Egos, GUI's, and Tempers

Subject: Egos, GUI's, and Tempers
From: Suzette Seveny <sseveny -at- PETVALU -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 2 Sep 1998 10:21:10 -0400

I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to my "situation",
either on the list, or to me individually. I was put in my place by a few
people, and I learned a few things too (along with developing new opinions!).
Two people (both working for US government) stated they had apps that opened
with a blank screen - interesting.

Some people suggested I get a book on Interface design and quote it. If a
programmer makes a suggestion on how something should be coded, should he quote
a book as well? I was hired because of my experience in systems documentation,
as well as for my experience in usability areas.

Getting angry does not solve anything (that's why I usually avoid it), and I
did not let myself get into an argument. That's why I ended the meeting. I
was not being over critical - my comments were more along the line of:

"When I initially opened the application, I thought it wasn't working, and left
you an email about it. I since found out that it was working, that is the way
it works, so I apologize for the email. I think this is a bit confusing, and
users might have some problems with it." That when he got defensive.

I believe the problem might be solved. Last night, my boss came into my office
and asked me about the application. Seems a few people have seen it and have
some strong opinions. I showed it to him (he had never seen it) and he said
the phone calls now made sense. He was appalled. Seems the app was developed
without using our normal methodology, and due to other projects, my boss (V-P)
did have time to get involved. I jokingly said that in that case, we'd come
looking for him when we needed a scapegoat. There isn't time to redevelop the
application, but I suggested that a quick Visual Basic front end might improve
the interface and that suggestion is currently under consideration. I have
also been promised a raise at the end of the project, for my patience and

The developer also dropped in this morning and apologized to me, and I am
positive that we will find a way to work together. My position is new, the
developers are not used to having documentation, or checks and balances, but I
have a piece of paper that says that is my job, and he now understands that.

Thanks for all the good suggestions and moral support!!

Suzette Seveny
Markham, Ontario, Canada
sseveny -at- petvalu -dot- com or suzette -at- yesic -dot- com

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