• W (unregistered)

    Thsi is exactly what I am expecting to go through in the upcoming months. And it will not the frist time.

  • Robert Morson (google)

    Ah, so the user is using "obvious" to mean "familiar."

  • (nodebb)

    It should be obvious that learning the meanings of words like "obvious" is necessary for operating machines to be obvious.

  • Fizzel (unregistered)

    Just finished a "rewrite" of the all the configuration screens (basic search & details with tabs) for a customer because the tab control on the detail screens was too slow & confusing. The required solution was to separate each tab into a separate details screen, accessed via a separate menu item and an identical search screen. It is so much more efficient now, especially where entire screens that once were tabs are enabled/disabled on a separate screen.

  • Foo AKA Fooo (unregistered)

    Obvious xkcd (PS: If the href doesn't work, that's because it's really not obvious what kind of markup this comment box accepts! It probably mentioned somewhere 3 links away, but talking about obviousness ...)

  • (nodebb)

    "Easy" and "Obvious" [2 steps vs 6 with redundant entry] are completely different things.

    Understanding the psychology of what drives different people to perceive different things is a complete field of study, and one that the vast majority of software developers have any working knowledge of.

  • TVJohn (unregistered)

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • Cap'n. Obvious (unregistered)

    Dimitri responded that "That's six steps instead of the two in my program, and that would require you to reenter some of the data".

    The user responded "Yes, but it's obvious".

    So is the need to introduce that type of user to the business end of a clue-bat.

    I think someone would make a small fortune selling Clue-Bats. Love that line.

  • David (unregistered)

    As others have noted the user seems to want the familiar process rather than an 'obvious' one and seems to have no concept of the difference - this is unfortunately prevalent even amongst business planning people who suggest new features to be as similar as possible to existing ones even when that's a poor fit for the new requirement, and who equally resist reshaping systems to be more obvious, intuitive and guided, because it's less 'familiar'. When you look at whether someone is suited for being a developer, there are a number of skills involved. One of those is programming. Another is the ability to think about all the ways a system will be used OUTSIDE of the intended manner and how they could break it. A further skill is the patience to explain the right approach clearly then develop the system the wrong way because someone who demonstrably knows less about system design is insisting on it. A final skill is the awareness not to say 'I told you so' the moment you deploy and it becomes obvious that the mangled implementation has problems. Who says developers have no social skills?

  • Jim B (unregistered)

    "You can't fix the brain-keyboard interface".

    "The perfect, idiot proof program is always defeated by the perfect idiot".

  • (nodebb) in reply to TheCPUWizard

    Understanding the psychology of what drives different people to perceive different things is a complete field of study, and one that the vast majority of software developers have any working knowledge of.

    Yup. Some people call it interaction design, some call it user experience design, and the academic side is often called human-computer interaction (or, if you're the ACM, "computer-human interaction").

    There are also people--business analysts--whose purpose is to gather, understand, and communicate requirements.

    Any commercial operation really needs to have at least one person in each of those roles. By not providing Dimitri with appropriate support, his employer set both him and his users up for failure.

  • dpm (unregistered)

    "a clue-bat"? Are you a monk, snoofle?

  • (nodebb) in reply to dpm

    This can also be called a Clue-by-4, used for knocking the Idiot Ball out of the client's hands (and brain).

  • Carl Witthoft (google)

    Over in AcademiaLand there's an ancient anecdote which is usually blamed on the senior member of the local Math or Physics Department. Scene: professor standing by blackboard, writing out some derivation.

    Professor: And from that equation, it's obvious that we derive this relationship next... LostStudent: Excuse me, but that doesn't seem obvious to me! Professor: Hmmm. [Professor leaves lecture hall for 20 minutes] [Professor returns] Professor: Yes, it is obvious.

  • eric bloedow (unregistered)

    i can't help but think of a scene in the online comic "schlock mercenary" where someone was so clueless that a "clue-bat" wasn't enough, so someone else brought out a "clue-hammer 40,000". https://www.schlockmercenary.com/2005-08-12

  • Pjrz (unregistered) in reply to jkshapiro

    I've certainly come across my share of clue-less customers who have no idea what they really wanted (including "fields that not mandatory...but users should always have to fill them in" and someone who wanted to try out a program to see if it did what they wanted before we actually developed it (so they would know before we developed it whether it was what they wanted). So, yeah.

    But agree with jkshapiro in that there should really be someone in-between the customer and the developer who job it is to sort out actual customer requirements (with the use of a baseball bat if necessary).

  • Zenith (unregistered) in reply to Nutster

    Clue-By-Four is the version I've heard too.

    In my career, I've worked with very few people that understood the need to keep an interface familiar. No, I don't necessarily think you've done the wrong thing here, although we don't have much specific information to go on.

    That was never so obvious as when the state of Pennsylvania decided to "modernize" its tax system. They had used IBM text-based terminal software for decades. If you've ever used WordPerfect for DOS, that's not too far off. Anyway, certain key codes accessed different parts of the tax records. Not super intuitive but it was really fast to do everything with just a keyboard once you memorized what codes went to what screens.

