user requirements and comfort zones

Wed, Sep 12, 2007

I was reading an interesting post from Joel on Software today. It’s about the difference between Windows and Mac font rendering technologies. Perhaps that’s the reason my eyesight is now crap. I’ve been staring at blurry fonts for the last few years. I must thank Apple for putting art above practicality. I always knew the desktop was clunky compared to Windows. But that’s another story.

The reason the article piqued my interest was this quote:

…when you ask people to choose a style or design that they prefer, unless they are trained, they will generally choose the one that looks most familiar…

I can certainly agree with that. The CLAN UI requirements document was just a load of Blackboard screen shots.

So how does this affect the brave new world of Integrated Technologies (our new dept)? Well, unless we change the way we gather requirements, no matter what application we’re building for users, we’re just going to get a load of screen shots of existing applications as requirements. So we must change how we handle requirements gathering. The developers need to be close to the users, or their representative and the users have to be someone briefed to “think outside the box”.

Quite a considerable challenge.

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