re:Documentation vs. the interface?

Subject: re:Documentation vs. the interface?
From: Deborah McDaniel <DeborahM -at- captura -dot- com>
To: "'techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 09:18:34 -0800

Geoff Hart said:
<snip>"...Here's a slightly heretical opinion: forcing a user to resort to
online help
means that the user interface is a failure. Yes, that's an overly strong
statement..."</snip>

I do not consider that to be heretical in the least - I once silenced a room
of developers who brushed off my concerns about an impossible interface with
"For the user to go to help, they must admit failure. Nobody likes to do
that - and if they *have* to, then *we* have failed them."
This very strong statement led to a spirited discussion - and a much better
interface!
Alan Cooper addresses precisely this issue and makes several compelling
arguments against allowing programmers to design interfaces in his book "The
Inmates Are Running the Asylum." It's a quick, entertaining read - maybe a
good present to your management?

Deborah McDaniel
Technical Writer
Captura Software, Inc.
deborahm -at- captura -dot- com





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