[darcs-users] Re: 5 Year Old Bull in a China Shop

Thomas Zander zander at kde.org
Mon Mar 21 19:07:43 UTC 2005

On Sun, Mar 20, 2005 at 12:56:44PM -0800, Michael G Schwern wrote:
> And there's some good Donald Norman quote about how users typically don't
> report their failures because they just assume they're using it wrong
> therefore what gets back to the designers often has the "dumb" mistakes
> filtered out with two consequences.  For every failure reported there might
> be dozens who are encountering the same failure and don't report it.  Some
> very common failures don't get reported at all, they're considered too small
> by the users or the users all assume its their fault.

Thank you for your open admittance to your very opinionated way of working.
I'll point out where I come from;
I have been doing professional usability research and UI design for 8 years
now with various companies and also in open source projects.
It is my experience that users that write about their percieved problems
will almost never pinpoint the real problem and end up in 100 users posting
50 different opinions on how the problem should be fixed.
Donald was not talking about tools when he pointed out users don't report
failurs, he was talking about everyday things (think doorsknops,
refridgerators etc).  If you open the archives of this list you will note
that many users have shared their problems with us.  Many even think its
faster to write an email then to read the manual.

> This all adds up to my 5 Year Old Bull In A China Shop approach.  I am the
> 5 year old bull.  darcs is the china shop.  I'm a bull so I'll just plow
> through darcs and see what shakes lose.  I'm a 5 year old so I'm going to
> keep questioning any decisions that don't make sense to me "Why?  Why?  Why?  
> Why?" hopefully finding those decisions which really didn't make much sense 
> but everyone's just gotten used to it.  It can get annoying but its very
> useful.

This approuch might work in some cases; but it definitely is no substitute
forfollowing some simple rules like consistency and workflow.  Adding hacks
to the interface will never give you a satisfactory result.

I really appreciate your intentions, you are also free to your opinion and
we like to hear them!
The progress we make together on this great tool will, however, be many times
greater with an approuch of respect for knowledge and experience verses your
5 year old ignorant wizkid trying out all of our patience.

If you really want to help; try out your different suggestions in a
comparative user-test.  3 people per side is more then enough.
If you like to discuss your question-chart before you actually start any
test, please feel free to mail me!

Thomas Zander

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