RE: For the love of spreadsheets

Subject: RE: For the love of spreadsheets
From: <mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com>
To: "'Cardimon, Craig'" <ccardimon -at- M-S-G -dot- com>, "'TechWhirl'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 30 Mar 2016 08:44:56 -0400

I feel your pain. I have no love for spreadsheets either.

My theory is this: most people will take awkwardness over complexity most of
the time. Or, to put it another way, people will choose conceptual ease of
use over practical ease of use every time. Or to put it another way, don't
make me think.

A spreadsheet provides a ready-made grid layout. You don't have to do
anything to create the grid. You just plop things in where you want them and
move them around if you need to. It is awkward and time consuming compared
to a normal word processing document most of the time, and the result is
much harder to read and navigate, but you don't have to know anything about
page layout tools to place stuff where you want it.

I see all kinds of cases were people choose to do the awkward time consuming
thing rather than the simple elegant thing if the simple elegant thing
requires even a little bit of learning, particularly if that learning
involves even a little bit of abstraction. Most people are extraordinarily
concrete in their thinking, something I think it is very easy to forget when
you work in tech. (It does seem to have been the key thing that Steve Jobs
understood. I think it is what he meant by saying things should just work --
things should require no thought, particularly no abstract thought. Thus the
skeuomorphic interface.)

The amount of abstraction required to use page layout tools in a word
processor rather than the ready-made grid may seem very small. But that is
the curse of knowledge. Once you get it, it is very small. But when you
don't its huge, scary, and the kind of mental effort people naturally shy
away from.

Mark

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+mbaker=analecta -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+mbaker=analecta -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf
Of Cardimon, Craig
Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2016 8:14 AM
To: 'TechWhirl (techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com)'
Cc: Cardimon, Craig
Subject: For the love of spreadsheets

Morning, Whirlers!

Why do some people love spreadsheets so much? I rarely use them at all.

I am doing a project where some analysis is called for, which I did. I wrote
an executive summary. I put all the information I discovered into a Google
Drive document, because it didn't need a spreadsheet, and shared it with the
person with whom I am working.

The response was basically, "That's great, but can I have it in a
spreadsheet?"

So what's the deal with spreadsheets?

Cordially,
Craig Cardimon | Senior Technical Writer



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For the love of spreadsheets: From: Cardimon, Craig

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