The Design of Software (CLOSED)

A public forum for discussing the design of software, from the user interface to the code architecture. Now closed.

The "Design of Software" discussion group has been merged with the main Joel on Software discussion group.

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The User's Law

I found it to be true as well, at least at most cases I've been involved in. ;)
boo Send private email
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
"If users read the manuals, they never understand them.

Despite that users think themselves as super clever people, actually they are super dumb people. "

Anyone who thinks his customers are dumb is setting himself up to be a failure.

If you want to be a success, repeat the following mantra until you stop thinking of your users as dumb:

My customers are not dumb.  They just don't have the time to figure out my software, so I have to make it easier.

Its like a stage performer, if he thinks that his audience is a bunch of suckers then his performance will definitely be poor.
Donald Duck
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
You might want to check out some of the past favorites on the creating passionate users blog

no new ones expected :-(
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Wasn't this covered in chapter 9 of "User Interface Design for Programmers", by someone-or-other?
DJ Clayworth
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
The author didn't "invent" the law by himself. I think he was just trying to be funny by hiperbolizing the explanations. Unfortunately, he failed and his sense of humor is bad, maybe because he isn't an English native speaker. :P However, I think the law has its points. ;)
boo Send private email
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
I think it's better to think of it as a transform of Murphy's law - if there's any way to use the software incorrectly, someone will take it.
Duncan Sharpe
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
"My customers are not dumb.  They just don't have the time to figure out my software, so I have to make it easier."

Just repeating the mantra. I've believed this for a long time but I think that's the most succinct phrasing I could think of for it. And it's not just that they don't have time - they may not have much interest. I use a web browser but I don't necessarily care about how it works. I guess eventually you have to start getting in to why they use your product and what their real interests are so you can understand how to explain the features that they do care about.

It's all about the user, things have to make sense from their perspective.
Rob Send private email
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Even if your users are dumb, treating them that way is generally an inefficient way to get their cash.  ;)  Figuring out how to make them feel smart and capable, on the other hand, will make them like you a lot when a competitior comes past and says "hey, morons, you're too stupid - come and use my dumbed down crap instead".

Still, to be fair, there's always the "<X> for dummies" series of books that are, apparantly, quite popular.

Human beings. What a species.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

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