Monday, 28 June 1999
Any clue what a text processor is good for? I had. My idea was to type some text with it, and paste a picture or two. Saving my work would be nice too. I don't like typing for the cat's fiddle.

The boys at Bill's Hackware (www...com) have some other ideas. They have turned the best selling text processor into a magic box full of features, gimmicks and a highly annoying paper-clip. A paper-clip? Yes, a paper-clip indeed. Type some text, paste a picture, save a document. Each of those three is simple task turns into a source of frustrations. Annoying paper-clip

  1. The waves make me seasick.
  2. It's impossible to pleasantly paste pictures.
  3. The paper-clip drives me nuts.
As far as I am concerned, this software is a good candidate for the Interface Hall of Shame (www.iarchitect.com/...). How to avoid this kind of annoyances? Can software get better? Yes, software must get better! The examples above violate the following design principles:
  • Limit applications to CoFu (Core Functionality).
  • The user is in control, the program just follows.
  • Keep user interfaces consistent and predictable.
Nice piece of theory, but that does not solve this practical problem. What to do? Call support? No, that's no use. Their standard answer is that it will be fixed in the next release. No thanks, keep your next release. I'm more interested in the previous release, but that is not available anymore.

The same evening, at the SUMit headquarters, I pick up a competing text processor. It is the '96 version of Lotus Word Pro, and that old package suits me fine. It was obviously far ahead of its time. Yes, it's possible to type text, past pictures and save documents. Unbelievable, what a pleasant functionality this is! It even has 'an expert' that offers assistance on request.

LWP Problems with the MS paper-clip? No, not any more. Solved with the previous version of the competing WordPro (www/lotus.com/...)!

Till next week!