Concern for the User

According to Boing Boing

Blogger has relaunched today, with standards-compliant templates, comments with spamblocking, streamlined blog creation, and page-per-post — the kind of things that we’ve come to expect from a modern blogging tool. The redesign was executed by the arch-geniuses of Stopdesign and Adaptive Path, and it shows. This is a beautiful redesign, both in terms of look-and-feel and approachability for novices.

This evaluation may be right on the money, but a serious paying user of the Blogger product had this to say yesterday:

Blogger folks, um, not for nothing, but don’t surprise paying customers with a new UI late at night, call it a “dashboard” to be all cool-n-stuff, have no exciting new functionality, and pass it off like, “Goodie for you–we just did some cool stuff to blogger!”

It’s not cool. It’s goofy. And it’s slow. Let us have the option of using the old UI.

thank you.
sheesh–like we don’t have enough problems.

Jeneane will roll with it and get used to the new look and feel, but the situation points to a watershed difference between web development and old fashioned bounded systems development. Namely, back in the day you didn’t surprise your users with changes. You included them every step of the way.

Posted in Tech Tools
5 comments on “Concern for the User
  1. Elayne Riggs says:

    I don’t care much for the changes, although I can probably understand why they’re done (I should think to streamline things on Blogger’s end rather than the users’ end). Used to be a split window, with current editing on the top and a searchable calendar thing with all the text of previous posts on the bottom. Now you have to saerch completely separately, and you only see the first few words of the post rather than the entire entry. A bit of a pain.

  2. andrew says:

    Nah, it’s the difference between traditional top-down SDLC and modern Agile development methodologies. Users were exactly surprised with changes back in those days.

  3. fp says:

    Yah but… one of the key strengths of a well elaborated System Development Life Cycle was user involvement and acceptance at go-live. The agile methodologies (like Rational rose for example) may involve prototyping and successive approximation, they may involve quality tools like a Plan/Do/Check/Act but frequently they slipstream user acceptance as a checkpoint following production release rather than as a dependency for release.

    OTOH, the Blogger updates met with mixed reviews, some liking it – some hating it. You can’t please all the people and there is a product life cycle thing at work here too, as well as a Development Life Cycle.

    Anyway, good developer comment Andrew. And thanks for your end-user perspective Elayne

  4. andrew says:

    OK, user acceptance at go live is too late. It might be reasonable to take a year to build a house and then ask for approval, but in a rapidly changing business environment where the customer doesn’t even really know what sort of house they need right now, let alone in a year… it’s crap. Agile — like XP or Crystal — demands intense user *involvement* throughout the process. IMHO, it’s the only reasonable way to develop software.

  5. fp says:

    Of course the acceptance at go live is simply a milestone on a project plan and user involvement throughout the life cycle is assumed. Not everyone worked that way in the days when SDLC was dominant, but not everyone involves the users today either. Hybridization is called for on complex projects. Quick development techniques in the coding effort are needed, but there are a range of business issues that still need to be considered and controlled. Here’s one good article that includes a broad look at devlopment today. It refers to a “fusion of methodologies (sorry iot is Microsoft-ish, it’s not vendor specific really):

    http://stylusinc.com/Common/Concerns/SoftwareDevtPhilosophy.php

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