
and hide the other 80% but still offer it.

I’m not sure it’s the perfect solution, but I think it’s a
different approach.

For example, here’s the first thing a user will see when
they open a raw data file in 1D NMR Processor:


On the other hand, here is ACD/1D NMR Assistant:


Of course you don’t want to create an environment where a user is drilling through menus looking for useful features, but we do provide users with the ability to hide or show toolbar buttons and action buttons on the interface so they can choose the interface most appropriate to them which can be altered as they get more comfortable with the software.

What do you think Rich?

Anyone else have an opinion they want to share in the comments section?