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Like this article? We recommend Mistake 6: Viewpoint Is Everything

Mistake 6: Viewpoint Is Everything

Anja was a software user, and among her responsibilities was data input. She noticed that order entry was especially cumbersome for one particular application. Based on her years of experience, Anja had a few ideas on how to streamline the process. She submitted a suggestion to the company, and the company owner took notice. After several meetings, everyone agreed that Anja's idea was a good one, and they decided to implement it.

During the six months that followed, the development team leader kept Anja's beneficial suggestion on hand. In fact, the original paper became a bit worn. However, no one actually talked to Anja again. When the application upgrade was delivered, it had all kinds of new bells and whistles—which actually make data input far slower. It turns out that the development team took the opportunity to add lots of features that no one requested (or wanted). After a few months, the upgrade was considered a flop, and the company downgraded the application to the previous version.

The moral of this story is that users aren't interested in gizmos or neat ideas. They're interested in writing a letter (or performing other tasks that result in a paycheck) in the minimum amount of time. Users don't care about the latest technology unless it somehow helps them to perform their jobs better. When making updates to an application, it's important to get the user's viewpoint, using mockups and other techniques.

Developers don't use applications—they create them. Users use the applications, and they need something that fits their perspective of the task at hand.

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