[R] R GUI For Which User?

Zed A. Shaw zedshaw at zedshaw.com
Wed Jul 10 22:30:06 CEST 2002

Hi All,

I've been staying out of this discussion as I'm too busy actually
implementing the GUI to argue over toolkits and languages or whether making
things easy for people ruins their education.  As a *student* I can tell you
that you are dead wrong if you think making something difficult makes it
easier to learn.  The statement itself is just absurd.  As a researcher in
Human Computer Interfaces and Educational Technology, I can tell you that
you are wrong if you think making interfaces harder makes people smarter.

What I find strange is how everyone on this list is most likely using R to
do empirical research, and not single person has offered any empirical
evidence to support their claims as to what makes a usable interface for
students.  Practice what you preach!  If you claim that "students do not
learn with a GUI", then back it up with some research.

I guarantee that if you actually did some surveys and experimentation, you'd
find that you really don't understand student's needs.  Based on my
experiences as a student, I can tell you point blank that the worst
professors are the ones who know nothing about their students.  Likewise,
the worst computer programs are the ones designed by programmers who know
nothing about their users.  I intend to build a GUI that focuses on what
students need, not on what professors think students need.

Now, with that said, I'm going back to work.  Hopefully, with all these
great *researchers* in here, I'll start seeing some *evidence* supporting
what works in an R user interface.

Zed A. Shaw
University of British Columbia

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