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When writing code for end users, what operator error surprises you the most?

by ksublondie (Pilgrim)
on Nov 20, 2012 at 13:19 UTC ( #1004714=poll: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

vote on When writing code for end users, what operator error surprises you the most?

Double-clicking on html pages
[bar] 70/11%
Incorrect data (date/number/etc) formatting
[bar] 16/2%
Not submitting all the required input
[bar] 14/2%
Not reading the detailed instructions I've apparently wasted my time writing
[bar] 69/11%
Not understanding the detailed instructions I've apparently wasted my time writing
[bar] 18/3%
Not seeing the detailed instructions in flashing upper case red letters on the screen I've apparently wasted my time writing
[bar] 72/11%
I never know what crazy stunt they'll come up with next
[bar] 126/20%
Nothing ... my code is smarter than the dumbest user
[bar] 45/7%
Nothing ... I don't care
[bar] 26/4%
What end users? All my code is automated.
[bar] 114/18%
Other
[bar] 74/11%
644 total votes
Comment on When writing code for end users, what operator error surprises you the most?
Re: When writing code for end users, what operator error surprises you the most?
by Don Coyote (Monk) on Nov 20, 2012 at 13:54 UTC

    Detailed notes in Flashing Red Letters? I hope you've read the WCAG 2.0 detailed guidlelines on photosensitive epilepsy. To generalise, no more than 3 iterations of a flashing nature within any time unit of a second, where the colour of the font is Red. y'know! :)

    For further info http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/REC-WCAG20-20081211/

    There may be an rfc round here somewhere too...

Re: When writing code for end users, what operator error surprises you the most?
by ChuckularOne (Parson) on Nov 20, 2012 at 14:30 UTC

    No matter how hard I try, I can never stop the end users from breaking things.

    "It is impossible to make anything foolproof, because fools are so ingenious." --Robert Heinlein

      Thanks. I've been trying to remember who said that, I often cite that quote at work.
Re: When writing code for end users, what operator error surprises you the most?
by ww (Bishop) on Nov 20, 2012 at 14:33 UTC
        ... also sometimes stated as:
    Every time you idiot-proof anything, someone builds a better idiot.

      "Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning."

      -- Rick Cook, The Wizardry Compiled.    

      perl -E'sub Monkey::do{say$_,for@_,do{($monkey=[caller(0)]->[3])=~s{::}{ }and$monkey}}"Monkey say"->Monkey::do'

      Or if you prefer, there is another story along these lines.

      In national parks such as Yellowstone, the campers use bear proof containers to keep their food in, and designers trying to make better ones.

      Their effors are frustrated by the fact that some of the smarter bears have more intelegence than the dumber campers.

Re: When writing code for end users, what operator error surprises you the most?
by Utilitarian (Vicar) on Nov 21, 2012 at 08:22 UTC
    never mind, beaten to it by tobyink
    print "Good ",qw(night morning afternoon evening)[(localtime)[2]/6]," fellow monks."
Re: When writing code for end users, what operator error surprises you the most?
by jdporter (Canon) on Nov 21, 2012 at 14:24 UTC

    "Writing code for end users"??? Is there such a thing?

Re: When writing code for end users, what operator error surprises you the most?
by FloydATC (Chaplain) on Nov 22, 2012 at 20:09 UTC
    Other. That's usually why it's a surprise.

    Perhaps the poll should have said "annoys" instead of "surprises"? :-)

    -- Time flies when you don't know what you're doing
Re: When writing code for end users, what operator error surprises you the most?
by GeneralElektrix (Acolyte) on Nov 23, 2012 at 19:42 UTC
    User interface ergonomics. It shouldn't take a really large part of the budget, but some heavily funded projects failed because of overlooking the importance of a well designed user interface.
Re: When writing code for end users, what operator error surprises you the most?
by rjt (Deacon) on Nov 23, 2012 at 20:17 UTC

    Nothing. I'm the most surprised when they navigate their way through the entire system on the first run without making anything blow up.

