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At the risk, I think, of going against the entire tribe here, I'd like
to add my own opinion (who else's?) to the discussion of the user's
manifesto. Although I agree that the article was a little lame, I think
that point number one is worth heeding, and worth worrying about.
First of all, I consider anything that the user _can_ do wrong a design
problem. What user could jam two 3.5" floppies into a drive? Not me,
the cases are too hard, I figure out pretty quick that the second won't
go. Good design. CD tray seems a bit drink holderish? Not to make any
kind of endorsement or anything, but has anyone seen the newer Compaq
Presarios? Their CD drives are a little slot in the front of the
machine. (Not unlike the Macintosh of a couple of years back--natch.)
And if we don't think that it's worth pre-empting user goofiness with
design, why the heck do we write user documentation at all? If we can't
agree that #1 is important, should we go back to DOS, except without all
the help ability that was built in?
I know that it's not an either/or question, and I'm not trying to take
the question away from the practicalities of life. But this reminds me
of the stories that go around when a company takes a quality initiative
(I mean really takes it, not just puts new binders in everyone's hands.
Yes it happens.) People don't want to be put in a position of
accountability, blame, or responsibility, especially if the source of
the blame is something wildly unpredictable, say an electron's motion,
or even a user. But if one takes on the responsibility as a company,
and produces a piece of software that is bug-free, even by the standards
of manifesto rule #1--who WOULDN'T buy it?
And then I think of Apple, and I sigh, and I think I'm just full of poop
here. Oh well.