Straight Outta Usability

For the last two days Judd has been a passenger on the Usability Express here at Intuit. I was in Usability last week for one of my projects, but we just had a handful over two days time. Judd’s group is doing more than that for his project, and I’m currently sitting in the lab observing a subject. The labs here are pretty cool, and I think its great that the programmers get the chance to actually see the end users interact with designs and prototypes.

Anyways, I have to ask any programmers out there the following question: if you were told that by using syntactical language feature X in your code you would run a higher risk of bugs, and if it were logically trivial to NOT use that feature, would you continue to use it? The answer for many programmers is apparently “yes.” The thing that bothers me the most about it is that if one’s opinion is, “Well, feature X CAN be used in bad ways that promote defects, but we’re using it correctly so we don’t have to worry.” In that case, should a bug manifest itself in the described code, how will the programmer quickly establish root cause? How could they, period, if they’re pre-emptively declared their most suspect code as shippable?

I think that component and application design should flow from certain rules. Of course you CAN do X, but if it produces untraceable bugs a nontrivial percentage of the time why would you even bother? Figure out a better way. If you’re chained to an existing codebase, at the very least you could figure out a different way to do it from here on out. I’m not talking about pattern usage or some other overarching architectural component. I’m talking about not using ‘gotos’ in high level languages, or not using for(;;) unless you are a certifiable madman.

I’m sure 99% of the readers won’t understand this, but part of the reason this blog exists is to vent my thoughts, and sometimes my thoughts don’t necessarily track with WWF and stupid, vapid movies like Baby Geniuses.


13 thoughts on “Straight Outta Usability

  1. personally i’m just happy if i can click on the text rather than the line under the text to follow a link, and that the page format doesn’t break every time someone says w0000000000000000000000000000000000t CALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL WONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN A MARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR-ATHON.

    i’m not bitter though….

    also, this should be 2 lines down. I’m sure 99% of the readers won’t understand this.

  2. 10 PRINT ”
    many real time systems MUST use for(;;)…

    if you care about execution time and what the CPU is doing every clock tick, then the time for them comes up quite a lot. you do understand that the ASM that the compiler spits out is ONLY goto and for(;;) and assignment, so it only stands to reason that those operations should be available at the high level for the people that NEED to use them. your point is not that people shouldn’t use them, it’s that they probably don’t NEED to. and you are right.”

    20 GOTO 10

  3. and also you post and it shows the page before it shows the post. BLAST. usability arguement on the least usable website of all time… you drive me to liquor. bye.

  4. I understand your problems and I wish I could fix them, but mostly Movable type sucks nuts and problems like the Eating of <br/> are in their code. I mean, what does it take to get an easy-to-setup, -use, and -maintain content management system? Apparently a lot. And I see your point about goto and for(;;), but if you need to optimize that badly you should be writing ASM code directly rather than attempting to write ASM logic in C++ which will probably get generated into completely different ASM than you intended based on the compiler design. I never claimed whazzmaster itself was a paragon of web programming. The design sucks balls and its built on top of a shitty blogging system. I’m lucky that it does what it does as it is, which is let me and 5 other people swear about things online.

  5. nothing is bad except the stuff i said… if that all worked, this would be the greatest website in all the world. can’t you just find the spot that takes the data in or spits the data out and take out the code that strips new lines? then alter the side module to have overflow area instead of fucking up the layout. then alter the script that takes the post and make sure it completes the insert before querying for display. then i can sleep happy.

  6. well, i ran into your wife in the first picture, but no, it couldn’t be that simple. so i continued on and ran into no less than 3 gems.

    how about we start off with easily the ugliest duo of all time: i am mean

    but come on, this couldn’t be it either, so again, i trek on to find what i call: syphllitic mexican and his friends the chinese hooker and the albino: i hope he doesn’t have cousins in minnesota

    but then the gem finally fell into the light and it’s glory shined onto the spot where the funny was burried. yes. like in indiana jones. i call this one: drop it like it’s hot girl runs into a disgusted hater with fucked up hands. enjoy

  7. Update. I now know what Tim Slyvia was doing away from UFC when he had his arm broken. He was on Blind Date with some drunk slut who didn’t find him attractive because he doesn’t drink. WOW. He did claim that all he likes to drink are “…two fufu drinks with whipped creme. And I don’t think anyone is going to say anything about it.” WOW.

  8. how 2004 of you to just see those now… were you going for that retro thing? because it’s totally working. 2004 is SO YOU.

    wait a minute. i’m so lame i catch episodes of blind date on their first run.

    either way all i remember thinking was “all these dudes know is fighting… nothing else… i mean, look at this guy… he is completely worthless outside of a physical match not involving guns, preferrably with no eye gouging or biting allow… oh, and could we do that in a padded octagon? yeah… squares are just so… cramped”

    jesus christ, i lost a lot of respect for that guy. if you can’t work the “i fight in UFC, and i win” game on semi attractive girls on national tv where they are willing participants to at least spend a day with you… i mean jesus. god man. jesus.

  9. put this dude in the restaurant… i bet he isn’t sizing up everyone, he certainly isn’t focused on the girl… i truly believe he is staring around looking for floor space to do some triangle pushups to “totally blow up my tri’s for the bar scene in my tight shirt”.

    tim sylvia is a fag and i challenge him. except i get a gun, and gouging is back fucking on. UFC pussies.

  10. Madd Scientist v. Tim Sylvia, Battle of the Stomachs, “Fat Against the Flat”, COMING AT UFC 55!

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