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Raise your standards

·1 min

I gatecrashed LugRadio Live last Saturday and went to an excellent talk by Matthew Paul Thomas about reporting usability problems. Matthew has reported well over a thousand bugs against Launchpad itself (many of which have been fixed) so he knows something about the subject.

Matthew gave six pointers on how to report usability problems, but for me the single most striking one was this:

Raise your standards

When you are using an application with the aim of improving its usability, you need to shed all of your tolerance and forget those many workarounds you’ve learned. Drum your fingers impatiently while you wait for something to load. Think of how this would look if you were showing it to a sceptical friend.

The point struck me because so many times as an application developer I’ve thought to myself “it’s good enough” or “it will work for now”. Really though, that’s not good enough. I should work until the thing I’ve added is invisible, or at least fun to use. I need to raise my standards.

Having raised one’s standards, the trick is then to avoid the traps of perfectionism. Do you have any thoughts on how to walk the road, avoiding the pitfalls, standards held high?