‘Do You Want to Write?’

Michael Lopp, writing about Writer Pro:

Preferences are a sign of design laziness; they are an indication the people responsible for building the application don’t have enough empathy or desire to do the work they intend to be paid for: design the application so I that I can work, not think about how I might work.

He listed Word, Excel, and Photoshop as examples of “kitchen sink” apps which are packed full of features. I’d add to that list OmniFocus. I think the above quote encapsulates my issues with a lot of apps these days in general.

I’d recommend ignoring all the ridiculous stuff going around about patents surrounding Writer Pro (they’ve wisely decided to drop the whole thing) and just check out the app, especially if you make software. Writer Pro is an exercise in stripping an app down to what is needed, not what is asked for.

There’s an old adage about how we got cars with tail fins in the mid-1950s. It goes something like this: “instead of asking people what they wanted in a new car, they started asking people what their neighbor would buy.” And then we got cars with fins.

I can’t find a reference for this, but the adage seems to encapsulate the design decisions of a lot of software. Designing what you think the user wants instead of pairing things down to only what the user actually needs. It feels nearly impossible to do at times, especially if you dislike people emailing you screaming for features. But I think it is the direction that good, nay great, software is headed.

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Article Details

Published
by Ben Brooks
1 minute to read.


tl;dr

Michael Lopp, writing about Writer Pro: Preferences are a sign of design laziness; they are an indication the people responsible for building the application don’t have enough empathy or desire to do the work they intend to be paid for: design the application so I that I can work, not think about how I might […]