• Subject: Re: GUI
  • From: email@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (James W Kilgore)
  • Date: Tue, 02 Mar 1999 03:01:43 -0800
  • Organization: Progressive Data Systems, Inc.


For the "heads down" folks, we just took the mouse.  There is always
some casual user that needs a new one because theirs got gummed up with
too much dust. :-)

Tab, arrow, arrow, arrow, enter, sign on, stay on, sign off, go home.

No mouse required, non offered.

Personally I've seen an office staff double to handle the workload under
a gimp interface.  Sure did look good.  Made it easy for the new
people.  Pain in the A** for anyone there more than 30 days that wanted
to get their job done.  Had to remind the newbies that they could
actually -PRESS- F3 instead of pointing to it and clicking.

Since they put the mouse w-a-a-a-y out of reach and had to s-t-r-e-t-c-h
to get it, shake it once or twice to find out where the pointer was at,
roll, pick up and roll again, (like a wind up toy) and carefully slow
down the closer you get and then click! voila ... 5 seconds to make a
single key stroke!

Now -THAT'S- progress!

Isn't data entry measured by keystrokes/hour anymore?  Must have
converted to CPW.  Of course the "unconstrained" rating has to be green.

OK, so now that I've had my fun I'll talk up the good points.

Let's take an application suite and an explorer interface.  The left
window would list applications (authorized by user) with boxed + signs
to indicate "more". Click the + box on, let's say Payroll, and a list of
subjects may appear (employees, deductions, accruals, tax tables, etc.),
click the subject you desire (like "Employee") and General Information,
Pay-to, Assigned deductions, Earnings history, Pay history, etc. may
appear on the right window.

At this point, like Operations Navigator, you have replaced the menu
function.  Beyond that, a "green screen" function may suffice your
application requirements.  Finding it is the half the battle of using

IMHO, a gimp interface is perfect for "after the fact" data extraction
and infrequent access, but is not the appropriate tool for data entry
beyond program loading.  Neither GUI nor green is "wrong", no more than
using a sledge hammer is "wrong".  Unless, of course, you are trying to
use it to hang a picture.  Inappropriate is the word that comes to mind.

We can "have it all".  The best of both worlds.  In their proper place. 
Now "proper" is the point of lively debate! :-)  Does a drop down box
replace F4 or is it just different? Modern? (whatever that means)

Heck, I'm on a roll now so I might as well pick on Dean. ;-)

Now, Dean, if I recall, you have been very pleased with the 5250
enhanced subfile scroll bar.  This is a nice GUI concession, but let me
ask you, just out of curiosity, have you studied how many people park on
the arrow down, hypnotized by the scrolling subfile, vs the "page down"
bangers, or "position to" users?  What is the average time (cost), by
method, to obtain the desired entry?

Actually, I'm not really picking on you Dean, it's just that you have
posted a couple of kudos' for the enhanced 5250 display so I'm just
using it as a point of discussion for GUI importance. IMHO, give a user
a slower method, they will use it.  Sort of like a job expands to the
time allotted, junk accumulates to the size of your garage, etc.

As an old student of time/motion studies for increased efficiency and
also a student of marketing, the struggle with GUI vs green will
probably be a never ending balancing act.  Being German born, I have to
admit that efficiency votes 51%.

James W. Kilgore

P.S. In dealing with the pure capitalists, we count 20 users doing 200
lookups, each, per day, at 2 seconds each occurrence, for 250 days per
year, at a national average labor cost per hour equals $8,000 per year,
total, compared to the training costs for a pure green environment and
cost of GUI development.  Of course if you have 200 users, doing 400
lookups each the math totally changes.
Somewhere between number of users, number of lookups per day, labor
rate, response time by method, turnover, training cost, etc. GUI
justifies itself. Maybe.
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