Friday, July 24, 2009

Software Developers vs. Users - No Love

I have been a computer programmer for 10 years now. I can hardly believe that. I have learned a few things over the years about the relationships between the software developers and the users. Sometimes there are periods of time when those relationships are great but there is always the loom of doom out there. This week I was reminded of the doom! Here are a few reasons why:

  • Users don't like change. It doesn't matter how little the change is, if you change something they won't like it at first.
  • If there is a new button out there, the users will push it. They more than likely will have no idea what it will do but the temptation to click it is just too high.
  • Users don't always use the systems we write the way we think they will. If it is programmed to work in a certain order, programmers have to remember that the users won't always follow that.
  • Cosmetics are much more important to the user than the business logic. Even if the logic took 3 months to build, there is an assumption that it will work. By design, computer programmers are not great at aesthetics. We try really hard but we miss the boat quite often.
  • Users assume that if one error message pops up, the whole thing must be crap.
  • Computer programmers love when things are new and exciting. We like to make things work. We get really jazzed about the new enhancements that we do and when we get resistance to them we get disappointed.
  • The software that computer programmers develop can become a sort of "baby" to us. We put our hardest effort into making sure things work and we really love our end results. Criticism hurts.

Obviously from the tone of this list, I am the computer programmer. I rolled out a bunch of new changes this week. Things didn't go 100% as planned. It was a rough 2 days. But that was it. It's over. The dust has settled and the users are getting used to the changes. They will become complacent with these changes and go back to being happy. Little do they know, I've moved on to the next set of changes that will come their way!

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