Hi Damien,
You definitely have a good point there. However, as a software
developer myself I know  one way we keep ourselves in business, make
our money, is simply by revamping our existing software products to
have a completely new look and feel along with a handful of bug fixes
and perhaps a new feature or two. That way we make an older piece of
software seam new and completely different than the last release. I
know from an accessibility standpoint this is often frustrating, but
that's economic reality for a software developer though.
For example, let's take a product like Microsoft Office.  At the heart
of it the basic features of Word, Excel, Access, Powerpoint, and
Outlook haven't changed in years. In terms of those appplications
Office 2007 isn't really that much different than 2003. However,
Microsoft has totally revamped the user interface for all of their
flagship applications by removing the triditional menu bars and adding
the newer menu ribbins popular in newer Windows apps.  Initially this
did cause some accessibility hastles, but now with Window eyes 7.2 at
least i find Office 2007 fairly accessible and I don't really miss the
pull down menus as much as I use to. However, it certainly was a major
change  from previous releases. That said as I updated to Office 2007
when I got my new laptop in 2008 I see no compelling reason to buy
Office 2010 as there is really nothing new that 2007 doesn't already
do for me personally.
Another reason we change the user interface is sometimes it really is
better. When it comes to something like Windows 7's new start menu
from a visual point of view it is much nicer. You have the menu split
into columns and you have your popular apps, search bar, etc in one
column, all programs button, etc in the center and then your Computer,
Documents, Help, Run, and other icons on the last column. This is
visually much nicer and functionally easier for a mainstream user
using a mouse. For us, of course, there is a lot mor tabgbing around
to find things as we can't just drag the pointer over and click on it.
It doesn't make things less accessible but just requires more
keyboarding to find things. However, from an economic point of view
once again such a setup will get people to buy/upgrade as it visually
looks nicer and is a bit easier for someone using a mouse. That's what
sells software cds, and when you create software for a living you tend
to do whatever makes the most money.
Basicly, what I am talking about is a marketing tactic called
perceived obsolescence. It is a tactic designed to take an old product
be it a computer, microwave,  software, television, whatever and make
it look like a brand new product.  A computer manufacturer might
release a computer in a certain style of case, and six months later
release the same computer, with a cheaper price tag, but a totally new
case that looks more modern somehow. Software developers do exactly
the same thing. Microsoft puts out Office 2003 in 2003 and in 2007
releases a brand new version that really isn't that much different
than the version you have but the new interface etc makes the older
version of Microsoft Office appear obsolete even though it really is
not as obsolete as they would have you believe.


On 7/7/10, Damien Pendleton <dam...@x-sight-interactive.net> wrote:
> Hi,
> If support will not be continued for old software then I at least wish that
> developers didn't continually update the user interface to something that a
> regular user has to start exploring all over again as if he were a beginner.
> There are some pieces of software that I point blank refuse to update for
> that reason. Because when I do, the interface is so different, the menus
> restructured, the main window revamped and so prettied up that it's no
> longer usable except with bags of time to work out how to use it the way you
> used to and heavily modifying scripts to make it as accessible as last time,
> etc, etc.
> Oh, and let's not forget some unnamed software that insist, or at least used
> to insist, on placing stupid advertisements on an html side bar on the main
> screen that you conveniently couldn't get rid of.
> That's why with most of the software I use, I am at least two or more
> versions behind the current release.
> Regards,
> Damien.

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