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Re: Why Software sucks


2008-06-05 07:51:16 PM
delphi12
roman modic writes:
Quote
This session is about normal people - female
without college degree ... ;)
My wife has almost a University degree. She curses most of the time
while trying to use any software or browse information from the web. She
seems to get lost to the tabs of the web browser, which I find very
usable myself, closing the window when she wanted to close the tab,
wondering where the previous page disappeared, and so on.
It is just a good reminder to be aware that most of the application
users will not probably find the cool features from your applications -
if they ever get a clue that the features even exist. The basic things
must be as simple as possible from the start.
The difference between "us techies" against "normal people" is that we
are interested in finding out what can be done with the software and
understand them ourselves. But most normal people would rather do
without the software at all. They just need to get their job done and
are forced to use software for that.
The problems get worse when the generic trend is that customer service
is moving more and more to Internet and everyone is gradually forced to
use software for most tasks that could be handled by phone or visiting
an office in the "good old days". At the same time the software systems
are getting more complicated to use...
An example (from a bit different domain): In Finland, the state TV
company has stopped analogue TV broadcasting, so everybody is forced to
use digital TV receivers. In general that means you now have a separate
digibox and TV set. Both have a remote control. You use the other one
for channel selection and the other for volume control. No problem for
techies, but try to explain that this is progress in usability to my
mother (or wife)... [Well, I have stopped using the TV set at all, but
that is another story.]
 
 

Re: Why Software sucks

m. Th. writes:
Quote
"Sometimes stating /something which should be/ obvious is very, very
valuable."
Yes, a better way to put it.
--
Nick Hodges
Delphi Product Manager - CodeGear
blogs.codegear.com/nickhodges
 

Re: Why Software sucks

somebody writes:
Quote
He should be told that adressing the common denominator doesn't
always make good software. I am sure there are some users who know
and care about the difference between full and incremental (and -
gasp - even differential) backup.
From my reading of the article, it seemed clear that the author was
aware of that.
Quote
Other than that, he makes the standard, common sense points about
decent design, nothing terribly insightful.
And yet, isn't it amazing how often software fails to live up to
'common sense'.
 

Re: Why Software sucks

Rick Carter writes:
Quote
Well, you're certainly being cynical today!
It's not just today, I assure you. I am always cynical.
Quote
However, I would also say that, over the years, the Delphi team at their
best has often surprised us by introducing new tools and features
that we never even asked for.
I strongly agree. My comment wasn't aimed at Delphi/CodeGear, but
rather at the disgruntled Usual Suspects here who will always manage to
find a cause for complaint.
 

Re: Why Software sucks

Rick Carter writes:
Quote
I probably should not read too much into a one-line sarcastic comment,
but you seemed to be suggesting that Nick and the Delphi team should
stop working so hard to try to satisfy their customers.
Ah, I can see how one might read it that way. It wasn't the intent.
Quote
There are, and will probably always be, the vocal few at this forum
who don't even use Delphi any more, and are just here to take cheap
pot-shots at CG and the Delphi team. There's no reason for Nick to do
anything different for those people, since they'll just change their
complaint, but still be just as vocal and negative.
Them's the ones I had in mind.
 

Re: Why Software sucks

Jouni Aro writes:
Quote
It is just a good reminder to be aware that most of the application
users will not probably find the cool features from your applications -
if they ever get a clue that the features even exist. The basic things
must be as simple as possible from the start.

The difference between "us techies" against "normal people" is that we
are interested in finding out what can be done with the software and
understand them ourselves. But most normal people would rather do
without the software at all. They just need to get their job done and
are forced to use software for that.
Good post! (Also good were all the paragraphs I snipped.)
Rick Carter
XXXX@XXXXX.COM
Chair, Delphi/Paradox SIG, Cincinnati PC Users Group
--- posted by geoForum on delphi.newswhat.com
 

Re: Why Software sucks

Quote
GrandmasterB writes:
>Let me sum up the entire article to save people the time of reading it:
>
>Give your customers what they really need.
MikeR writes:
They won't pay for that, only what they think they *WANT*. ;=o
Right. So there are at least two types of developers. One group watches
they way people work, and convinces them what they really need, and why
they should pay to have it done according to the developer's proposal.
Then there's the more cynical developers who only give the customer what's
spelled out in the requirements. Never mind what the software they're
looking to replace is already doing, or what most people would reasonably
expect from good software.
Where I work, we had some experiences with the latter kind.
Rick Carter
XXXX@XXXXX.COM
Chair, Delphi/Paradox SIG, Cincinnati PC Users Group
--- posted by geoForum on delphi.newswhat.com
 

Re: Why Software sucks

"Andy Syms" <XXXX@XXXXX.COM>writes
Quote
Madt Mallinckrodt writes:

>"Add a {*word*269} to the design team."

In one of my old companies many years ago we used the Managing Director
as the ultimate tester. If he could work out how to use the software
without breaking it we shipped it. :-)
I had a former co-worker that I used in that way for years. He was the
stereotypical computer illiterate engineer. He'd circle his finger over the
keyboard looking for a key, kind of like a vulture looking for dinner. Then
he'd click it, and repeat the process. If I could make something that he
couldn't totally{*word*222}up, it was ready to ship. I think having a {*word*269} on
the design team, or at least the QC team, is essential.
Cheers,
Van
 

