User-Friendly Firewalling [Re: ZeroConf in Ubuntu Edgy]

John Nilsson john at
Thu Jul 6 06:04:20 BST 2006

On Wed, 2006-07-05 at 13:08 -0700, Micah J. Cowan wrote:
> the cited problem was that
> it would teach people to ignore the pop-up messages. I have not seen
> this to be true for Windows Firewall (though I'll admit poor experience
> in that area), but I really believe that, if someone is consistently
> ignoring helpful and well-written instructions, the problem really does
> exist outside of the physical computer.

I recognize the spirit of your argument, and I'll grant you that there
are instances where users aren't worth the effort, but if you KNOW that
the user will ignore your "warnings" than it is bad design to use that
kind of warnings.

As for your particular example:
It is a known fact that a when a sequence of actions is repeated for a
specific desired goal they will eventually become a single action. In
practice this mean that the action to press "Yes" to "are you
sure?"-dialogs WILL become physiologically impossible to suppress. It's
not a simple matter of ignoring warnings.

In any case I highly recommend that anyone with even a remote
possibility to be involved in usability design to read "The design of
everyday things" by Donald Norman.

It's my intention to sum up more parts of that book, and others, in one of these days. Meanwhile
the interested can have a peak at:


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