It doesn't break anything



  • One of my co-workers just said this in a meeting:

    "It doesn't break anything, it just causes confusion."

    When it comes to usability, aren't those the same thing?



  • Not exactly. Necessarily. Confusion might just delay the user doing whatever. Breaking totally prevents it. Though sufficient confusion has that effect, too.



  • There's "breaking" from an IT perspective, and "breaking" from a workflow perspective.

    If the user can't get their work done, it doesn't matter if the database is unavailable, or if the button that they need is hidden in a dialog that they aren't aware exists. It's broken to them.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    Where does Discourse fit into this?

    Filed Under: Had to ask!


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @chubertdev said:

    There's "breaking" from an IT perspective, and "breaking" from a workflow perspective.

    Merely confusing is a “Yes/No/Cancel” dialog where the meanings, while making some sort of sense and actually providing all the choices you'd want, depend on a weird interpretation that no user is likely to divine without pure guesswork. There was an example posted in another thread recently, but my tolerance for finding things with Discosurch is low… Broken is when things actively hinder you from getting things done (or passive-aggressively hinder you sometimes). If things are sufficiently confusing, pedantry is the only reason for not labelling them broken, but there are many broken things that aren't confusing, just plain old not working.

    Broken tends to lead to confusion, usually in relation to “WTF were the developers smoking?”



  • In this case, it was something that didn't send records from system X to system Y, but only after certain criteria had been met. System X doesn't tell the user what that criteria is, so the user usually reports that it's "broken", even though it's just the second-worst design that I've ever seen.

    The design is what's flawed........it's broken architecturally.



  • Jesus fuck why did discourse scroll to the top of this topic while I was middle mouse clicked scrolling down and your post came streaming in?

    Fucking fuck.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @dkf said:

    Broken is when things actively hinder you from getting things done

    Or the example I found in a web page someone was testing changes to: broken is a "are you sure you want to delete this record?" confirmation dialog that deletes the record no matter what button you click.

    Yes, it was coded almost correctly--multiple bugs caused the "cancel" code to fall through and let the delete happen.



  • @dkf said:

    Broken is when things actively hinder you from getting things done

    TDWTFDiscourse actively hinders me from getting work done.



  • My distinction would be "confusing" = "you have to learn it, and maybe even think about it when you use it, but it works" and "broken" = "doesn't work".

    Of course I fairly often use "broken" more sarcastically for something that works, just badly.



  • @EvanED said:

    My distinction would be "confusing" = "you have to learn it, and maybe even think about it when you use it, but it works" and "broken" = "doesn't work".

    Of course I fairly often use "broken" more sarcastically for something that works, just badly.

    True, but only when limited to the scope of the mechanics of the application. My ponderance of thought weighs in whether we should include the design, as well.



  • @chubertdev said:

    My ponderance of thought weighs in whether we should include the design, as well.

    "Broken by design"

    The obvious example, of course, is obvious. It works (mostly) the way its designers intend, but few of us here would argue it isn't broken.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @chubertdev said:

    My ponderance of thought weighs in whether we should include the design, as well.

    Absolutely! If the design is fucked, the implementation won't fix the problem.



  • It's the consistent way of thinking here, too. It really bothers me.

    As another example, we have an app that allow you to "Complete" a process (the terms that I'll use are generalized). When the user is ready to Complete the process, there's a screen with the data created by the process, and a button to Complete it (which does multiple things). Sometimes, the Complete button is grayed out, depending on various factors, such as required data, required actions, the user's permissions, etc.

    But does the app tell the user why they can't Complete the process? No. At least, not until the ticket that I submitted.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @chubertdev said:

    But does the app tell the user why they can't Complete the process? No.

    Ah yes. “Computer says ‘no’.” I hate that.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @chubertdev said:

    But does the app tell the user why they can't Complete the process? No. At least, not until the ticket that I submitted.

    What? That's called "self-directed training." By the time the user gets the button to ungray, he knows what he has to do.



  • @FrostCat said:

    What? That's called "self-directed training." By the time the user gets the button to ungray, he knows what he has to do.

    The problem is, the process involves a large number of users, so it's usually not the person pressing the button that has to do the work.

    It's basic usability 101.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Whooosh, dude.



  • @FrostCat said:

    Whooosh, dude.

    Yeah, yeah, I got ya. I'm just really frustrated. I have a handful of tickets to correct this bad design, but I'm surrounded by the people that created it.

    Imagine the "Body is invalid, try to be more descriptive" toaster preventing you from submitting a comment.......but there's no message as to why. You hit Reply, and nothing happens.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @chubertdev said:

    Yeah, yeah, I got ya. I'm just really frustrated. I have a handful of tickets to correct this bad design, but I'm surrounded by the people that created it.

    Imagine the "Body is invalid, try to be more descriptive" toaster preventing you from submitting a comment.......but there's no message as to why. You hit Reply, and nothing happens.

    Oh, I'm totally with you. I was trying to lighten your burden with humor.

    Go listen to "The Twelve Pains of Christmas" with special attention to "rigging up these lights." It won't help, but hopefully it'll make you laugh.


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