[wp-hackers] 'cognitive load' Re: Putting the P in WordPress

andre at pixelplexus.co.za andre at pixelplexus.co.za
Wed Jul 7 06:43:47 UTC 2010

Aside, as a user I'm starting to feel just a little bit uncomfortable with
what's being implied about my capacity for 'cognitive load' ;-)

Suppose in the end its about finding a good balance between avoiding the
evils of design for the lowest-common-denominator on the one side, and the
holy grail of 'it just works' on the other.

> On 7/6/2010 6:37 PM, Mitch Canter wrote:
>> Just out of curiosity, what value would having a plugin to opt out (in
>> either case) vs. an option in the menu give.  I would think that the
>> server load the option generation would cause would be negligible, yet
>> the latter being more user-friendly to someone not schooled in the art
>> of / having no access to plugins.
> The core philosophy of WordPress is fairly anti-option. In Open Source
> software, in particular, arguments can get so heated and personal that
> in an effort to put out the fire many projects solve disagreements with
> options.
> While this may stop the argument, it does so at the expense of the user.
> (And ultimately the software.) It puts a cognitive load on the user to
> make a decision about something every time they visit or update that
> screen, the more esoteric or trivial the option, the more likely it is
> to confuse and confound everyone who comes across it.
> For a nightmare-inducing example of what happens when project leadership
> does not guard against this, study this screen from OpenOffice.org and
> realize there are 42 others just like it or worse in user-visible
> options panel:
> http://matt.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/open-office.png
> (42? Can't be a coincidence. :))
> --
> Matt Mullenweg
> http://ma.tt | http://wordpress.org | http://automattic.com
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