The principle of least astonishment

Another post written mostly on the train, so apologies in advance for any dodgy formatting! I’ve still got a bit to learn about the mobile version.

I find my Twitterfeed an absolute mine of useful, useless, strange and wonderful information. So I was delighted yesterday, on following links from this post by Wikipedian @wittylama:

“Where the Public Domain starts should not be where common courtesy ends. See: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:U… #glamwiki #Commons #PublicDomain #PD
Twitter for iPad • 7/06/11 5:06 PM

to come across “the principle of least astonishment”. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_least_astonishment

“The POLA states that, when two elements of an interface conflict, or are ambiguous, the behaviour should be that which will least surprise the user”

I think this principle holds good way beyond software design (restaurant meal descriptions spring to mind), however we should also leave room for some surprises in our lives!

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One Response to “The principle of least astonishment”

  1. On the Stanford Integrated Digital Library Project « Domestic Blend Says:

    […] harks back to the Principle of least astonishment  – do library catalogue clients get results that are relevant to their search terms? Given that […]

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