[Design] [Proposal] What is Chandler supposed to do anyway?
Phillip J. Eby
pje at telecommunity.com
Sat Dec 8 15:59:09 PST 2007
At 03:21 PM 12/8/2007 -0800, Heikki Toivonen wrote:
>On the other hand, it would also be confusing to use a well understood
>existing concept to do something that it is not supposed to do. New
>concepts require new terms.
I think that the OP's point was that usefulness does not necessarily
require (or deserve) new concepts. :)
To put it another way, users bring their own mental "baggage" of how
to accomplish things. Even if in principle another way is "better",
it has to be enough "better" to overcome the unfamiliarity. If the
difference is merely an incremental improvement, then the payoff for
the user isn't worth the cost of having to *think*.
And yes, I mean that in all seriousness. Software making one *think*
is not generally a positive user experience, because it means the
user is spending time thinking about the software instead of
advancing their own goals.
If we have to make someone think, it shouldn't be about what the
difference between "dashboard" and "all" is, or how/why the "triage"
button is different from sorting on the triage status column -- or
why it's called "triage" instead of, say "status". At least, not
without some clear/concrete benefits associated with it.
As things have worked out, Chandler's USP *isn't* GTD or triage; it's
small-group collaboration via email or the hosted hub. Terms and
concepts that advance goals in those areas are inherently more useful
than those that only reflect incremental differences from comparable
PIMs or calendaring tools -- and sometimes *decremental*
differences. (i.e., no sense using new terms to draw attention to
From this standpoint, however, I think that "collection" is a fine
word, because of sharing -- which is part of the USP. If you use hub
sharing, then you share collections, not "tags". Category isn't a
bad word, but it's not particularly concrete. (If we didn't use
"collection", I think we would have to use some other concrete noun
such as "folder" or "container".)
Conversely, "triage" is not a win compared to words or phrases like
"Action", "Status", "When?", "Action Time", "When To-Do", and so
on. To a certain extent, we can't use some of these words because we
only have three statuses. So "Triage" masks this by saying, "well,
I'm not really a status." Only now, the user had to pay the ultimate
price of *thinking* about and *learning* something, only to find that
it doesn't do what he wanted anyway. At least if it was called
status he wouldn't have had to think about it before being disappointed. :)
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