RE: Ideas in Motion

Subject: RE: Ideas in Motion
From: "Carnall, Jane" <Jane -dot- Carnall -at- compaq -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 13:38:11 -0000

>Mike Starr wrote:
| But my original question remains: what redesign of anything did Microsoft
| do as a result of the user dragging the mouse down the table leg (which
| pointed out as an example of the value of usability testing)??? I'd be
| willing to bet they did nothing.
>>Stephen Arrants wrote:
>>If I remember correctly (this WAS over 15 years ago), it wasn't a table
>>The user ran the mouse over the computer screen. We redid the
>>and added a "game" to familiarize users with mouse functions and usage.

I remember that too, Stephen: the perfect example of how something "obvious"
is not necessarily obvious to someone completely unfamiliar with it.
Remember that scene in STIV: The Voyage Home, where Mr Scott sits down in
front of the 20th century computer and says "Hello, computer!" The 20th
century geek points at the mouse, looking embarrassed, and Mr Scott says
"Ah!", picks up the mouse, and says, again, "Hello computer!" (A keyboard.
'Tis quaint.)

Aren't we all shouting in agreement? Usability tests are great: when
companies want to spend time on them. All too often, they don't. Competition
in the marketplace isn't the best way of producing the best product: it just
favours the most ruthless competitors, and in the specific case of "got to
produce something good for the trade show this quarter", the companies who
are happy to do anything to get the product out on time. (Never mind *good*:
we want it *Tuesday*.)

Jane Carnall
Technical Writer, Compaq, UK
Unless stated otherwise, these opinions are mine, and mine alone.

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