Re: Question about Programmers and Usability

Subject: Re: Question about Programmers and Usability
From: Yvonne DeGraw <yvonne -at- SILCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 09:27:21 -0800

At 08:42 PM 2/25/98 -0400, Suzanne Townsend asked:
>WHY are programmers disinterested in usability?

I agree with Sella Rush's "inside-out" explanation and Larry Kunz'
"forest-for-the-trees" explanation. Here's another contributing factor.

I've noticed among my programmer friends that it is considered more
prestigious to work on deeper levels of the code. For example, the most
senior programmer might architect the toolkit that other programmers use to
produce the application. This became more pronounced when object orientation
became popular.

So, working on the UI is often a low-prestige job because it is perceived as
"easier"--that is it's easier to make the code work correctly. (Not that
creating useful UI is easy.)

Before becoming a consultant, I worked for a company that built application
development environments. The UI was build with our own tools, so UI
development was done with "end user" tools. I did a lot of UI
design--including some C programming--because the programmers didn't feel I
was stepping on their toes by doing it.
Yvonne DeGraw, Technical Services o Technical Writing
yvonne -at- silcom -dot- com o Online Help o Web Documentation
Tel: 805/683-5784 o Database Publishing

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