Here is a question/meditation I threw together at work but I thought I would throw it into the wider audience:
Why is it that when we use a desktop application we
accept that we may need a manual, that we may need training
and that practise makes perfect?
Yet when we use a web application we expect it to be
obvious? In fact, the more complicated the operation
the easier we expect it to be.
We frequently accept that we cannot make software idiot
proof yet we attempt to do exactly that when we present
an interface through HTML.
The underlying application is probably no different yet
by using a web browser we automatically assume a differernt
More often than not we succeed to some degree but the very
lack of this training, manuals and user help means that
when a user makes a mistake or assumes behaviour about the
software it becomes the developers fault?
Is it not the case that for complex intranet applications
that it is fair to expect the user to complete training
before becoming a qualified end user?
Of course you should test, debug and usability test but
even then is there not a balance between testing for usability
and accepting that the user must have at least *some* foreknowledge
before being able to understand the application you have built?
Just some thoughts I'm having based on work I'm doing :)
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