    So Accenture comes along and pushes this $250M SAP monstrosity on us. SAP is a real monkey's paw for those who long for a GUI to replace an "outdated" console. Slow as molasses running uphill in the winter inside a black hole would be a flattering description on its best days. Imagine a dropdown containing 50 states that takes a full minute to load. Each. Time. You. Click. It. If it doesn't time out and take the entire page it's on with it.

    The worst part? They never put in buttons to go to different screens. You had to back out to the main window to type in key codes. And, you can't make this up, all of them were totally different and even further detached from whatever they navigated to.

    Management actually signed off on this, paid millions more for "training," and then couldn't figure out why productivity plummeted. As a reward, many of the folks driving this disaster were promoted into CIO positions to lead a state-wide reorganization of IT. And that's why government is so fucked up.

  • (nodebb)

    Here's TRWTF: "It should be totally different, but exactly the same as the current application."

    We have SIX of these here. The one that cuts the paychecks as been "totally different" for 18 years.

  • (nodebb)

    Yes, a clue bat. There was someone who had a bat with the words "Get a Clue" carved into the bat.

    For the curious: https://www.etsy.com/listing/211711758/personalized-35in-rawlings-baseball-bat

  • Andrew (unregistered) in reply to Robert Morson

    That's great insight really: "obvious" == "familiar". I wonder how often that bites developers?

  • snoofle (unregistered) in reply to herby

    That would be me... https://www.dropbox.com/s/cxgrau6wldoa7il/bat.jpg?m

  • ooOOooGa (unregistered)

    Artificial intelligence is no match for real stupidity.

  • Loren Pechtel (google)

    Clue-bats just bounce off skulls this thick.

  • CommanderInChief (unregistered)

    "Thank you, Captain ..."

  • (nodebb) in reply to TheCPUWizard

    and one that the vast majority of software developers have any working knowledge of.

    I think you meant "and one that the vast majority of software developers do not have any working knowledge of."

  • bvs23bkv33 (unregistered)

    looks like he is Dmitri Chernyshov, our architect

  • RLB (unregistered) in reply to dpm

    Is the Monastery still alive, then? For... reasons, I haven't been on usenet for a while.

  • (nodebb)

    Interesting coincidence, or unsafe Object contamination?


  • tharg (unregistered)

    Hmmmm. "Obvious".... There must be Windows 8/10 Metro/Modern/Ghastly GUI joke in there somewhere, but it's not obvious.

  • Little Bobby Tables (unregistered)

    There's something to be said for the strategy which develops a mock-up of the front end to show to the customer to see if they like it before starting actual work on integrating it with the back end.

  • RLB (unregistered) in reply to Little Bobby Tables

    @Bobby Tables: Yes, until you actually try that, and get told that it's far too much work for them to look through all your design and you should just code it right the first time.

    Yes, that happened to me.

  • Little Bobby Tables (unregistered) in reply to RLB

    ... and so you left that toxic environment and took your skills to a place where they employ responsible professionals?

  • Letchprecaun (unregistered)

    Wait, isn't "discoverable" the opposite of "obvious"? Which means all trendy flat no-button GUIs are wrong. Wait, I'm supposed to move the mouse in a counterclockwise circular motion over the black-and-white graphic of a collapsed chess piece? That's the obvious way to submit a comment?

  • RLB (unregistered) in reply to Little Bobby Tables

    No. Couldn't afford to. Actually, after that, it did get a lot better, because I got to speak with the people who would actually use the product. And some of them actually had some clue.

  • Faded (unregistered)

    If you are a consultant charge him triple. If you are a corporate developer take three times as long to do the job. Stupidity should always be punished.

  • (nodebb) in reply to Little Bobby Tables

    Exactly. Measure twice, cut once.

  • (nodebb) in reply to Carl Witthoft

    One of Raymond Smullyan's anecdotes:

    When I was a graduate student at Princeton, there was circulating the following explanation of the meaning of the word "obvious" when used by different members of the mathematics department. I shall not use names, but letters.

    • When Professor A. says something is obvious, it means that if you go home and think about it for a couple of weeks, you will realize that it is true.
    • When Professor L. says something is obvious, it means that if you go home and think about it for the rest of your life, the day might come when you will see it.
    • When Professor C. says something is obvious, it means that the class has already known it for the last two weeks.
    • When Professor F. says something is obvious, it means that it is probably false.
  • b.a. freeman (unregistered) in reply to Zenith

    the saddest thing about your story, Zenith, is that i have met people who swore by SAP. i suspect that if it is deployed correctly, it can be a fantastic tool, but the 2 deployments i have seen were quite bad. let me be clear, though; PA's deployment sounds far worse than the 2 i used. in any case, it's another case of management using a screwdriver to pound in a nail.

  • Axel (unregistered)

    "Where's the START button on this Windows screen?? I need to click on START so I can shut it off!! Whaddaya mean, there's no START button anymore? It was so obvious!"

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