At LegalTech New York, I will be on a panel organized by Law Technology News and Corporate Counsel, called "What I Hate About Technology, and What I Expect My Outside Counsel, Co-Counsel, Vendors and Employees to Do About It." That got me thinking about my pet peeves.
First, why do so many IT folks focus on the software itself, instead of the task it should accomplish? I hate when programmers develop programs to meet their needs, rather than those of the actual user.
Similarly, I hate cloud computing -- relying on Web-based tools or "Software as a Service." Anything that takes power away from individual users and moves it elsewhere is horrible. Apart from debates about reliability and security, it is a retrograde move back to the era of the mainframe, where we were reliant on the high priests of the systems department to get anything done.
To ensure effectiveness, which is driven by clarity and relevance, automation tools should be as close to the user as possible. Nothing should enter the real world until it reflects how real people act, and has been thoroughly tested by real people. Successful technology works when it mimics how people think and behave.
It is far easier to sell something that meets a need than convince someone they need something new. Identifying that need and how people think about it takes imagination and creativity, not programming skill.
Think about how Hollywood studios imagined automation tools when they were freed from the need to worry about making something that actually worked. The Walt Disney Co.'s "Babes in Toyland" (1961) had what we would recognize today as a CAD-CAM device to magically make toys. Michael Crichton's "Disclosure" (1994) featured a 3-D search through a visual database that everyone watching instantly understood. Some of Apple's database technology gets close to this, which is why the iPod and iPhone are so popular.
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By: Ted Banks