Re: Why Software sucks

Quote
m. Th. writes:
>do you have some concrete ways in mind to find what your
>are your user base's needs? :-)
Tom Corey writes:
It won't matter - no matter what they do, there will be any number of
vocal users who find reason to complain about it.
Well, you're certainly being cynical today!
Delphi has grown to be such a big project, and so many different users
concentrate on using different parts of it, that it is almost inevitable
that someone will complain that the part of Delphi they use the most hasn't
been extended and enhanced enough, or that it still has too many bugs.
However, I would also say that, over the years, the Delphi team at their best
has often surprised us by introducing new tools and features that we never
even asked for. When they go beyond just correcting the biggest complaints
about the previous release(s), and go on to delight us with new features
that have us saying "I didn't even ask for this, but now I don't want to
work without it," that is when they're at their best. And I am still hoping
for some of that in the upcoming releases.
Then again, the bar is always being raised for including new features.
I have to admit, now that I have heard about the "Historical De{*word*81}"
proposed for the next version of VS, I am almost tempted to "jump ship"
and switch languages unless the Delphi team comes up with something
equally good or better:
blog.excastle.com/2008/06/03/teched-2008-overheard-historical-de{*word*81}/
Rick Carter
XXXX@XXXXX.COM
Chair, Delphi/Paradox SIG, Cincinnati PC Users Group
--- posted by geoForum on delphi.newswhat.com
 

Re: Why Software sucks

Tom Corey writes:
Quote
My comment wasn't aimed at Delphi/CodeGear, but
rather at the disgruntled Usual Suspects here who will always manage to
find a cause for complaint.
I probably should not read too much into a one-line sarcastic comment,
but you seemed to be suggesting that Nick and the Delphi team should stop
working so hard to try to satisfy their customers.
There are, and will probably always be, the vocal few at this forum who
don't even use Delphi any more, and are just here to take cheap pot-shots
at CG and the Delphi team. There's no reason for Nick to do anything
different for those people, since they'll just change their complaint, but
still be just as vocal and negative.
Then there are the many who use Delphi regularly, and love to use it, but
who get rather negative when they find they need to complain about their
frustrations with the product. Nick and the team still need to listen to
these people, despite their lack of tact and diplomacy.
Rick Carter
XXXX@XXXXX.COM
Chair, Delphi/Paradox SIG, Cincinnati PC Users Group
--- posted by geoForum on delphi.newswhat.com
 

Re: Why Software sucks

Tom Corey writes:
Quote
m. Th. writes:

>do you have some concrete ways in mind to find what your
>are your user base's needs? :-)

It won't matter - no matter what they do, there will be any number of
vocal users who find reason to complain about it.
It does matter :-) even if we have our background vocals. And, imho,
they have their role too.
...being serious, one of the main roles of the community is to mitigate
this. "Instructions" for those interested ( ;-) ) at:
producingoss.com/html-chunk/common-pitfalls.html
(down to page, read the chapter 'The "Noisy Minority" Effect')
HTH,
--
m. th.
 

Re: Why Software sucks

Rick Carter writes:
Quote

However, I would also say that, over the years, the Delphi team at their best
has often surprised us by introducing new tools and features that we never
even asked for. When they go beyond just correcting the biggest complaints
about the previous release(s), and go on to delight us with new features
that have us saying "I didn't even ask for this, but now I don't want to
work without it," that is when they're at their best. And I am still hoping
for some of that in the upcoming releases.

Imho, it is very dangerous, to say at least. Why CodeGear was spun-off?
But to be productive, here are some examples given:
Delphi 8 + .NET strategy in last 4-5 years. Kylix story. C++BuilderX
story. The Delphi 2006/2007 Help2 saga. InstallAware (Installation
experience). Quality of Delphi 2005/2006. (I can post more if you want).
OTOH, a company like them normally must have and they have /very/
skilled people, /much/ more skilled than most of us in mastering their
code-base. (Compiler, IDE, VCL etc.). And they have them. At least imho.
Hence, it is really necessary to see innovation coming from their part,
especially in holistic themes. But because, as any developer, they tend
to 'loose the contact with the user reality' - in fact, is the theme of
the article which OP posted - that is why they must cross-check
periodically their direction with the community as whole. Also see
msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa480154.aspx
and
www.scottberkun.com/essays/44-how-to-learn-from-your-mistakes/
(more on request).
Quote
Then again, the bar is always being raised for including new features.
I have to admit, now that I have heard about the "Historical De{*word*81}"
proposed for the next version of VS, I am almost tempted to "jump ship"
and switch languages unless the Delphi team comes up with something
equally good or better:
blog.excastle.com/2008/06/03/teched-2008-overheard-historical-de{*word*81}/

blogs.codegear.com/chrishesik/2007/04/30/34241
"If you have a book and you don't know that you have it, or where it is,
it's like you don't. Or worse. It just takes space" :-)
Well, I admit that Chris's post perhaps isn't similar with what you
meant, but it works. Now. And can be enhanced. (Snapshots, better
interaction with developer etc.)
--
m. th.
 

Re: Why Software sucks

"MikeR" <XXXX@XXXXX.COM>writes
Quote
GrandmasterB writes:
>Let me sum up the entire article to save people the time of reading it:
>Give your customers what they really need.

They won't pay for that, only what they think they *WANT*. ;=o
Very true. Thats one of the reasons its pointless to lecture developers to
make their software 'just work'. Its not always the developers that cause
the problem.
 

Re: Why Software sucks

I think many will like this:
How to Design a Great User Experience
msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa511335.aspx
Lee
 

Re: Why Software sucks

Eric Grange writes:
Quote
>Yeah, really. Sometimes stating the obvious is very, very valuable.

Stating the obvious in hindsight is of very little value actually:
everyone and his dog does that all the time.

Stating the obvious with foresight is another matter. ^_^

Eric
Why is it is that so many of us say "yes I know", but still act as if
we didn't? That is the real question.
And being among the guilty, I liked the link as well :-)
--
Jan Nordén, ECO Architect
CapableObjects AB
email: <firstname>.<lastname without accent over e>@capableobjects.com
www.capableobjects.com