1. S.M. Thomson says

    Ben, you’ve got it exactly right. I was a computer operator/PC user for many years (started way before PC’s – data entry, operator, RPGII programmer, system analyst, and went on to become an expert with numerous office applications) before going to NAIT to further my knowledge with a Computer Network Administration certificate. There was just me on the “user” side and 19 technicians/system analysts/programmers/designers/operators in the class. The 19 were all shocked when, during one of our sessions, I declared that electronic forms should be developed to strictly follow the order of the paper input form fields which supply the data to be entered into the computer form. As one of the 19 said – my design is much more efficient and users should follow it. My response was, although he may be right, the 19 of them should sit down and enter the information from the original paper input form into their computer forms. Only then did they understand the difficulties and stress to the user resulting from out of order input fields. It was a small but hopefully valuable lesson for their future work designing people-friendly systems.

  2. Thanks, S.M. That’s a helpful example, you provide… highlighting the stress on end-users; stress that often isn’t adequately addressed by designers. Good on for you for standing your ground. Note: I, too, took some computer science courses at NAIT, long time ago… night school. Good place. 🙂

  3. Thanks for your thoughtful post, Ben.
    There is a spectrum of disenfranchised homeless clients with crippling addictions, who are struggling with demons, depression and psychosis. Some may be reached, and I imagine some are almost or virtually unreachable. However, I know an angelic psychiatric nurse who goes further, playing guitar and making music to connect with clients.

  4. Thanks Soren. Maybe that nurse could be part of a government system design team? 🙂 She sounds remarkable, very creative, and caring.

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