Re: Question about Programmers and Usability -Reply

Subject: Re: Question about Programmers and Usability -Reply
From: Hope Cascio <hope -dot- d -dot- cascio -at- ARTHURANDERSEN -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 07:55:49 -0500

I'm more inclined to agree with Sella Rush, who seems to think that
developers are in the same boat as us TWs; that is, we're not brought into
the loop early enough in the design phase of software development. By the
time we're really working on developing the product, we have more narrow
goals, not the holistic, "big picture" of what the program is supposed to
do. I do disagree with you, though, Penny, that technical writers' raison
d'etre is to do usability. Not that most of us don't end up doing it at
some time or another, but I am more drawn to documenting the software,
which I see as my purpose as a technical writer. In order to do this, I
have to have information from usability, just as I have to have info from
the programmers in order to understand how the application works, and how
the user perceives the process. But I don't have to be a programmer or a
usability expert.

Hope Cascio's $ .02

-----------Original Post--------------

Penny Staples wrote:
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.

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