Re: Completely intuitive software

Subject: Re: Completely intuitive software
From: "Miller, Lisa" <Lisa -dot- Miller -at- ANHEUSER-BUSCH -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 7 Jun 1999 15:44:14 -0500

Karen wrote " The overwhelming response from the developers was that it's
impossible to create software that's completely intuitive; the user must read
the manual."

The argument isn't worth the benefits. I have not been able to effectively
argue changes to software design in the past. I found that the following
perceptions caused my arguments to fall on deaf and then hostile ears.

* A technical writer (knowing nothing about software design) doesn't have
the knowledge authority to make design changes. (Developer doesn't think you
know enough to make the argument.)
* A person of lesser knowledge and experience has pointed out a flaw in
software design. (Developer is insulted.)
* The problem is not severe enough to warrant the cost of changing the
design. (Developer doesn't want to communicate problem to boss.)

You can, of course, make the assumption I argue my points poorly, and you might
be correct. However, I have also found that it's okay to state and document
findings to the team/project leader and let it go at that. Boundaries are
important. The better one's own house is managed the easier it is to let go of
what belongs in another's. What I mean is this. You can:

* Control the manual and how it can make the software look good and
support the user.
* Ask questions about the software and its presentation in order to better
understand it.
* Comment on the software's presentation and flow.
* Track the cost of manual development and software support.

These things are in your house; development and design aren't. My life is a lot
easier now.

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to
change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."

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

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