[Crossposting from XP, sorry...]
> > - good usability cannot be easily added to a
> > product: it has to be designed
> > from scratch;
> Wrong. It can't be added to a _crappy_ program. If you
> let a refactorable program mature, changing the GUI is
> just another change.
I think it is right in general, but it is false for a good XP project. Even in
a well refactored code base you could have a new concept that has been
ignored/not well understood by developers, that has produced a poor
interaction. XP allows us to dare to propose a complete refactoring of this
(as said before, we are really experiencing such a thing...).
> However, if you release that GUI to a significant user
> population, they will bond with its features in ways
> you should not predict or derail.
> I propose (entirely to make everyone need to hire more
> programmers like me) that programs should version with
> skins, so each user population gets the skin they
I think you are right, but Cooper make a strong point that he is not speaking
about GUIs, but about user interaction. In My Really Limited Experience, the
second drive the first. If you build a good design interaction, you will end
with a good interface, even if it is not graphically phancy.
BTW, I am starting to think that he is really speaking about some kind of
workflows at the level of the user...
> > - good usability has a strong influence over (or
> > even drives) the whole
> > software design processes;
> Unfortunately yes. In theory, program logic
> encapsulates behind a representation layer. In
> practice, the logic layer takes any shortcut the GUI
see above. I think the focus is Interaction, not the Interface
> > - when asked to improve the usability, they normally
> > say: "Oh yes, you mean
> > adding fancy icons and better colours"...;
> That's why usability experts should show, don't tell.
> They should sketch the interface they want, from
This was meant to be ironic. My intention was to say that programmers don't
understand usability, because they see simply as a problem of putting more
decorations on a window or on a web page. My understanding is that the real
problem is the user interaction, not the user interface. The GUI is the way
the user has to interact with the program, but what makes the user work is
the interaction, not the GUI per se...
For example, we have seen an application from a competitor of ours. The web
interface was generally good. However, there was clearly a big problem in the
application per se.
Features were scattered around the program, added on the base of the request
of the customer. Howver, there was no idea of general interaction among user
and program. This part was never refactored, even if the forms and the web
pages where generally well designed.
Paolo Bizzarri - President - Icube S.r.l.
Address: Via Ridolfi 15 - 56124 Pisa (PI), Italy
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