Techies vs Usability vs. Porn

Subject: Techies vs Usability vs. Porn
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: Anthony Markatos <tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com>, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2000 19:57:59 -0800 (PST)

> I see WAY more Companies [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.

How then do you explain the thousands of positions available for programmers,
engineers, and network administrators. I did a quick scan of Headhunter.net.
There were over 19,000 jobs listed with the key word "programer" and six with
the word "usability" in the title. The need for techies far out weighs the need
for usability people.

Furthermore, how do you explain things like AOL, Windows 2000, and BlackICE
Defender (a plug for my client) which allow you to do things that 10 years ago
not even a supercomputer could have handled?

>
> 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.
>

Engineering and programming are very REAL problems. You should try to code an
enrollment system that must work against an Oracle DB with over 2.5 million
records and 17000 different objects via a 2nd tier minicomputer facilitating
mainframe data. That's a REAL problem! I'd like to see some usability
consultants solve that little humdinger.

Engineering (programming, cutting code, geek stuff) is intimately tied to
usability. You're trying to cut them apart when without one the other could
not exist.

A) A computer program can run, work, and sell without any usability analysis.
B) A usability analysis cannot exist without a computer program to analyze.

Just because you THINK employers need usability experts does not mean they want
them. This is a simple case of supply and demand. If people with usability
skills were wanted, then companies would hire them. Clearly the market has said
"usability is secondary to functionality."

Now, you might disagree with the market but doing so is like saying "how dare
the sun shine today." The market determines what is hot and what is not - you
either go along with it or it runs you over. This is why the pornography
business is one of the largest and most profitable industries in the world.
There is tremendous demand for porn despite the fact that so many people
complain about it. If porn was really, truly a problem in society - there
would be no porn. The fact is, people want porn so porn exists.

Likewise - people want cheap powerful computer stuff. You might hate the fact
that is is hard to use, but nobody cares. If usability were really, truly a
problem - companies would take more time to worry about it.

This actually brings up another point I like to make: if companies really,
truly valued tech comm - they would listen to tech writers. But, the market has
shown that this is a minor consideration. You can get all depressed about this
and stomp your feet at the Gods, but it won't change reality. Reality is - the
market decides you're just along for the ride.

So, as the Zen Masters might say, be like the trickling stream and go with the
flow. You cannot undo what nature has decided is so.

Andrew Plato
Porn Zen Master

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