Re: Every year is worse
“All too often, technologists solve problems by introducing additional layers of technology abstractions and disregarding simpler solutions, such as outreach and engagement,”
As a counter to that, sometimes we do that because not doing it is viewed as laziness, incompetence, or worse.
User: I loaded this file which starts as valid XML, then goes into complete corrupted garbage. The program crashed.
Programmer: [Idea: engage the user] Sorry about that, but this program doesn't handle corrupted files. In this case, could you repair the file and send that through?
User: You're just going to let your terrible code crash when it receives invalid input? How unprofessional can you get?
Programmer: Point taken. It's not great. I can do something to at least prevent a crash.
[One day later]
User: I put the corrupted file through today, and it doesn't crash anymore, but it doesn't work.
Programmer: What happens?
User: Nothing happens. It just ignores me.
Programmer: [Idea: user experience outreach] Can I watch how you're using it? [...] Why did you just close that message box? [...] Yes, but could we just take a look at the message to see if it's an error I have to fix? [...] See, it says the file is corrupted and needs to be repaired. So you need to repair it.
User: So you're just giving me the error message and making me deal with it?
Programmer: [Engage? Outreach? Options exhausted] Let me think about this and get back to you.
[Three days later]
Programmer: I'm thinking we should have a library which can parse truncated XML, present the user with a graphical structure document, and provide them a rich editor so they can repair data without modifying a file. Either that or an office in a different building and some code to intercept and delete emails.