Wednesday, December 21, 2005

User perspectives

I just came across a blindingly good observance regarding information management systems, that goes to the heart of much of which concerns me.

That most IM systems are designed to store and manage information from the perspective of those who created the information. Not from the perspective of those who need to access the information.

There is so much to consider in this simple statement - so much that spans almost all of IT. I do believe that we are starting to see the pendulum swing the other way slighly, but only slightly.

It is interesting to observe - on a differing but parrallel track. The very slow change of user interfaces from early windows/apple to today's version - contrasted with the huge amount of progress in processing power on the back end of systems.

One has to wonder if the same amount of funding that has gone into R&D for code and silicon development over the past ten years, had gone into studying user interactions with technology, where we would be today?

Very little R&D (out of the total) has been excuted on understanding IT from the persepctive of those who need to access the data/information it holds.

The whole point of the rennaisance (from my perspective at least) was that the Arts & Sciences for once worked together. We discovered things like perspective and the golden section for example. The sciences in isolation are not always a healthy thing, and if we look at technology in the enterprise it easy to see the scale of change over the past 20 years. But this has not resulted in happier or (arguably) more productive workers. We have changed the way we work, but not always for the better.

The arts (and here I include psychology and sociology) are miserably under-represented in the tech industry. I believe that this needs to be redressed over the coming years, to ensure that the great progress at the code and silicon level, begins to deliver true and lasting change - change for the better in the workplace.

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