Monday, 26 April 1999
Computer experts are special people ( They have a congenital brain disorder that surfaces in a number of ways: a special way of communicating, a whole own way of thinking, an own jargon (.../dictionaries/...) and an appreciation for logic jokes ( such as: Mailmen don't have an easy job. On the contrary, they do. ( O dear, what joy.

Most computer experts consider computers to be an extension of themselves. Structures, schema's, hierarchies and Boolean logic are a piece of cake for them. A lot of technicians look at users a a part of their applications, as a peripheral that supplies faulty input.

Watch how a computer nerd reacts when a user faces trouble with an application. The nerd will put the blame on the user. No doubt an irritated sermon will follow instructing as how the user (stupid peripheral) should use the software. Sorry for the technicians, but software should be adapted to employees, not vice versa.

In contrast with nerds, normal people have a whole different view on computers. To users computers are just a tool, just like pen & paper, copy machines, agendas and phones. These things are utensils for daily work.

Fortunately most every day things have been designed pretty well and thus easy to use. Users tend to ignore badly designed machines, or they use just a restricted subset of understandable functions.

The mass public now embraces the world wide web. The quality of a design is now more important than ever. A good design becomes more and more a competitive advantage. A badly designed website will drain revenue. Yet, the top 10 mistakes in webdesign are omnipresent.

Users need good software, designed with skill for normal people, not fot the deviating group of computer experts. User, know your Bill of Rights. Don't be intimidated by the communication gap between nerds and normal people. Hire a GUI designer who is familiar with both ways of thinking.

And yes, this computer expert welcomes comments and suggestions for improvement on the SUMit site.

Till next week!