This paper investigated a normative theory that says computer users have different dialog needs depending on their level of experience in using a computer. It hypothesizes that the answer to satisfy the needs of a mixed population is to have multiple dialog modes that the user is free to choose from and switch between as required. The hypotheses that experts and novices would be more satisfied with multiple dialog modes than with just one mode were tested empirically in a controlled laboratory setting. Both novice and expert computer users used one of three types of user-system interfaces (menu, command language, or both modes) to solve the same database problem. Results showed that those with both types of dialog modes were more satisfied and performed better than the command language group. However, they were statistically equal to the menu group, while the menu group's satisfaction rating and performance scores were slightly better. It was concluded that the subject's choice of dialog mode, when both modes were available, and their satisfaction with a dialog mode have more to do with past experience and preference than with the difference in expert and novice problem solving strategies.