Painting by numbers

Dave Winer via daring fireball

„Moral of the story: You only learn where a product needs improvement through serious long-term use. Users gain that kind of experience, but reviewers and pundits generally do not. Their observations tend to be superficial. That’s why reviews written after a few days using a product often miss the mark. The real greatness or lack of greatness in a product doesn’t show up for a few weeks or months. Sometimes even longer.

This was a secret of mine, because most of my competitors not only didn’t listen to their users, but they didn’t even use their own products.“

Developers and painting by numbers

This is definitely very interesting, because we observe the very same problems. When we implement new functions in apps for the iPhone, we normally do some sort of a“road book“ that illustrates every behavior of the new part of the software. It is in fact „painting by numbers“, so that the developers can perceive visually, what the app would look like when it’s ready.

Unfortunately this never pays out in the first run. Developers don’t read and they don’t get involved in what’s relevant. They even don’t pay much attention to the illustrations, that are in 1:1 scale. Software testing is some sort of foreign galaxy. Sometimes teams get it right on one page and fail on the other, because they’re not communicating to each other. (This makes it a bit frustrating for supervising the job.) Despite they’re „inventing“ new stuff and try to tell you stories. So the whole thing gets very fast annoying. It is indeed very seldom, that developers are congenial partners of the software architects and designers.

We use the apps intensively because we want to detect any hidden bugs and inconsistencies in the user experience. And we’re trying to convince our clients that extremely „creative“ GUIs are often counterproductive. L’art pour l’art doesn’t do the job.