Chapter 4. Intellectual means unpredictable

Nikolay (unDEFER) Krivchenkov


I think, all know "Artificial intellect" concept usually connected with intellectuality of the computer opponent in games. As to interfaces all that is good for games is absolutely harmfully for work. In particular it is true for intellectuality.

In game against the computer it is more interesting to play, if your opponent is more clever and undertakes more unexpected actions. But in work the computer is friend. So it should be so predictable as possible . About it was already told in the first article: "Intuitive means predictable"

Nevertheless sometimes developers try to improve an interface with some unexpectedness. For example:

  1. Automatically hidden seldom used menu items in Microsoft Office 2003.
  2. The list of often used applications in Windows XP.

Actually any dynamically changeable position of menu items disturbs user to form a habit. It can throw into confusion, take away valuable time of the user.

It also is similar to a problem created by an files location described in the previous article: "Whether easily to find a file?". But files location has gone to modern interfaces from the text. Excessive intellectuality is caused by desire to help the user, and additional algorithms are for this purpose writes, additional resources of the PC spends for it.

Actually, if simply to place menu items in two-dimensional space, a person will very quickly remember location of necessary for him/her often used items. It will occur in absolutely natural and easy way. And seldom used and not necessary ones will simply cease to be noticed. As you can see it does not demand additional computer resources. Also it is much easier in implementation and at once more naturally, easier, more predictable and intuitively.

However, not so bad ideas are:

  1. Simplification of access to last documents and menu items. Here I ask to notice difference of "last" from "often used". The "often used" property much less predictable than "last".
  2. Possibility to create own menus by the user convenient for him/her. Items in such menu are predictable for the reason that it was created by the person himself.

In unDE:

  1. Not only files, but also menu items will be located in two-dimensional space that will allow to work natural mechanism of spatial memory.
  2. Anywhere in the interface badly predictable intellectual algorithms will not be used.
  3. Access to last documents will be simplified. For example, by default (at unDE loading) it always will open last document with cursor placed at last position. It will work even at unexpected power off. Logo