I would not have guessed that Frankie Goes to Hollywood covered Born to Run.

@Taweret Every night you spend watching Doctor Who is a night you aren't reviewing the Dungeons and Dragons movie.

spicy software opinions, on user-configurability 

once upon a time, software came with a billion little switches. any feature it came with could be disabled. behavior could be adjusted to user taste. even the entire ui could be radically altered by end-users.

then came along apple, with their emphasis on design and heavily-curated experience, and with enough ego to declare irrelevant end-user opinions about how software should operate. this is, essentially, the software design equivalent of “tastemaking”.

to their credit, apple’s designers were, for a time, very good. the default experience that they provide was clean and approachable, and was very usable, straight off the shelf, by the average user.

and because apple’s approach worked very well for them, for a time, it caught on. google and microsoft and even mozilla and friends all took note and also moved away from providing highly-configurable software in favour of heavily-curated default designs with very few user-configurable elements.

but a thing that technology designers forget is that technology, including software, is ultimately a tool, and tools are never the final goal of a production pipeline. in the end, software, like any other tool, exists to enable its user to get other, more important things done.

and if a user disagrees with design decisions, those design decisions are wrong, even if just for that user, because they interfere with the tool’s ability to serve its own purpose.


finely-tuned default workflows are good. it is important for tools to be maximally usable straight off the shelf by the average user. this is an important element of accessibility.


users come with a wide variety of often-conflicting needs, and users know their own needs better than even the best designer.


bring back the days of heavily-configurable software!

maybe hide the more fiddly settings behind an “advanced” settings pane, sure, but do provide them. not talking about arcane undocumented registry settings or chrome/firefox-style about:config hackery, either.

software configurability is an important element of accessibility, too.

and unironically:

winamp-style ui skinning was a good thing, even if it allowed people with divergent artistic sensibilities to produce things that make you cringe.

Part of the job of spouse in this modern age is to absorb the speeches about SOMEONE being WRONG on the INTERNET. Today both of us have delivered such a speech to the other rather than mix it up online, from which nothing good would come. (But so very very WRONG though)

I didn't say I was starting a co-operative, I said I was starting a cooperative, do you know how to make barrels or not

the singer of Semisonic, getting dressed in the morning:
Clothing time

Show older

The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!