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    « My iPod, My Love | Main | DRM Doomed »
    Friday
    Jun042004

    Is Customization a Design Copout?

    INTERFACES: I was thinking about customization in lecture yesterday.



    First let me say that I am usually a big fan being able to customize my operating system and application interfaces to suit my tastes. I usually know the way I like things and I get pissed if I can't change it accordingly.



    But then I thought about iTunes. I've never had to customize the GUI. I've never wanted to. All I had to do was tweak a few tiny things like turning off the iTunes music store tab. But all in all, even if I could tweak the interface, I wouldn't. It's really that good.



    On the other hand, there is Windows. The too Blue XP scheme, the magically disappearing menu items (why simplify menus when you can just temporarily mask complexity?!?), Rover the retriever, Clippy the crap head... If I couldn't remove these things I might just kill someone.



    This left me asking: do I really want to customize software? Or do I just want to customize software that hasn't been well designed in the first place? I really don't know the answer, but I'm guessing that most people really don't want to customize their interfaces beyond setting the desktop image and incorporating their favorite colors. Instead, they just want it done right, out of the box.



    iTunes does it right. Media Player, for a touch of contrast, should be customizable to the point of complete recreation.

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