Monday, April 9, 2007

Programmers with an Entrepreneur's Mind

I found this blog post rather interesting:

10 Tips for Moving From Programmer to Entrepreneur

What piqued my curiosity was this is a programmer who came to his own realization that he must have a business mindset as a programmer in order to be successful. Some of the same things he discovered are the same things I have been long communicating to the IT community when it comes to creating usable software and web applications.

Here are a few quotes that caught my attention and some comments:

Design is everything, relative to the competition. Your product has to be nicely designed. Standard programmer square boxes with gray backgrounds don’t cut it! ...People DO judge books by their covers.
In other words, the user interface is important. Don't let the coding or the programming manifest the interface. The end-user could care less about what is behind the scenes as long as the application meets their expectations in terms of looks and function.

Admit that you don’t understand the end user and rectify that. There’s a good chance that the software you are writing is in a domain you are not an expert in. You need to understand the actual customers. Talk with them. Without talking to the actual end users you’ll never know what features you’re wasting your time on and which ones you don’t have that are critical.
In most cases, it's as simple as a job / task analysis. If you are able to understand what the end-user does, what tools they need to accomplish their tasks and under what conditions they will be conducting their tasks, you are on the road to truly understanding the end-user and creating an application that meets their needs.

Remember to design for ease of use. Even advanced users like easy. Your user interface is no place for fancy technology tricks. Keep is simple. Advanced users love simple just as much as newbie’s.
I think the tendency for most programmers is to use the interface as an example of their skills. This is not the place for it. When it's all said and done, it's about the end-users and their needs - not what you can do as a programmer.

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