Most people are not aware of too many things, ..., and aren't remotely interested in learning anything outside of their world view.
Steve Jobs came to this realisation many years ago and the Mac and its spawn are the highly successful result. 99% of computer users want to use a computing appliance (i.e., something like an iPad where even the applications are controlled). They have no inclination or interest in making efficient use of the device.
Take this thinking into another realm: automobile driving. Almost everyone on the road is an incompetent driver. They don't know the basic rules of the road, don't understand how their driving impacts those around them, and—frankly—they don't give a damn. They also don't have the first clue how their car works; nor, do they care.
While an appliance, like an automobile, should be usable without knowing how it functions, the reality is that a basic understanding of how something works often enables much more efficient (and more enjoyable) use of the appliance. By way of an example:
- In an luxury car, the heating/cooling system is controlled by setting a desired temperature; the car then does the right thing.
- On a cold winter day, when most drivers of these cars start their vehicle, they immediately turn up the temperature control to its highest setting in the belief that this will cause the interior of the car to more quickly warm up.
- Their actions accomplish nothing, and if they had even a basic understanding that the motor must warm up before the heating system will be able to blow warm air, they might use the system in a rational manner.
Microsoft, in attempting to emulate Apple, has begun to make similar design decisions—probably, without understanding the “why” of the design approach. MS Office 2007 introduced the ribbon and a cursor pop-up menu; both of which override keyboard shortcuts. Most tasks now take 2 or 3 times as many mouse clicks or keystrokes to perform. For anyone attempting to make efficient use of MS Office, this is highly frustrating; but, most users don’t even notice the loss of productivity because they were never productive in the first place.
Most users are dumb as nails and like that state of being. Application and computing appliance designers need to realise this and design to it. That said, there is no reason that us geeks can’t also include efficient UI interaction mechanisms alongside mechanisms for the masses.