Techies vs Usability

Subject: Techies vs Usability
From: "Anthony Markatos" <tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2000 18:32:43 PST

Andrew Plato said:

I see WAY more Company [lacking good techies than good usability people]. All of Silicon Valley, Portland, Phoenix, Dallas, and Seattle are Company A's. Now - maybe on the East cost it is all geeks, but I find that hard to believe.

Tony Markatos responds:

This is very interesting. I have always witnessed the opposite. (I have worked in LA, San Diego, and Cleveland.) Look at the current overall poor state of software usability - need I say more.

Andrew Plato said:

The world is full to the brim of analysts and people who worry about people.

Tony Markatos responds:

That might be true, but the fact remains that few can perform a rigorous end-user goal/task analysis.

Andrew Plato continues:

Yet, there is a terrible shortage of programmers, engineers, and code cutters.

Tony Markatos responds:

I am talking about real problems and what needs to be done to solve them, not what skills employers state they need. The two - and this is REAL unfortunate - have little in common.

Look at Tech Writer projects. The ones that I have seen fail failed because of poor end-user analysis and estimating. Yet, if you were to look at hundreds of on-line TW job listings (try www.dice.com) you will find that few ask for skills in either of these areas.

The most commonly asked for TW skills are for experience with the latest desk top publishing tools. Tech comm projects do not fail due to a lack of DTP skills!

Andrew Plato said:

User analysis is EASY and anybody can do it. This is why companies put little emphasis on it.

Tony Markatos:

If effective user analysis is easy, why is software so widely recognized as being very hard to use? Companies put little emphasis on end-user analysis because they know that they can not do it effectively.

Tony Markatos
(tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com)


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