What users can tell us... [Was: Browser Mode by Default]

<quote who="Shane O'Connor">

> Perhaps, but in all the time we had browser as the default I never once
> heard anyone complain about it or ask why we couldn't have spatial mode as
> default. 

Sorry, but it's important to point out that this is the wrong way to argue
the problem. Users didn't know and hadn't complained about not having a
flexible, dynamic, tabular calculation system until VisiCalc turned up and
suddenly, that was a massive hit. Our users, on the whole, do not know what
to ask for. They don't have enough of an understanding of what a computer is
capable of to know what we can make it do. That's why we design software...
while they do heart transplants, write generation-defining music, teach 30
children how to read every year, etc. :-)

Spatial was a bold design choice on our side, that I believe unfortunately
failed to be attractive or satisfactory to users. There are lots of other
design choices we've made that users didn't ask for (and had never thought
about) that have succeeded.

This may sound like I'm saying "don't listen to users". More accurately, I'm
saying "think very carefully about how much a user can really tell you". :-)

- Jeff

linux.conf.au 2006: Dunedin, New Zealand               http://linux.conf.au/
    "Orphaned farm-boy hero helps save world against bad-guys, begins a
   journey of self-discovery, and makes interesting friends. Passable." -
                        Andrew Bennetts on Star Wars

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