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Right degree of control for user interfaces:

One of the articles in the Aero UX guidelines deals with giving the right degree of control to users. “The rule of thumb is to put the user in control of tasks performed as part of regular activities and guide them through everything else.” It dosn’t talk about interfaces that do both, give control to frequent users and guide novice users through the easiest path. For example, the slides in a presentation can be seen by clicking the next button or by clicking on the navigation links. If I know the presentation well, I can follow my own navigation path and if I’m new to it, I’ll keep clicking the next button to follow the path the author thought was best. Similarly, loosely connected task based applications which give control to frequent users and also direct novice users are possible. The ‘blast’ feature in Central is a nice way to loosely connect task based interfaces. Update: Hillel Cooperman presented a talk on Aero User Experience, which a lot of ppl are saying is the best PDC presentation. The best summary I could find for it is over at Werner Vogels’ weblog. Hillel Cooperman the presenter and head of the msft user experience team has a blog called The Microsoft Experience.

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