I've just sent a complaint letter to C.P., the train transportation company here in Portugal. My issue was with the way they handle the elevator on a overhanging passage to get from one side of the track to the other.

Here's the thing. We enter the elevator and we have fours buttons; "0", "1", "Open" and "Close".

So, currently, if a person is on the zero floor and enter the elevator, first it has to wait for too long, then door closes, and then, it just sits there... waiting for the user to press the obvious "1" button so that the elevator can continue its route to the only available course of action to take in this circumstances.

Also, why do I need to press the "Close" button when starring at an open door of an elevator? Why can't it just be a "Door" button there? If its "Open", it closes and the other way around. Simple. Effective.

We can even take into consideration an emergency open action, in that case, the same button still applies, if the doors are closing then by pressing the same button they, logically, should just open.

So, in essence we really just need ONE BUTTON. I'm on the zero floor, I enter, press the button, the door closes and moves to the first floor, doors opens. All this is transparent to me and I'm happy. But this is not the way its working now, I'm painfully aware of the deficiency in the system.

Why is this so? Why do we need all these buttons on a two floor elevator? This is a binary problem, if its not one, its the other. Why do these details go unnoticed?

This is a clear example that good design is sometimes, obvious... when its already done.

Apple is a tremendous example here, we now have multi-touch screen all over the place showing up in ever grandiose experiments in social delight, but not all of them are working examples of greatness, and even so, they're only there because a company stood up and took it upon themselves to reinvent history.

What are you doing today that is over-zealous and with too much thinking and/or process intensive? What can you do today to do KISS the popularity it deserves?

Humans tend to over-analyze things too much and sometimes they just end up with over-implementation and under-design. They don't think well, they think too much and then, display this dumb notion of effectiveness by coming up with elaborate mechanisms that just contribute more to the problem instead of re-imagining it.

The cycle continues, so that in the end; when its all told, said and done in the history annals, someone will go, look at it, and say; "Duh, of course!".

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2 Reply to "The KISS of Interface Programming"

Vitor Fonseca on July 30, 2009 at 4:03 PM

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Vitor Fonseca on July 30, 2009 at 4:04 PM

People when faced with a problem always try the most complex solution, this is the nature of the beast, we are simply plain stupid. Usually the solution is so complex that will fail to perform perfectly the task it was designed for.
Thinking out of the box, putting aside the common ways and finding the simplest and more efficient solution is the way to go.


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