The shopping metaphor
Let's look first at the online shopping metaphor:
- You go into a store and pick up a basket.
- You walk round the store and put whatever you need into the basket.
- You take the basket to the checkout and pay for your purchases.
There's nothing difficult about that.
Here's another metaphor as used by some of the catalog stores:
- You go into the store and find a catalog and order slip.
- You go through the catalog and write down the reference number of items you want on the order slip.
- You take the order slip to the checkout and pay.
- You pick-up your goods from the collection point.
So, why is it that, with the 'help' of a computer and dedicated programs, it is so much more difficult?
What has happened is that the programmers have analysed the processes and broken them down into steps - and left them broken down. The result is that you get one step per screen, a tedious wait, and then another step and another wait. If you are buying just one item, it is bad enough. If you are buying a list of items it gets extremely annoying.