Thursday, January 10, 2008

Intuition and Utility

Ease of use as software evolves ...

"I love it every time when Nick Carr pulls out his lighter and sets fire to someone's sacred cow, not because he is always right, but because the ensuing controversy almost always manages to pull some hidden assumptions and disagreements over the status quo out into the light.

I read this recent hit on his new book "The Big Switch" the other day and it helped clarify my own thinking on the matter. It's worth quoting at length:

Today brings black clouds for the IT department in the form of a new book by noted IT critic, Nicholas Carr. Mr. Carr, who made his bones last year with an article contending that corporate IT departments don't provide any strategic advantage, has a new book where he predicts that future IT departments will be operated by one person sitting at a computer issuing commands to outsourced providers via the Internet. Alas, the lonely system administrator gets even less respect and will be the Maytag repairman for this century.

This seems to overlook the fact that software and systems have not evolved to be intuitive and easy to use for the end-user. [Sales pitch redacted]

It hasn't? Really? I suppose it depends on your perspective. Certainly that is counter to what big vendors have been claiming for years... every software release is more intuitive and easier to use if you believe the marketing hype. On the other hand, you know and I know that Office 2007 was a train wreck from a usability standpoint, as has been almost every new version of Office."    (Continued via The CIO Weblog)    [Usability Resources]

Setting fire to sacred cow. - Usability, User Interface Design

Setting fire to sacred cow.

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