::  Posts  ::  RSS  ::  ◂◂RSS  ::  Contact

Thinking About the Right Way to Do Something

November 15th, 2010
mbtaplot, tech  [html]

Often I'll ask people what they think of a program, and then when they say reasonable things about how they'd like it to work I explain the technical reasons I've not done what they'd like. I'm trying to keep myself from doing this. Instead I should talk to them and figure out what the right way to do it is. Then, once I understand whether this would really improve the interface, I should start thinking about how I would implement it. [1]

I didn't do this very well with julia's most recent suggestion. I had modified my mbta plotting program to show little bubbles over upcoming stops indicating how long until your bus arrives in response to a click on the bus:

When julia pointed out that as time passes the bubbles just stayed there without keeping up to date, I was good and didn't just say "it would have been too hard to do that". That would have been a false explanation, claiming the limit was from the technology instead of from me. I was dumb, though, and let ease of implementation distract me from the most usable solution: I said "ok, then, I'll just make them go away after a minute" instead of "ok, then, I'll make them update automatically". This was me looking for an easy solution instead of the right one. The easy one is to hide inaccurate information; the right one is to make the information accurate. Thinking about how I would want the program to work if I were using it might have helped. Which I guess is another thing for me to work on.


[1] In theory I might decide instead that it would be too much trouble, but for the most part as this is something I'm doing for fun I want to make it be as good as I can. People tend to ask for doable things, at least the people I've asked.

Recent posts on blogs I like:

How Fast New York Regional Rail Could Be Part 2

In my last post about New York regional rail schedules, I covered the New Haven and Harlem Lines of Metro-North and the Main Line and Hempstead Branch of the LIRR. I was hoping to cover more lines tonight, but due to time constraints only the Hudson Line …

via Pedestrian Observations October 17, 2019

Strong stances

I. The question of confidence Should one hold strong opinions? Some say yes. Some say that while it’s hard to tell, it tentatively seems pretty bad (probably). There are many pragmatically great upsides, and a couple of arguably unconscionable downsides. …

via Meteuphoric October 15, 2019

What do executives do, anyway?

An executive with 8,000 indirect reports and 2000 hours of work in a year can afford to spend, at most, 15 minutes per year per person in their reporting hierarchy... even if they work on nothing else. That job seems impossible. How can anyone make any im…

via apenwarr September 29, 2019

more     (via openring)

More Posts:


  ::  Posts  ::  RSS  ::  ◂◂RSS  ::  Contact