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Talking Tech

Are you interested in understanding the underlying technical philosophies that guide application development?

Go with the Work Flow:

Databases often resembles the inside of an airplane cockpit. Programmers love technology, and create impressive control-panel designs that reflect the complexity and cleverness of the coding, rather than simplifying the job at hand.

Data may drive software operations, but it is actually the user's workflow that is central to good design. Software should tell a story of the job at hand, guiding users forward. A well designed application will actually teach a new user his or her job.

Unfortunately, being flexible humans, we become accustomed to adapting to our software rather than the other way around. We need to remind ourselves to resist low-expectations. and always visualize the ideal interface. Having put in that mental effort, the ideal is often just as easy to program, and always results in far less work for the user, now and forever.

Placing the end-user workflow front and center results in a program that is approachable and needs little explanation. Yes, there is a place for context-sensitive help which should accompany the user, step by step. But manuals and tutorials should only be required for programmers and tech staff who need to dive into inner complexity that should otherwise remain hidden.