Users and their strange habits

Categories Development, Working smart

Users are strange creatures, and to demonstrate, here are some quick facts:

  • They want to achieve lots of things as fast as they can, without learning anything new;
  • They hate reading and avoid anything that resembles help or a user manual… or even freaking text boxes;
  • They want user interfaces that look like other user interfaces and that function the way that other applications function but that ultimately achieve a different goal;
  • They want things to just work.

Yup, strange creatures indeed. Who would have thought? Not us programmer types anyway.

None of these facts are new. All of them are known since the dark ages of computing. All of them are well documented and repeatedly demonstrated. It just seems that a lot of the things that we used to know and follow are now forgotten.

Users want well designed products that are tailored to their needs and that help them do what they want to do. Users  just don’t want to read the manual and they have  chronic dialog box blindness. For users, the user interface is the product so if you want them to use your product they need consistent and usable interfaces. Users need professionally designed, developed and  production-ready products that just work; not unfinished, buggy, wanna-be software.

Because users are ultimately our customers and because it is the right thing to do if we consider ourselves professionals that is what we must provide. Because that is what they deserve.

You can consider this post a small rant – just blowing off some steam after re-iterating some of these facts to a bunch of confused developers that think users are just plain stupid. They’re not stupid – we are just building software for the wrong people (rocket scientists that can read binary while unit testing in their sleep).

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