November 28, 2003
@ 05:19 PM

The Apple Human Interface Design Guidelines has a section on consistency which reads in part


Consistency in the interface allows people to transfer their knowledge and skills from one application to any other... Ask yourself the following questions when thinking about consistency in your product.

Is your product consistent:

  • Within itself?
  • With earlier versions of your product?
  • With Mac OS standards? For example, does your application use the reserved and recommended keyboard equivalents? (See “Keyboard Shortcuts”.)
  • In its use of metaphors?
  • With people’s expectations?.

Recently Torsten's been changing the user interface components used by RSS Bandit from the DotNetMagic library to the Tim Dawson's Windows Forms controls due to the fact that the former is no longer free as in beer. Given that we are changing the look and feel of the widgets Torsten thought this would also be a good time to rearrange some of the menu options and remove some of the toolbar buttons. I tend to disagree. User interface consistency between versions of an application is very important especially when you consider it messes with the muscle memoryof users of older versions of the application.

Torsten has posted screenshots of the new RSS Bandit UI and is asking for feedback. His questions are phrased differently than I'd ask. I'd ask if users want the user interface to be consistent with old versions of RSS Bandit or not? I'd also ask if users prefer that we keep the old DotNetMagic user interface or move to Tim Dawson's UI components?  

If you use RSS Bandit I'd appreciate your comments.


Friday, November 28, 2003 6:00:53 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Consistency with previous versions is both laudable and stunting. On one hand, you don't want to change the UI just for the sake of change; on the other, you shouldn't be beholden to your UI if you can improve the usability.

Don't crutch yourself by saying that the UI must never change, just because it has been some way for some time.

I've used RSS Bandit, although it's not my aggregator of choice at the moment. The new UI screens posted are much better.

If I was an RSS Bandit user, my only questions about a rearranged UI would be: (1) can I continue to do things I used to be able to do, without much difficult figuring out how; and (2) do I benefit from the new UI?
Friday, November 28, 2003 6:54:35 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I do use RSS Bandit from the beginning and here are my comments:
1. UI library is a minor importance for me, Torsten teasers look great.
2. Please leave Update All Feeds button alone - I use it all the time :)
3. Catch Up Feed button in the toolbar - really good idea.
Apart from that my vote is to keep UI as is as possible (instead it can be made truly customazible).
Friday, November 28, 2003 7:46:47 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Dare, if as early as v1.x you're already tied to a "legacy" interface, I'd say you're in trouble. Remember Windows experience: v3.1x to 9x, 9x to XP, NT to 2003, XP to Longhorn. Each one is more or less a departure from the previous one, and if it's for the sake of a better interface, there's nothing wrong about that, IMO.
Besides, proposed changes to RSS Bandit aren't THAT drastic. I can certainly live with them ;)
Friday, November 28, 2003 7:50:45 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
BTW, I agree with Oleg that instead, the UI should be customizable, specially toolbars!
Saturday, November 29, 2003 11:26:42 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Thanks to the new widget library users will have the ability to customize toolbars.
Monday, December 1, 2003 2:41:46 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
It's definitely too early in the product's life to be 'tied down' to any interface.

i like that 'feed details' is just one tab amongst all the browser tabs - and think it would be a mistake to turn Feed Details into a separate frame. Ideally you would be able to choose between either, I guess.

it's nice how currently you can browse away into other tabs, but then by selecting the 'feedlist' you get straight back to the 'feed details' tab.

'Update All Feeds' is the button I use most. ('New Feed...' being second most used for me)

best of luck with the decisions
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