Re: Question about Programmers and Usability -Reply

Subject: Re: Question about Programmers and Usability -Reply
From: Penny Staples <pstaples -at- AIRWIRE -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 26 Feb 1998 08:26:00 -0600

Carol Van Natta wrote:

> 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).

I don't think lack of imagination is the problem, at least, not
in my experience. With few exceptions, the programmers and
engineers I've worked with have been highly imaginative and
creative people. (Lots of 'em seem to be musicians in their spare
time; anyone else notice this?)

My Pet Theory:
I think the whole developer/useability problem has more
to do with familiarity and point of view. Programmers are
intimately familiar with how computers, programming languages
and programs work. They look at problems based on what
will work most efficiently given a particular programming
language and platform. And I think this is necessary.
Unfortunately it means many have a hard time considering
their work from the point of view of a user who knows none
of this.

This is why companies need Technical Writers. We have
a different perspective from the programmers that allows us
to look at things from a user's point of view.

Penny Staples
pstaples -at- airwire -dot- com

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