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Usability [Jan. 3rd, 2007|09:09 pm]
My workshop is about forecast integration. That is, taking various pieces and interconnecting them so everyone gets more value. We've gotten to "usability" pretty quickly, which is to say, not just "throwing data over the transom", but engaging with users to find out what they need. Of course, that's not just asking people what they want, because sometimes you need to push back on what people ought to be asking for, so that means getting involved in a two-way dialogue.

People on both sides would benefit from dialogue, so why isn't it happening already? The usual answer to "why doesn't X happen" is "because nobody's being paid to do it". That applies here, I think. Scientists don't engage end-users in dialogue because they're not rewarded for doing so, and there's an opportunity cost for doing that instead of something that will get you more funding. So I think the big question for tomorrow is: how do we pay for the dialogue? That, and: will my poster have a demo?

Unrelatedly, I really can't cope with non-tabbed browsing anymore. Even though I regard IE with great scorn, I'm glad the latest version copied it from Firefox. It lessens the annoyance of being stuck with it.

[User Picture]From: melted_snowball
2007-01-04 11:37 am (UTC)
I think there's also more to it than just that. Scientists tend not to engage end users because our skills tend not to be especially strong for that.

To give an analogous example, here in Ontario, most grants of any reasonable size require "matching funding" to be secured from industry, as a way of ensuring that the science that is developed is "relevant". Even though this would come with lots of $$, many of us refuse to go after those kinds of grants. It pushes us in directions we're just not good at.

And yes, IE sucks.
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