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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.

From: detailbear
2007-01-05 12:33 am (UTC)
Hey, that's what a support tech is for!

Sometimes I think a quarter of my job is explaining to programmers why the software is buggy, and a quarter of my job is figuring out what the user really wants to do.

Seriously, though, isn't it the development team that talks to the users and defines the need in the spec, then the programmers that build it to spec, then the development team that implements it with the users and gets feedback? Or am I talking about the wrong industry?
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