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User Interface Design for Programmers by JOEL SPOLSKY

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CHAPTER11People Can'tRemember

One of the early principles of GUI interfaces was that you shouldn't ask people to remember things that the computer could remember. In the really, really old days of command-line interfaces, if you wanted to open a file, you had to type its name (see Figure 11-1).

FIGURE 11-1

image Opening a file the command-line way. You have to remember that "xv" is the command that displays a picture, and you have to remember the file name.

The classic example of not relying on people's memory is the Open File dialog box, which shows people a list of files rather than asking them to recall and type the exact file name. People ...

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