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

Thinking About the Right Way to Do Something

November 15th, 2010
tech, mbtaplot  [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:

Maybe it’s not me– it’s grad school

Just a low effort post. I would love a mutually supportive comment discussion about it (because I’m not on facebook). Twitter replies would be nice, too.  I appreciated this post from Ben Kuhn, Grad school is worse for public health than STDs. In it he ca…

via Holly Elmore December 11, 2019

Grad school is worse for public health than STDs

(The way you can *really* tell something is horribly wrong is that grad students find PhD Comics darkly funny, not just dark.)

via benkuhn.net December 8, 2019

I’m Giving a Talk About Construction Costs Tomorrow

By popular demand, I’m giving the talk I gave 2 weeks ago at NYU, again. The database will be revised slightly to include more examples (like Ukraine, which I added between when I gave the talk and when I blogged about it), and I may switch around a few t…

via Pedestrian Observations December 2, 2019

more     (via openring)

More Posts:


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