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Ease of Use

How easy or difficult were they to learn?

The first interface to any software utility or system was the most difficult and time consuming to learn. Some of the difficulty with different software and systems was due to circumstances beyond my control--the WAIS for Windows software continually crashed the entire computer. The Windows and Macintosh Gopher clients were not fully or properly configured. Several remote library catalogs did not respond to a telnet `open' request.

Top Prize for an easy-to-learn-and-use Interface goes to the Rapid Filer for LAN Workplace ftp utility. This graphical `front end' to ftp can connect to a remote site on autopilot, login as an anonymous user, and display both remote and local files in an easy to understand `folders and documents' iconic representation. The user can then drag-and-drop these icons to transfer files from one site to another, while the Rapid Filer software takes care of the binary/ASCII file type determination, file re-naming, and other hassles.

Bottom Prize for the most-cryptic-and-elusive Interface goes to the WAIS for Windows version 2.2. The process is too confusing. all of the interfaces attempted to communicate with the user through inconsistent icons. Many icon-based graphical software packages offer `bubble help,' or they automatically display the function of each icon in the application's `status bar' when the mouse cursor floats above the icon in question. Our network setup prevents a user from saving a collection of WAIS servers into a file, so every Windows WAIS search at GSLIS requires the user to begin with an additional search for the WAIS servers themselves!




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Next: Facilities & Software Up: Internet Interfaces Previous: Learning The Basics   Contents

sean dreilinger

copyright  ©  October 21 2019 sean dreilinger url: https://durak.org/sean/pubs/internet-interfaces/node4.php