Yiou Michael Zhang

Art by Ron Spencer

Email Address: mz_zhang123 (*at*) hotmail (*dot*) com
Directory ID: yzhang1
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An interface I do like is the interface of Microsoft Paint, a program for making and editing simple images:

external image paintscreen.gif

While Paint is certainly not a tool for advanced image-making or the creation of fine art, it is a very effective tool for doing exactly what I need it to do: simple, everyday tasks involving images, including cropping, resizing, minor editing, and recoloring. A more complex tool like Adobe Photoshop is certainly more powerful, but its complexity is a flaw when it becomes a lot harder for me to perform a simple task like pasting in a screenshot and cropping the window to only include the parts I need. Sometimes, simplicity in a tool is more desirable than power, and Paint is exemplary in that department.

An interface I despise, on the other hand, is that of Emacs on Linux, a tool apparently meant to help you write documents:

external image emacs.png

I had the misfortune of being forced to use Emacs when I wrote programs for CMSC 313 last year, and that was definitely a lesson in frustration. I understand that it can be powerful and fast when you learn the keyboard shortcuts, but having to memorize keystrokes in order to even know how to exit the program is just horrible design. Doing pretty much anything besides just typing requires looking up key combinations online or some such, and sometimes the wrong keystroke can cause something strange and terrible to happen while you spend agonizing minutes trying to work out how to undo what you accidentally did. The worst part was probably all the times I accidentally exited the program when I pressed Ctrl + Z because of my undo reflex. It should not be necessary to memorize shortcuts in order to even write a text document, and it should not be so difficult for a new user to use a program like this.