Monday, September 21, 2009

About this Blog

I've been working with computers as long as I can remember. As a kid I remember using Wordstar on my dad's IBM 8088.

I remember the piece of paper that went over the function keys to help remind you that if you needed to underline something you would need to press CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+F7 or something like that.

Looking back, it's crazy to think that we used to think of that as an usable solution, but that's where technology was at the time -- that's all we had.

Doing anything with a computer involved having some significant knowledge, or knowing someone who knew how to do it.

Usually the "nerd" would begin their explanation with the phrase "all you have to do is...", and then would follow a series of technical steps that they thought were very simple, but that any non-expert would have very little chance of figuring out on their own.

Over the years, as technology has improved, the "nerds" are still around to give out these explanations, but as improvements in usability have moved forward, complicated steps to solving problems have become increasingly socially unacceptable.

Over time, I've come to believe that the reasons for a lot of usability problems aren't that it would take a lot of work to do things differently. Mostly, it's just that IT people (myself included) are like most people in that we forget that other people think differently than us. We are so used to designing solutions focused on how the computers work, we forget that the more important thing is to design thinking about how people work.

This blog is really just recording my journey trying to make the solutions I help design more usable, and therefore more effective.

I'll have my opinions, and I hope you as readers will share yours as well. Hopefully we can all learn how to create better solutions.

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