Question about Programmers and Usability -Reply

Subject: Question about Programmers and Usability -Reply
From: Carol Van Natta <CVANNATT -at- ITC -dot- NRCS -dot- USDA -dot- GOV>
Date: Thu, 26 Feb 1998 06:35:42 -0700

My experience is that programmers DO care about usability,
it's just a failure of imagination on the programmer's part that
users aren't as fond of or as comfortable with computers.
(That, and the fact that making something more user friendly
usually takes more programming time and effort).

>>> Suzanne Townsend <ac158 -at- CHEBUCTO -dot- NS -dot- CA>
2/25/98 5:42 pm >>>
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
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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