This may not win me any friends in the development community. Those folks are like cats.
Everything has to run their way. “Hello, human. It’s 5:30 am and my food dish is empty.” I love cats and have owned them all my life (if anyone can really own a cat). I live with four right now. So I understand ”hello human. It’s now 5:31 and I’m still waiting.”
Likewise, developers have a fixed way of doing things — I grant that it’s in everyone’s best interest to make sure the work yields the same results every time. I’d be upset if clicking an icon did unexpected and random things. I’d be upset if sending an email turned off my laptop.
I learned long ago that a set of well-understood and fixed procedures would bring results, and that not being consistent caused stress and weirdness. I found a bug in PageMaker 4 that not only corrupted my work but caused my computer to reboot.
As the end user, it was up to me to find out why, and in doing so, I learned the hard way about troubleshooting. My creativity kept getting in the way — I wanted to change everything and make the problem go away. After much anguish, I discovered the technique is to test only one factor at a time and they add up. One factor, one test; two factors, three tests; three factors; six tests. It’s that ages old algorithm but it’s not an instinctual process. Took me a long time to catch on. Since I was downloading data from an AS400, the variety of inputs was substantial. Oof.
Then — after several dozen tech support calls detailing my painstaking results, Aldus finally sent a rep on-site. He had me show him everything I’d done. Finally he admitted that I had, indeed, found a serious, previously unknown, problem and he couldn’t think of any other ways to test it. He expressed amazement that I’d figured it out all by myself. Aldus bought me dinner-for-two at a high-class restaurant for helping them improve Pagemaker.
So, I heartily applaud the work developers do and the way they do it. Systematically, meticulously, consistently.
I’m more of a dog. “Y’know, if we hook on my leash this way, we might have more fun on our walk. On the other hand, I’m cool if you wanna do it some other way, as long as we go for that walk.”
That’s the creative mentality. If it brings the desired results, it’s good. If doing it in a different way brings the same/similar results, it’s good. If some other beneficial results show up, it’s good. If it’s good, why stick to the same old boring routine.
They CAN be intermingled. Whether the icon shows a pen or a pencil, if I can doodle a squiggle, I’m happy. However, if the icon brings up a typing insertion point, for example, I might have to re-evaluate the developer’s sanity. It’s not the icon I question, it’s the result.
Dogs and cats. Creatives and developers. Art meets life.