Question about Programmers and Usability

Subject: Question about Programmers and Usability
From: Suzanne Townsend <ac158 -at- CHEBUCTO -dot- NS -dot- CA>
Date: Wed, 25 Feb 1998 20:42:15 -0400

Dear all,

I've been getting techwr-l for a few years. Over this time, again and
again the theme of our subjects is usability: how to make it easy for
someone to use a tool, do a task, etc. This theme is repeated on other
lists I get (winhelp, robohelp, editors, etc.).

In tandem with the theme of usability is the one of how to get (or help)
programmers to communicate (to the user, to us...) -- and the general
tone is that, in effect, programmers really don't care about the end
user's "experience" of the software.

If this is true, it occurs to me to wonder, WHY are programmers
disinterested in usability? It seems to me that both tech writers and
programmers do the same thing (more and more, with online help and
web-based help, for example). Yet "we" spend all this time trying to
figure out how to make things easier for the user, and complaining about
how the programmers could care less. I can't figure it out. Why aren't they
concerned with making software easy to use? Do they really spend no time
thinking about it, learning about it, discussing usability issues with
their peers? Or is this perception a fallacy?

Scratchin my head,

Suzanne Townsend <ac158 -at- chebucto -dot- ns -dot- ca>


Roncaism of the Week [(c) 1998 P. Ronca]:
I'm at the edge of my rope.


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