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ERIC Number: ED264838
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-May
Pages: 12
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
From Osborne to Macintosh.
Yeaman, Andrew R. J.
Recent improvements in the human factors elements incorporated in the design of personal computer interfaces are illustrated by detailed analyses of two microcomputers and their word processors (Osborne 1/WordStar and Apple's Macintosh/MacWrite). The vital steps in operation are described through analyses of the behavioral requirements involved in using each interface to create a document, save it on disk, and print it out. The hardware and software date from 1981 and 1984, respectively, and each has since received hardware improvements and software updates. Several differences between the Osborne 1/WordStar and Macintosh/MacWrite become apparent: (1) the opacity of the WordStar command-driven system, lightened by HELP menus, contrasts with the MacWrite system's invocation of a desktop as a mental model; (2) WordStar's Embedded Print Commands (EPC) contrast with MacWrite's What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG), in which the text appears on the screen just as it will print out; (3) Osborne's keyboard commands contrast with the Macintosh mouse-driven direct manipulation; (4) WordStar's somewhat haphazard menu organization contrasts with MacWrite's more orderly organization of menus; and (5) WordStar's command memorization through mnemonics contrasts with MacWrite's visual recognition. It is concluded that the three most important concepts in the cognitive engineering approach to system design are consistency, functionality, and friendliness (Norman, 1981), and that the Macintosh designers provide more consistency and functionality than the Osborne designers. (JB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A