Skins make bad user experience

about 5 years ago, one of the things that I thought was really cool about Linux was the fact that you could use all these different skins that look different and have different key-bindings etc.

Then after about 1 year of playing around, getting a really nice desktop and getting used to my specialised key-bindings and skins,  I would move to a different linux OS, or install or whatever, and have to re-configure the whole goddamn machine from the ground up. Then I’d hop onto someone els’es machine, and everything would be rediculously different. It got to a point where I got so sick of tweaking the skin/keybindings etc. that I wouldnt change anything … I’d just use everything out of the box. roblem with that is that the out-of the box skins are pretty bad.

Which is why I think restricting the customisation of interfaces is actually a huge advantage. Dont make it customaisable! …. then it is the same for everyone, there can be consistency between the OS and the app (look and feel, key bindings etc.), you dont waste countless hours installing an X window manager that has the buttons you want on each window, and when you move to a different machine, you dont have to shift all your habits.

Its the same but even more so for websites.  Sure there’s logos and some colours and stuff that have to reflect the identity of the site… but people visits dozens of web sites everyday, each with their own way of doing things …

It puts a lump in my stmach when the company I work for insists on expending weeks and weeks of resources making every nook and cranny of our web-app highly skinable. “its what the customers want”.  Corporate mentality has this culture of giving customers what they want even if the customers dont realise that what they want is not good for them.

Its a mug’s game…. as long as you can pull in the money, anything goes.

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