Watching a YouTube video about Microsoft Bob left me wondering if one of the reasons why Bob failed was that it assumed that users, who may have been intimidated by a GUI when they first encountered one, would be intimidated for ever. That their level of skill will always remain one in which the GUI was scary and unusable, and their only success in using a computer is through applications like Bob.

That might be true for some, but I believe that such cases are a fewer representation of the userbase as a whole. If someone’s serious about getting the most out of their computer, even back then when the GUI was brand new, I can’t see how they wouldn’t naturally skill up, or at least want to.

I think that’s why I’m bothered by GUIs that sacrifice functionality in leau of “simplicity.” It might be helpful at the start, but pretty soon people would grow comfortable using your UI, and will hit against the artificial capabilities of the application sooner than you expect.

Not that I’m saying that all UIs should be as complex as Logic Pro for no reason: if the domain is simple, then keep it simple. But when deciding on the balance between simplicity and capability, perhaps have trust in your users’ abilities. If they’re motivated (and your UI design is decent) I’m sure they’ll be able to master something a little more complex.

At least, that’s what this non-UI designer believes.