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User is always right (was Re: Merger not Merging -- What I would like a merge process to do.)

From: matthew ford <matthew.ford_at_forward.com.au>
Date: 2005-01-24 21:46:55 CET

Hi Nasser,
GUI design and usability is a pet hobby horse of mine (the follow comments
are not directed at subversion in particular but software in general (and
no offense was taken)).

> [snip]
> As I said befor the 'User is always right' There are at least
> two users out here who don't think "the subversion" way. And since my
> background is different from my boss', I suppect we are not the only
> ones.
> [/snip]
>
> With all due respect, Mr Ford, the adage of the "User is always right"
> is one of customer service and support; *not* usability and proper
> conduct.
>

I dissagree that the "User is always right" does not apply to usability and
mode of operation. It is a common failing, that software tries to force the
user to think in a particular way which is not the way they would naturally
think. Software is both a service and a tool and as such needs to 'fit' the
user's grip. Software developers are so atypical (highly intelligent and
logical) that it is very difficult for them to comprehend how a real user
might think. Developers are also too close to the software and know it too
will, so it is difficult for them to understand that the user may not see
the 'logic' of process.
Finally software should not put the user down. 'Users never make mistakes,
they just change their mind' If the user does something the
developer/software thinks is wrong then it is because the developer did not
guard against it and/or did not explain it to the users understanding.
You will allow me to take a some what extreme view point here. This is the
ideal to aim for.
However for too long computer uses have been burdened with software that is
un-intutitive and too hard to learn/remember. (Like selecting the START
button to shutdown your computer.) There may have been some excuse in the
DOS age when memory and computer processing power where scarse resources,
but this is no longer an excuse.

matthew

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Received on Tue Jan 25 12:33:39 2005

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