Re: ARTICLE: "A Computer User's Manifesto"

Subject: Re: ARTICLE: "A Computer User's Manifesto"
From: Alessandro Bottoni <bottoni -at- CADLAB -dot- IT>
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 15:24:33 +0200

I have a few compliants against this article:

1) The end user cannot be considered the Last Judge because he does not know
how the software can be designed and implemented to be "easy to use" and
"easy to learn". For example, I often heard account people ask for a "window
with a summary of the commands to be kept open beside the program". Given
that they normally use old Unix, AS/400 and DOS programs (and do not care to
know more), they simply do not know that Windows programs have the Help they
dream about since a long time. If we had spent our time listening to those
people, Windows and MacIntosh would had never been invented. Good software
requires educated and qualified analysts and designers...

2) For the same reason, the end user is not always right. Modern software IS
easy to use and well documented but, of course, still requires a little of
reading and trying. This is due to the inherent complexity of the matter
they deal with (think to a complex 3D CAD system...). Recently, a friend
complained with me that the company he works for had supplied him with a
computer with Office 97 without the manuals. I showed him that there is a
"Help" item and a "?" button in the Word UI and I opened the online help. He
complained with me that he was not expected to hit that button... How can we
help people like that?

Of course, we HAVE to make better software and better documentation but
turning this problem to a social conflict between users and programmers is
not the right way to deal with it.

Hoping of not having hurt anybody...

Alessandro Bottoni
Technical Writer
Cad.Lab SPA
Bologna, Italy

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Collier <mcollier -at- CSC -dot- COM>
Date: martedì 22 settembre 1998 21.27
Subject: ARTICLE: "A Computer User's Manifesto"

This article appears in the current Business Week. The subject of the
article, a
human-computer interface expert, makes some good points about how
should be designed, many of which can be addressed through
documentation and

Michael Collier
mcollier -at- csc -dot- com

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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