Mon, August 05, 2002

It’s a Pac-Man world

Yes! Somebody made a T-shirt showing the Pac-Man arcade game crashing after someone has played a perfect game of Pac-Man eating every dot and ghost and completing all 256 boards. I want one. It would be an almost perfect (hey, my game play isn’t quite that good) way to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the World’s Fair in Knoxville. Why do I mention the World’s Fair? Well, the biggest thing I remember from it is that Pac-Man was everywhere. There was a special arcade set up and of course people were selling Pac-Man paraphernalia.

Inductive User Interface

Technical writers can make a tremendous difference in the quality of a product if they are allowed to provide feedback early enough in the process. Apparently Microsoft is making this more official with their new UI guidelines for their inductive design. Fascinating. I have noticed that web interfaces are influencing traditional software interfaces. It seems to be a good idea when this involves embedding help text (tips, hints, short instructions) right in the interface, especially since no one reads the documentation. Writers are quite sensitive to complications in the UI even when they cannot suggest a good way to solve the problem. At the least, they tend to write things that make more sense than the typical programmer-speak.