On Sat, 17 Aug 2002, Russ Allbery <email@example.com> wrote
>But I think you've completely missed my point, as stated in my previous
>message. The ideal archives have the same interface as *the user's e-mail
>client* but with searching. And by "the user's e-mail client," I mean
>exactly that. If they use Eudora, it should look like Eudora. If they
>use Outlook, it should look like Outlook. If they use Pine, it should
>look like Pine. Because that's the interface they already know how to use
>and are comfortable with.
>If you have *any* other interface, you're making the user learn something
>new, and you're going to disenfranchise at least some of the least
>computer-savvy in your audience.
Here I have to disagree. Most users know how to use the web. It's not
new to them, it's the basics of their Internet experience. A significant
proportion even use it to read their mail via Hotmail or similar webmail
Most users, IME, haven't got a clue how to configure their mail client.
They buy a PC with Outlook Express already installed, sign up for an
account with some ISP who has a script to configure OE for them and
that's it. Try and get them to configure their client to access a read
only IMAP folder somewhere and, well, forget it.
I used to archive a list using NNTP. The list is not for computer
techies or net savvy people and as far as I could tell only two
subscribers ever worked out how to access the archive. Now that it's web
based it is very much more widely used. Sure, there are plenty of
problems with a web based archive, but the ability of users to work out
how to use it is not one of them. I certainly wouldn't recommend the web
archive as a way to read the list - best way to do that is subscribe.
But as a way to search for info on some obscure topic that was covered
on the list two years before you knew you were interested in it it works