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Bazaar Explorer by Pictures July 3, 2009

Posted by Ian Clatworthy in Bazaar, Collaboration, Open Source, Usability.
6 comments

While building a GUI application is pretty easy these days, designing a good one remains a difficult problem. It took many years before I found GUI emails clients more productive than pine and just as long before programming in an IDE was more productive than the best editors around. As a dedicated fan/developer of Bazaar, I’ve spent most of the last few years being a command-line junkie. In recent weeks though, I’ve started up a project that aims to change that: Bazaar Explorer. (more…)

It Takes a Community to Raise Great Software July 2, 2007

Posted by Ian Clatworthy in Bazaar, Usability.
4 comments

Last week, I outlined the criteria I felt were most important in Version Control software and focused on Adaptability. This week, I want to focus on #3 on that list – Usability. What aspects of usability really matter? How can we maximize the chances of building great software that users will love to use? These are important questions relevant to most software teams in my opinion.

Many teams makes the mistake of thinking that usability is primarily about ease of use. Other teams make fast performance their main focus and make compromises accordingly that hurt overall usability. Both ease of use and fast performance are important but the real key to usability is task efficiency.

In the end, users simply want to get things done. Ease of use is important because it lowers the time required to learn software. Easy to use software also assists users complete infrequent tasks (which can be most tasks for casual users). Performance is important because time is a precious commodity in our busy lives and every few minutes – even seconds – count, particularly for power users. However, focusing on these and forgetting task efficiency is a massive mistake, one so large that it almost cost the IT industry its credibility in the business world …

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