A CDE Definition
look and feel
The user interface of an operating system, application or Web page. The look refers to how logos, graphics, menus and other elements are laid out on the page. The feel refers to the interactions: the way menus are organized and the way functions are selected and performed (the "method of operation").
Copyright the Look, Not the Feel
There have been two landmark cases regarding the look and feel of software. In the late 1980s, Apple sued Microsoft, claiming that Windows copied the Mac OS look and feel. However, due to a previous licensing agreement between both companies, the case never resulted in a statute, and both parties settled.
In the mid-1990s, Lotus sued Borland, claiming that Borland's Quattro Pro spreadsheet emulated the look and feel of Lotus 1-2-3. Much to the woe of proprietary software vendors, the court decision resolved that although visual elements of the graphical user interface could be copyrighted, the method of operation (menus and functions) could not. See user interface.
The way a person interacts with a computer, tablet, smartphone or other electronic device. The user interface (UI) comprises the screen menus and icons, keyboard shortcuts, mouse and gesture movements, command language and online help, as well as physical buttons, dials and levers. Also included are the physical components, such as the mouse, keyboard, touchscreen, remote and game controllers.
The Bar Was Set Low
The user interface is the most important, yet least-understood area in the computer industry. Every application has only a handful of basic functions that users need all the time, yet they are often buried in arcane submenus that must be memorized. Worse yet, once bad examples are set by major vendors, others follow like sheep. Since popular applications are often hard to learn, users have come to expect that using software has to be difficult, when in fact, it could be downright simple if educated designers were involved. One shining light is the smartphone. Its small screen tends to force designers to think about usability more than ever, but sadly not all do (see good user interface).
Users Are Reluctant to Change
Because of the steep learning curves people have to endure, many are disinclined to change applications. While the software industry constantly touts "productivity gains" for every new product, the lost hours figuring out how to do something, combined with the gun-shy reluctance to actually try a different product that might really be an improvement often impede productivity.
Ask and Ye Shall Receive
Voice and natural language input and verbal output are increasingly standard components of the user interface, and they can be an enormous help. However, recognizing human speech and delivering the proper action is a daunting computational task. Sometimes the results people get are fraught with errors and downright laughable. Nevertheless, improvements are expected every year in this arena (see virtual assistant). See RTFM, user experience, naming fiascos, Freedman's law, flat design, Web rage, HCI and HMI.
It Can Change World History
Give Us A Break!
Read the Manual (RTFM)
Keep the Elevator Door Open
A Century of Experience Didn't Help
It Was 2013. Or Was It?
I Thought My Phone Was a Note II
Da Fup What??
OK. Bad Formula. But Where?
Even Worse for the Technician
Remotes Are No Exception
Before/After Your Search Term
|longitudinal redundancy check||lookup table|
|look & feel||loop carrier|
|look-ahead cache||loop plant|
Terms By Topic
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