Re: Stupid Word question

Subject: Re: Stupid Word question
From: "Chuck Martin" <cm -at- writeforyou -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 2004 11:06:46 -0700

<kcronin -at- daleen -dot- com> wrote in message news:235410 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-
> I should know this, but I don't:
> Why is it that for some Word docs, I'll make some changes, save the doc,
> and close it, and even though I just saved it, I'll get a popup asking me
> "Do you want to save the changes you made to
> Keiths_Global_Domination_Plan.doc"?
> Yet for other docs, I'll go through the same steps, save the doc, and when
> I close it, it just closes, with no last popup prompt?
I should point out that this is an example of design from a programmer's
perspective, which is most decidedly not the users' perspective. You're not
the only one who has had this experience, probably not more than mildly
frustrating (or puzzling), but most users simply accept the frustration as
the "cost of business" with the computer.

It doesn't have to be that way.

I am sure there will be cries of "But a field update was done so the
document changed and mist be saved and uses need to have that option." Or
whatever happened under the covers to make the document file "dirty."


As Alan Cooper would point out in his excellent book "About Face," users
absolutely do not need to know that the system has changed in instances such
as these. In this example, you made no overt change to the document. You
would expect that when you close it, it closes. No questions asked. If
something internal changed, fine. Save the change. It won't matter from s
user perspective. But don't annoy the user with the system.

Oh, let's look at the ubiquitous edge case, the case that takes a
disproportional amount of a programmer's time. Let's say that the system
change was unwanted by the user, and when they open the document and
discover the system change, it is unwanted.


Yes, it *can* be done. That is probably is not is again the fault of the
system designer. But it's easier (and cheaper) to design and program a
system that annoys users rather than meeting their expectations and making
it easy to reach their goals.


Chuck Martin
User Assistance & Experience Engineer
twriter "at" sonic "dot" net

"I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. The day
may come when the courage of Men fail, when we forsake our friends and
break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day! This day, we fight!"
- Aragorn

"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given you."
- Gandalf



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