One think tool or many?

Initiated by Magdalena, the group mentioned in my last posting started a discussion (in German) about whether

  • one think tool is required for everyone and everthing (standard), or if
  • many different tools are better (personalization).

I think that one single tool is not sufficient for the users’ different cognitive styles, but probably there are not that many of them needed, either – perhaps just two. Often, preferences dissociate into two different, equally sized, camps, like right-brainers vs. left-brainers.Therefore, the usual issues of software vendors’ power structures and of majority needs vs. minority (such as right-handed vs. left-handed), do not apply. And the usual issues of effective deployment of developer forces are not so important here, either, since the one optimal solution that was just waiting for being programmed into the one powerful tool, does not exist.

The big issue is which choices to combine (see my #100), and which is the most relevant choice of cognitive styles. If I should make a bet, I would speculate that it has something to do with the tolerance level of how much context may be hidden and how much of it may be put downwards in the click hierarchy.

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