Re: Question about Programmers and Usability

Subject: Re: Question about Programmers and Usability
From: "Susan L. Schneider" <sschneider -at- CRAFTMIER -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 26 Feb 1998 10:48:13 -0800

"Close to the Machine" was written by Ellen Ullman. I just read it (it's a
quick read), and I highly recommend it.

-----Original Message-----


>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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