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Subject:Hard to Revise a UI From:Nancy Allison <maker -at- verizon -dot- net> To:techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com Date:Mon, 09 Oct 2006 11:56:25 -0400
Hi, everyone. I'm trying to get to grips with a topic that's not clear
to me. In a nutshell, I'd like to be able to explain why it's a bad idea
for a company to develop a product's functions first, before thinking
about the user interface (or documentation).
For example, I know of a startup where the developers have created very
powerful functions, with the strangest user interface you have ever
seen. It is just plain bizarre. Functions have strange names; tools are
scattered around the interface in no discernible order; different
buttons lead to confusingly similar drop-down lists and directories,
with no clear indication of what you can or can't do in each area.
It's a geek's paradise, and a total mess. The lead developer said to me,
"Oh, we'll fix the UI later."
Even in less drastic situations, developers often think this. But, I
have heard that it may not be possible to completely redo a UI once the
software architecture is in place. This is what I would like to
understand, so that I can intelligently explain it, with examples.
So, folks, does anyone on this list know of a good example? Why would it
be difficult to revise a UI? What are the difficulties involved? Can
revising a UI actually break the functioning of the software? Can it
force the redevelopment of the underlying software? Thanks for any and