Re: User-centered design (re: origin of Notes)

Subject: Re: User-centered design (re: origin of Notes)
From: Steven Feldberg <steven -at- ICU -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 1999 20:18:51 -0500

"Also, I've been using Lotus Notes, and let me tell you that I think it's a
horrible system. It's very difficult to do the simplest thing. There are
agents and templates of various sorts, and I just don't know how to use
them or what to do with them. So we have a big support staff, which
has got to be sign of bad software. Lotus Notes, to my mind, is not
made for normal users. I've had this conversation with a fair number of
people at Lotus, including Ray Ozzie, who invented it in the first place -
and so far no one has disagreed with me."
--Donald A. Norman (Author of "The Psychology of Everyday Things," among
other books :)

This was excerpted from an interview posted at

So let's kill this rumor now: Donald A. Norman did *not* invent Lotus

<rant my=first>
There are wonderful discussions on this list about all manner of topics of
concern to technical writers. But, in my opinion, it all comes to naught
when we (being professional technical writers) get our facts wrong. The
prettiest document in the world--whether task based or not--is worse than
useless, and our credibility evaporates when we assert as fact things that
are simply not true.

That applies to the value of this list as well (again, in my opinion).
Consider: The weekly pubs department staff meeting: Hey, did you know that
Donald Norman invented Notes? No, really?--where'd you see that. On
TECHWR-L. (That large sucking sound was your credibility....)

Opinions are a different animal--Frame is better than Word, My salary
history is none of your business--by all means, fire away. But ``facts'' are
holy to technical writers, or they should be (IMHO ;^)

I'm not picking on anyone. I'm really not. I would just suggest that in the
warm rush to contribute and help others via this list, that we all treat
assertions of fact with respect and due diligence. In short, ``if in doubt,
leave it out.''

Thank you. I feel better now.

/Steven Feldberg
Feldberg Communications
steven -at- icu -dot- com

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

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