Re: Question about Programmers and Usability

Subject: Re: Question about Programmers and Usability
From: Anthony Markatos <tonymar -at- HOTMAIL -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 1 Mar 1998 12:03:12 PST

Usability means getting to know the end user. Most developers really do
not want to do this. Usability also means rigorous systems analysis -
difficult and often thankless work. Most developers want a "fun" job.

>From techwr-l -at- listserv -dot- okstate -dot- edu Wed Feb 25 16:43:43 1998
>Received: from listserv ( by (LSMTP
for Windows NT v1.1a) with SMTP id <0 -dot- 923DCB50 -at- listserv -dot- okstate -dot- edu>;
Wed, 25 Feb 1998 18:45:41 -0600
>Date: Wed, 25 Feb 1998 20:42:15 -0400
>Reply-To: Suzanne Townsend <ac158 -at- CHEBUCTO -dot- NS -dot- CA>
>Sender: "Technical Writers List; for all Technical Communication
> <TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU>
>From: Suzanne Townsend <ac158 -at- CHEBUCTO -dot- NS -dot- CA>
>Subject: Question about Programmers and Usability
>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
>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 programmers
>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
>how the programmers could care less. I can't figure it out. Why aren't
>concerned with making software easy to use? Do they really spend no
>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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