Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Mac user experience

From Humanized, a blog post by Atul Varma on what it's like to plug a USB keyboard and USB mouse into a Windows machine and a Mac. Here's Windows:

Each wizard required 3 clicks to get through. I had to go through 8 wizards in all, so that's a grand total of twenty-four clicks required to unplug my keyboard and mouse from one side of my computer and plug them into the other side. I'm not actually installing brand-new hardware here.
Now the Mac:
The first time I had to plug this keyboard and mouse into my Mac, I was floored. In the best-case scenario, I expected it to think for a second or two and then give me a reasonably unintrusive message informing me that I could use my USB mouse and keyboard. That would have been pretty humane.

But it did one better.

The Mac didn't tell me anything, because my mouse and keyboard just worked the moment I plugged them in. When you plug in a power cable or a pair of headphones into a computer, you don't get some kind of confirmation message from your operating system, because it's obviously supposed to just work — why should plugging in a USB keyboard and mouse be any different?
I'm planning to read these paragraphs aloud the next time I'm waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for a classroom Windows computer to detect my USB flash drive and tell me that it's ready to use.

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