Bachelor of Science
Will Briggs, PhD
Barry Lobb, PhD
Nancy Cowden, PhD
This thesis explores both deprecated and current Operating Systems to understand the changes of user interfaces. By comparing older and more flawed Operating Systems interfaces, I intend to demonstrate how user-friendliness has come to the forefront of OS design. However, by building more user-friendly interfaces, the functionality and power of the older designs, while often misused, has been lost. Systems design restricts user access to such functionality because it might damage the system. It is a sensible precaution for users unaware of the effects of certain actions. However, this thesis will argue that for trained and educated users of the system interface modern, user-friendly design limits what users could do with the system. The thesis also includes other examples besides Operating Systems interfaces; similar functionality restriction can be seen in programming languages. C++ required users to allocate their own memory and subsequently delete the allocated memory. If not, errors occurred resulting in bugs of the program. Modern languages like Java and C# have eliminated the necessity for users to manually allocate and delete memory, instead opting for having automatic memory handling. Similarly, C++ pointers were not maintained onto the later dot net (.NET) languages. Overall, this thesis will explore if these changes have been good for the users as well as the programmers. This thesis will attempt to explain why simply educating users about systems, instead of removing useful tools in fear of user error, will make technology better for everyone.
Short, Cameron, "How User-Friendly Operating Systems and Interfaces Make Technology Harder for Everyone" (2020). Undergraduate Theses and Capstone Projects. 181.