ARCHIVE - Work complaints - Got to gripe somewhere

Archive: Mon Nov 2 17:06:45 2009
Title: Work complaints - Got to gripe somewhere
Mood: angry
I don't like sounding like a petulant child, but I tend to like working with intelligent people and when the people I work with do dumb things, I tend to lose respect for them (we are not talking dumb things like a bad cut and paste error, we're talking dumb things like not realizing that they could use cut and paste in the first place).

Last week, I finally got around to making a visual change to one of our landing pages. Screen real estate is fairly valuable. You only have a certain area to work with, so you want to put important features high on the page and less important features on sub-pages or where the user has to scroll down to see them.

On one of our landing pages, there were a series of links that represented functions that will only be exercised occasionally by some of our users. They won't even be visible to most of the users (just blank spaces for them). These links were products of very early "sketch" layouts done by a cow-orker who is no longer here and they are absolute prime candidates for moving to secondary pages, so I moved them. In their place, I put functions that will be used daily by a majority of our users.

Now, another thing about landing pages and things like that. You do not want to make changes to them too often. As any developer can tell you, users are dumb. They do not like change and will be confused even if you remove a link they don't use.

I wanted to make the layout change before delivery of the final code because to make the change later will generate confusion among the end users. I would have made it a long time ago, but I was busy designing the back-end code that actually runs the site and didn't have enough time to fix all the little visual improvements that the site needs desperately.

So I made the change to the layout and our testers complained (note: we have 2 testers, not a whole suite of them).

They had pages of scripts that were "invalid" because the links were now wrong. These are not automated scripts. These are hand scripts that they follow. i.e.: Go to this page, click this link, on the next page, enter 12 in the text box, etc...

The change I made would mean that they would have to adjust their scripts to click an intervening link on one page. Something most people can get used to. And again, this is a distinct improvement that will have very positive improvements for our real end users.

I was overridden by my boss who sides with the testers because he doesn't want to "invalidate their scripts"???? (remember, these are NOT automated scripts).

So we are going to deliver a bad layout to users who will not want it changed after delivery, all to keep two testers (who are supposed to be intelligent, remember) from having to mentally add one step to some of their tests.

So, yes, my respect for some of my cow-orkers just went way down. And what really bugs me is that to lots of our in-house engineers, I am the face of this tool even if it is mostly a team-effort. So this bad-design very directly reflects on me and I don't like it.

So now I am very pissed and don't feel like coding today... which is not good since we do not have many days left before we go live...


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