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[Discuss] Its not possible to make things easier for users


Your anecdote is amusing, after a fashion, because it is a reference
example of terrible customer support. You put all that effort into
meeting "the spec" without a lick of understanding of what the
customer wanted. I'm not surprised that you got chewed out over it.
You screwed it up.

My counter-anecdote is this. I support 13 research groups at MIT. One
of these groups is conducting an experiment in a deep mine in New
Mexico. They need to get data from there to the their computers in
Cambridge. They asked for something, I don't remember precisely what it
was. Instead of blindly implementing whatever it was, I sat down with
them, discussed what they were doing and what they needed. We all agree
that the solution that I provided based on that discussion works MUCH
better than what they would have had I blindly done what they asked.

I've been dealing with non-technical users for around 25 years. They do
know what they want. They frequently don't know how to ask for it but
that's something else entirely.

> The problem with "Joe Consumer" is that you are right, they don't
> know or care about "it" as long as it works, but they get bent out of
> shape when it doesn't.

This isn't Joe's problem. It's yours. When you agree to deliver
something it gives Joe the impression that you understand what he
wants. If you don't actually understand Joe's desire then what you
deliver isn't going to work the way Joe expects. You promised him "X"
even if his words requested "Y" and you delivered "Y" instead of "X".
Of course he's going to be cranky about it.

I do think that Joe is an idiot and I think even less of him because he
has no desire to improve his technical understanding. Even so, this
does not exonerate me, or you, or anyone reading this, of failure to
meet Joe's needs.

Rich P.

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