Roland Turner

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Usable software, a game of inches

Dave Winer on software usability (via Joel Spolsky):

So when I say “inch by inch” — that’s what I mean. To create a usable piece of software, you have to fight for every fix, every feature, every little accomodation that will get one more person up the curve. There are no shortcuts. Luck is involved, but you don’t win by being lucky, it happens because you fought for every inch.

Inspired by Al Pacino’s speech in Any Given Sunday which sets my hair on end every time I hear it:

You find out life’s this game of inches, so is football. Because in either game — life or football — the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow, too fast and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They’re in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when add up all those inches, that’s gonna make the fucking difference between winning and losing! Between living and dying!

In fact Joel’s entire post is pretty inspiring and one that I’d forgotten about. My focus at BoxSentry is shifting to SQA; this view describes my mindset fairly succinctly.