Subject: Re: User-facing applications
From: Lynn Winebarger <>
Date: Thu, 28 Mar 2002 02:31:07 -0500

On Wednesday 27 March 2002 22:03, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> >>>>> "Lynn" == Lynn Winebarger <> writes:
>     Lynn> On Wednesday 27 March 2002 15:34, David Fetter wrote:
>     >> On Wed, Mar 27, 2002 at 03:18:50PM -0500, Lynn Winebarger
>     >> wrote:
>     >> > Usually they can't really tell you what they want within
>     >> > reason (clearly what they want is a telepathically-linked
>     >> > DWIM machine, but that's a useless answer), or even know what
>     >> > they want - except that what you've got isn't it.
>     >>
>     >> That's not a terribly productive attitude on your part.  Those
>     >> people are at least as much a part of the reality of making
>     >> software as the machines on which the software runs.
>     Lynn>      It's a fact, not an attitude.
> You're 90% correct, but the way a fact is expressed matters.  (The 10%
> is in the assumption that _nothing_ you can do will elicit "what they
> want within reason.")

      You're right.  I didn't mean to say that nothing you can do will elicit
reasonable (implementable with available resources) requests.  I don't
think I did, actually, but rather that they won't be able to specify it
without (often a lot of) give-and-take.  Usually (my experience) they'll
be able to say what you have is not what they want rather than put their
finger on exactly what they do want.  I figured the reference to RAD would
make clear I was referring to the trial-and-error (and educated/insightful
guess) approach to UI design, but I guess not.
      BTW, I wasn't being deprecatory in my earlier message when I said the
typical user views a computer as a magic box.  I don't look down on people
who don't take a car engine apart at least once to see how the internals work
together, either.  Looking at things as magical is an individual perogative
(people have to allocate the minutes of their finite lifespan as they see fit).