Shiny and Useful – A Software Manifesto
Posted by Amy Wilson on October 19, 2009
- Bestowing technical wizardry … for technical wizardry sake
- Delivering the perfect solution … for one particular customer
- Fashioning a shiny new widget … for oohs and ahhs in a demo
Thing is, these aren’t easy to do. They require talent. It takes conceptual savvy to craft a technological innovation, analytical skills to persevere through a customer’s requirements, and a keen eye to cultivate a visual masterpiece. We find ourselves congratulating and rewarding ourselves when we make them happen.
And yet, they are traps. They are not useful to our customers. Not in isolation. Yes, we must engage our users with visual appeal. Yes, we must exploit the power of technology to help our users make better decisions. Yes, we absolutely must listen to what our customers want. And, most importantly, we must make what we are building useful to the people we are building it for.
It ain’t easy. In fact, I’d say it’s nearly impossible. The Holy Grail of Software Development, so to speak. Shiny, innovative and useful. That’s what it’s all about.
What does it take? First, it takes time and patience – a realization that many customers must be consulted and several iterations are required. Second, it takes a diverse set of talents – technical, functional, user experience – working together and appreciating eachothers’ value. And, third, it takes a whole lot of luck.