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User Interface Design for Programmers by JOEL SPOLSKY

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CHAPTER9PeopleCan't Read

When you design user interfaces, it's a good idea to keep two principles in mind:

  1. Users don't have the manual, and if they did, they wouldn't read it.
  2. In fact, users can't read anything, and if they could, they wouldn't want to.

These are not, strictly speaking, facts, but you should act as if they are facts, for it will make your program easier and friendlier.

Users don't read the manual.

First of all, they may not actually have the manual. There may not be a manual. If there is one, the user might not have it for all kinds of logical reasons: they're on a plane; they're using a downloaded demo version from your Web site; they're at the beach and the manual is at work; their IS department never gave them the manual. ...

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