Feature Matrix Obsession

by havoc

Nice
to read this article
because it rings so true. Usability advocates
such as Alan Cooper point out
that feature-matrix-driven development results in bad design and bad outcome
for users.

However, that I remember Cooper doesn’t point out the cause of
feature-matrix development. I hate to do it but I’d place a big part
of the blame where this Microsoft Money guy does: reviewers.

There’s nothing more frustrating than to spend many months figuring
out what your users want, then read a review where the reviewer has no
idea who the target audience is or what they could really benefit from.

What makes this especially bad is that it’s the overwhelming rule, not
the exception. Reviewers have no idea what would really make a
product good or bad
, they just do a feature matrix or review the
product as if the target audience were magazine reviewers.

Do we need a Consumer Reports for software, based on real research
and knowledge?

Why don’t developers just ignore reviews? Because reviews have real
impact on what people think and do. Not just for commercial software;
volunteers writing free-of-cost software are sensitive to this as well.

Getting a clue for more reviewers and pundits would probably do more
for usability than evangelizing every programmer in the world. The
developers will come over naturally if the incentives are in place.

(This post was originally found at http://log.ometer.com/2004-07.html#3)

My Twitter account is @havocp.
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