Re: Question about Programmers and Usability

Subject: Re: Question about Programmers and Usability
From: Kathryn Poe <ksmp -at- CYBERRAMP -dot- NET>
Date: Mon, 2 Mar 1998 10:13:45 -0600

Many of us have a very technical person to deal with everyday who does not
care about communicating with us or the user. This is the kind of set up
where pizza goes under the door and code comes out and very little is said
about how or why it works. "It was Hard to Code, It should be Hard to
Understand!" is their mantra. Now, certainly not all technical staff feels
that way but these people are out there. These folks made our job harder
but not impossible. Luckily, their attention can often be bought with food.

-Kathryn Poe

Anthony Markatos wrote:

> 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
> issues"
> > <TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU>
> >From: Suzanne Townsend <ac158 -at- CHEBUCTO -dot- NS -dot- CA>
> >Subject: Question about Programmers and Usability
> >To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
> >
> >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
> help)
> >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
> about
> >how the programmers could care less. I can't figure it out. Why aren't
> they
> >concerned with making software easy to use? Do they really spend no
> time
> >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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