I’ve been thinking about customization some more…and I can’t decide whether it is good or bad. Which is stupid because nothing is truly either good or bad…it’s all shades of grey, or in the case of this Web site, shades of yellow. I’m totally in favor of customization if it benefits the user somehow: if it helps them understand the application better, if they can increase the type size to help them read better, if they can complete their tasks faster; if they can get more joy out of their MP3 player by staring at Britney Spears’ breasts when they’re working the controls (if you know what I’m saying).
On the other hand, you’ve got applications like Mozilla where the interface to the application could conceivably be different on each site that you visit. I mean, good God, do we really need that? Is that helpful to me? I already have to learn a different interface for each site on the Web…and now I need to relearn the application with which I am browsing the site? Um, no thank you.
I don’t know, I’m having a hard time on what to think about all of this. On the one hand, it’s nice giving people what they want (e.g. the Burger King “have it your way”), but then I think that with some things, Joe User isn’t going to come up with a better way to do things than a good designer (would you want people designing their own hammers or circular saws?). Mark me down as undecided for now.
I know, I know. My metaphors suck. In fact, that should be the new tag line of this site: “kottke.org: home of crappy metaphors”.