Re: When writing code for end users, what operator error surprises you the most?
by rpnoble419 (Pilgrim) on Nov 26, 2012 at 04:24 UTC

    I have a tee shirt that says it all:

    If you make it idiot proof, they will come up with a better idiot

    I write pages of documentation, including screen shots to note each step and I still get calls that start with "Where is the file menu?" I have actually fired a client because they were too stupid and no amount of money they paid me was worth the 5 hours a week I had to spend on basic computer skills. My new client contracts inform clients, that if I have to teach them basic computer skills, I will bill them at $300.00 per hour.

Re: When writing code for end users, what operator error surprises you the most?
by blue_cowdawg (Monsignor) on Nov 26, 2012 at 18:31 UTC

    I used to have a PHB who was a wizard at breaking applications. I wrote an application in Perl to allow "self service" updates of information in our LDAP directory. Once they authenticated and if they had the privileges to do so they could also add new entries and/or delete entries.

    I thought the code was 100% bullet proof. Error checked every piece of data that was gathered by the UI and did "does this make sense" types of checks on groups of data. No way this can break.. right?

    Enter the PHB. Within three minutes of using the app to enter new people into LDAP he managed to break the app. Fortunately the default action on error was to put up a page that said "An unfortunate turn of events have occurred resulting in an application error. Don't worry though the software author is looking into it." The module that did that would collect as much data as available and email it to me so I could see what braniac stunt PHB had done. after about two weeks of this there were enough tests in place that he couldn't break the app any more.

    PHB now has a job as far separated from computers as possible. :-)


    Peter L. Berghold -- Unix Professional
    Peter -at- Berghold -dot- Net; AOL IM redcowdawg Yahoo IM: blue_cowdawg

      I'd want someone to break my application.

      That's why when the end user might possibly be someone other than me there's a ton of input validation.

      Sometimes even when it is only me.

        When it's just for me I use rude/sarcastic error messages.

        That ends up being bad when (on occasion) I convert a script I originally intended for personal use to one for general use and forget to update the error messages.

Not reporting bugs
by Boldra (Deacon) on Nov 29, 2012 at 11:45 UTC

    User: Can you write something to check if an order is really in the database?
    Me: Why do you want to do that?
    User: When we have lots of orders to delete, we have to check each one before we delete it.
    Me: Why don't you use mass_delete.pl?
    User: Oh, that hasn't worked for a couple of months.
    Me: Why didn't you mention this before ‽‽‽



    - Boldra
Re: When writing code for end users, what operator error surprises you the most?
by logan (Curate) on Nov 30, 2012 at 21:55 UTC
    Perhaps "surprises" isn't the right term. I have stopped being surprised by users' inability to read instructions. Nor am I surprised that for so many, it never occurs to them that they could read the instructions. I am amazed by this blind spot, which often extends to an inability to read whatever error message is displayed in front of them, but I am no longer surprised by it. It's sad, really.

    -Logan
    "What do I want? I'm an American. I want more."

Re: When writing code for end users, what operator error surprises you the most?
by Anonymous Monk on Dec 01, 2012 at 16:13 UTC
    1. using the Back-Button of the browser ... 2. Saving pages with forms localy on pc ...
Re: When writing code for end users, what operator error surprises you the most?
by heatblazer (Scribe) on Dec 04, 2012 at 14:41 UTC

    It`s simple - event handling: you never know how a man could press all keys with his ass for example. So unexpected input/event is always the worst problem of all.

Re: When writing code for end users, what operator error surprises you the most?
by runrig (Abbot) on Dec 05, 2012 at 22:05 UTC
    Back in the days of dumb terminals and QA testing the firmware of said terminals, I found that mashing the keyboard would hang said terminal. Yay! A bug!
Re: When writing code for end users, what operator error surprises you the most?
by jmlynesjr (Friar) on Dec 15, 2012 at 22:36 UTC

    The Senior Seminar in engineering school brought in local design firms to give us an insight into the "real world". One small firm designed telephone PBXs. Before they would ship a new product, they would throw a party and invite all of their employee's children to play with the new PBX. The kids would always trigger at least one undiscovered bug that had to be fixed before shipping.

    James

    There's never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it over...

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