December 01, 2006

Lessons from our Usability Study: Part I

The most educational part of the original Graphing Calculator 1.0 development process was sitting behind a two-way mirror for five days watching first-time users, students and teachers, trying to use our software. It was a humbling and enlightening experience. Anyone doing any aspect of software development: engineering, design, support, documentation, as well as user interface folks, should be subjected to the experience. Though the our study was done with version 1.0 way back in 1993 many of the lessons we learned were timeless.

Two recent blog posts bring one particular lesson to mind. Coding Horror warns This Is What Happens When You Let Developers Create UI and Arno Gourdol discusses The Design of the Mac OS X Shutdown Feature:

It is the job of the software designer to make choices on behalf of the user. That's what designing is all about.

Continue reading "Lessons from our Usability Study: Part I" »

August 08, 2006

Breaking into Apple

Larry Osterman comments on The Graphing Calculator Story

It's an "interesting" story, and I have to say that I was aghast when I read it.  And my jaw dropped even further when I read the Digg comments about it....

For some reason, the people reading the story actually thought it was COOL!

Now think about it.  These people were so dedicated to their product that they were willing to BREAK THE LAW to get it into Apple's OS....

Apple CANCELED their project. Apple made an executive decision to not produce the product.

And the developers decided to override it by BREAKING INTO APPLE.

There are a bazillion other ways they could have handled it: Building it on their own and trying to convince Apple to put it in the product, etc.  But no, they chose to STEAL from Apple.  And the policies of Apple were sufficiently lax that they let them get away with it.

The discussion going on the comments on Larry's blog is a fascinating consideration of the ethics of the situation. I find myself largely sympathetic to his reaction. He is not wrong.

Continue reading "Breaking into Apple" »