Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Programmers please do meet Designers

As an open source programmer I try to make my code very flexible and customizable. This means that my code may be read by someone else and take extra modules or be applied in various environments and still behave in an optimal way. This is achieved through a variety of options and parameters passed at run time by the end user. Sounds cool, right?

Well, this demands a configuration file, in the worst case, as long as the number of options the code parses. Of course all is set to default and the end user may never notice but what happens when we go GUI?

A Graphical User Interface is connected to a "user-friendly" way of controlling a program or a computer in general. The problem starts with the way people understand this. For me, user-friendly is when I am given a list of options (well documented of course) which shape the program according to my wish. For someone else, user-friendly is a program which contains only one button "Run" and NO options. The user clicks "Run" and it runs, no questions asked. The user will never understand what is going on. The program may not work properly or may not work at all. The user doesn't know. As long as nice balloon messages pop up, everything is smooth.

So... it is very important to take the burden of GUI from programmers and establish communication channels with designers. Otherwise you'll get something like this:

No comments: