For every new line of code, for each new feature added or cleaned up I'm on the front line. Firing it up, poking around and stumbling over bugs, then carefully trying to recreate.
After creating functionality, ease of use is the focus. And bugger me that's the real hard part! What is ease of use?
First step is easy (duh), minimise number of clicks, right balance of number of features, speedy reaction and no scrolling please.
Second step being the elusive "intuitive" - and that I'm always giving up on. Ask a chap who's used to Windows and get one answer, then ask somebody running Gnome and you get another.
So I'm trying my best to not-think-computer-interfaces and reach for the moon; the other stuff we do on a daily basis. Wish me luck and ask me in fifteen years how it went!
And don't get me started on "pretty"! Anyway we outsmarted that one - all css files are open, please feel free to change!
The first part is going well, and for the second area I'm in luck as most terms in my system are user-defined so I'll let each user decide, with a little help of course. Not only terms, but process flows as well. Despite many existing standards, reality is different; each organisation has it's own ways and good is that. And believe me, reality in most organisations is usually quite different from the internal and neat flowcharts once created.
But I've found one quite unexpected effect when the system gets easier to use:
I get sloppy!
I'm invited to become sloppy and god knows I grab that invitation with both hands. The easier and faster I can build the sloppier I get, most unfortunate.
My system requires good and solid logic; it's after all a Business Model I start out to build, processes and report templates - the engine, chassis and control of a
car business. Omit a small but important step, do the wrong sequence and lo and behold - it does not work very well.
If you'd been around me you would hear the occasional muttering of "bugger, bugger, another bug" - then followed by a slap on the forehead and a relieved "ouch, how stupid am I??". Yep, I am relieved when I find out it's me and not the system that is stupid.
So how can I fix me? Not that easy if you ask my family. I can try to hold my hand of course but then I end up in "intuitive" land again, a lose-lose situation that.
Thing is that when I buy a car I find it easy to use, but the good folks that designed it and built it were fastidious, precise, organised and thorough. Sloppiness not accepted. I the driver is allowed much more leeway.
Thingamy as a system for an end-user is like the car, but building the Business Model therein requires more of the attitude displayed by the engineers of an F1 team than the local drivers of battered Renaults.
I'll do my best to supply the very best tools for the Business Model building engineers, but I have to insist on fastidiousness, precision and focus. Sorry, life requires it sometimes.
Cannot really see how I can avoid that. But I can promise a huge surge of pride with a job well done with end-users going about their daily work in a uncomplicated fashion, just like me in my modern car.