I just had another run-in with WordPress over its “improved” system that makes me want to get hair plugs so I can tear my hair out, so this Comment of The Day by first time commenter Null Pointer is timely. This time, I was asking why I could no longer embed a CrowdSignal poll with a few clicks, and was forced to use the default WordPress poll feature which prevents a voter from checking the polling results without voting repeatedly. “Oh, it’s easy!” I was told by the cheery customer service agent. First, I have to register on the CrowdSignal site, and set up an account, and..and ..and…
I cut off the chat after writing that apparently WordPress doesn’t comprehend that my time is valuable, and that adding multiple steps, not to mention the need for constant assistance deciphering inadequate instructions and explanations, to accomplish what was once quick and straightforward is neither an improvement nor appreciated.
Usually first-time comments who score Comments of the Day are single issue participants, and are never heard from again. I hope Null Pointer is an exception.
Here is his or her Comment of the Day on the post, WordPress Is Unethical, But It’s Not Just Them:
You are blaming the wrong people. I am a software engineer, and I promise you it is not me or other programmers who decide to add ridiculous complexity to the UI/UX. Those decisions are made by either a UI designer, or a businessperson.
As a software engineer, I try to push back on stuff like what you are describing, but I get paid to write code, not second guess the business. 99% of the time no one is going to listen when the software engineer tells them what they want is a bad idea (or just plain stupid).The UI being different in different places probably indicates that features were requested throughout the development process, and added at different times, by different people, and possibly designed by different UI designers , assuming there was a UI designer at all.
Many times there is just a businessperson requesting features, and a bunch of software engineers carrying out those requests. If there is no UI designer, that makes the programmer the UI designer, and we are not trained to design software interfaces. We are trained to write code. Some of us are better than others when it comes to considering UI/UX, but pretty much none of us have actually been taught how to formally create uniform, easy to use, aesthetically pleasing software interfaces.
Additionally, when you add features willy-nilly like this, you end up with spaghetti code unless there is a lead developer overseeing what everyone is doing. Generally speaking, there is usually no one person designated to do that. The bigger the software engineering team is, and the more parts of the code are outsourced to cheaper contractors, the less likely it is that there is someone keeping track of what everyone is doing. What ends up happening is the same code is duplicated in multiple places in the code base and used at random in different places by different people, which results in the same feature being different in different places.
What I am trying to say is that we don’t do it on purpose because we are evil, cynical smartasses. Software engineering is complicated, and at the mercy of non-software engineers who like to order us to do stupid things….
It is very true that end users often say they want something when that isn’t really what they want. Adding a middleman is not the solution I prefer to employ to solve this, however, as it often just turns the process into a giant game of telephone, with additional places for misunderstanding to be introduced.The best way to solve this problem is to create prototypes, either using design software or with simple, throwaway code, and actually show it to the end user requesting the feature. Take feedback, redesign your prototype until the end user agrees it is what they want, and only after that agreement is reached, implement the feature. This process is called focus testing or user testing, and in my experience produces the best result.