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Sarah UKFast | Account Manager

Welcome to Userville

16 May 2006 by Chris N

Working in IT is only marginally less stressful than working at CTU, a recent poll suggests. Well colour me surprised – bet if you did a similar poll of carribean beach-bar barmen they’d be moaning about the hazards of falling coconuts, and you’d probably find toy testers losing sleep over the incorrect rendering of Barbie’s eyebrows.

A good deal of this terrible stress is brought upon us IT types by the dreaded Users. As someone said in the poll – ‘I spend most of my day fielding calls from people who don’t even have a basic knowledge of computers and printers. It is amazing the amount of time I spend teaching people where the on-off button is.’ Well whenever I hear this kind of thing, I’m on the user’s side, because computers are the most ridiculously designed things in the world (aside from that new rendering of Barbie’s eyebrows, of course).

I used to work in a public library and had to help people who’d never used PCs get on the internet. Why do you have to double click those icons to start ‘the internet’, then only single click everything else? What recycled products does the recycle bin churn out? Why can’t I turn it on and off as I please, instead of waiting for all sorts of odd stuff to happen? Who is that paperclip and what does he want from me?

Us lot have been using these interfaces that are completely unrelated to real life for years, but most normal people haven’t, and are not interested in tinkering and learning about them like we are. We shouldn’t moan about them, we should moan about the design of these systems in the first place. I should be able to talk to this thing as if I was Captain Picard by now, instead of tapping away like someone in a typing pool in the thirties.

Computer, end blog!