Talking to Users

Hehe… This is so true:

I was working on a little online app for my company once, and I asked them if they want to have give users different permission and access levels. They said no. I added some rudimentary access control in anyway, but left it disabled by default.

2 minutes into the demo, they decide that they need 3 permission levels – for standard users, reviewers and administrators. It took me maybe 5 minutes to enable my access controls, and lock out some areas. If I coded it to their spec, I would have to spend hours re-designing my app.

Rule of thumb: the spec should be 40% of what users want, and 60% of what you think that users need. In most cases at least half of your guesses will be right-on-target. So your app has a chance of being be at least 75% of what users really need rather than measly 40%.

You can sell them the rest of the features as “fluff” or “enhancements” – in most cases they will not mind this stuff unless you make them pay out of their arse for it. In worst case, use modularity so you can remove crap that they do not want.

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