Re: Question about Programmers and Usability

Subject: Re: Question about Programmers and Usability
From: Sella Rush <SellaR -at- APPTECHSYS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 25 Feb 1998 19:15:44 -0800

I recently read a wonderful little philosophical book written by a
software engineer called "Close to the machine" by I can't remember who
right now (but it came out pretty recently). In the first chapter the
author talks about the mind shift programmers must undergo to translate
user needs and expectations into coded programs. She describes going
from a meeting with future users of an AIDS medical care database to
discussions with her programming team, and how the focus changes so
radically from the big picture to what she calls the "code zone". I
won't repeat it all here, go get the book and read it.

But in light of Suzanne's question, it makes me wonder. Aside from the
fact that we do love to condense all programmers to some moronic social
state, given the fact that they're all so insufferably arrogant that we
have to harp on something we're better at (grin). But I wonder if their
seeming obtuseness is simply because we tend to talk to them late in the
process. By the time we're trying to document the app, they're long
past the design phase and are deep in the code zone. They're long past
thinking about *why* they're doing something--the focus is now all on
*how*. And maybe they've been given little reason to make the journey
back to *why*.

On the other hand, maybe they just respect us so darn much they expect
us to know what the hell they're talking about.

Anyone else read "Close to the Machine"?
Sella Rush
mailto:sellar -at- apptechsys -dot- com
Applied Technical Systems, Inc. (ATS)
Bremerton, Washington USA
Developers of the CCM Database

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