I am the first to admit that I have some technology challenges. I also have poor visual attention to detail. Those things aside, I am rather frustrated with those individuals who design software I am required to use.
To take an example from today's news, a woman was subjected to grueling interviews after she mistakently checked a box indicating she had engaged in terrorist activities as well as genocide. This was some sort of Visa application. I would assume most aspiring terrorists would mark no, but somehow she nudged the mouse and it was incorrectly submitted.
Governmental websites are the worst when it comes to finding the information you need, not to mention being difficult to use. Is the problem that the software is designed on the subcontinent and exported?
Any answers? Any hope?
|"The deals you miss don’t hurt you”-B.D. Raney Sr.|
I have an answer for the .gov side of software design.
Poorly written scope of work, lowest bidder.
I work in maintenance at an army depot. Lowest bidder is one of the things killing us.
|Unapologetic Old |
Lowest bidder, lowest skill, designers with no concept of user friendly
I used to work for a German engineering company. The Germans kept making these ultra complicated screwy very user non friendly software screens for these machines. We would say you need to simplify this... They felt the problem was not that it was too complicated, it was just we were too stupid to learn it.
- "This town reminds me of something in the bible."
- "Which part?"
- "The part right before god gets angry"
Any sort of governmental is as stated lowest bidder plus poor requirements.
Other software may suffer the same for similar reasons. Instead of lowest bidder, I’ve found it’s often unrealistic expectations of the time required to bring a product to a stable, useable product. Timelines that are set by a management with no understanding of the complexity or scope of what needs to be done. Couple that with poorly documented requirements and, again, unrealistic assumptions about how the software will be used.
Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for thou art crunchy and taste good with catsup.
The Obama Care website comes to mind.
"If you can't be a good example, then you'll have to be a horrible warning" -Catherine Aird
I work for a transit authority in Pennsylvania, we offer 18 month contracts to our vendors based on low bid, responsive and responsible bidders. We are extremely careful to write the contract specs exactly to our needs. Vendors meet those specs. The system works well. The purchased product is quite good. Both parties are happy.
EVERY government website I've been on, absolutely sucks and takes 5 different pages and menus that any other website would take 1 page to get where you want to go.
I have frequented retail sites selling guns and ammunition that are designed so poorly I just move on to another supplier. A nice clean layout of your products and easy checkout is all I ask. Amazon gets it right. Make it effortless to buy your product.
I speak jive.
I've designed, built, managed, deployed, and maintained a few hundred million bucks worth of government software contracts over the last 20ish years...
They're consistently over-promised, under-staffed, under-funded, and behind the 8Ball before they even start. Blame the assholes who sold it without dealing with these realities.
What's actually true is that it's astonishing anything works well at all, given these realities.
Hug your friendly neighborhood software developer, as they're never really the problem.
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