I’m a software developer and one of my major focuses and motivations is to develop quality software. I refuse to build software that is hacky, down right crummy or falls over under a bit of stress. Yes I live in the real world and sometimes deadlines demand shortcuts, but most of the time I’m very proud of the software I create.
So what are the visible user centred differences between high and low quality software?
It’s quite easy to see when software is shoddy. This could be OEM bundled software, custom intranet applications, or even a well known enterprise product that has taken over the market. I’m sure you have memories where software blue screened or stopped working before you could save the document. Applications that were not throughly tested by QA and were not written with a clear understanding of the business requirements are loaded with bugs. When these software applications are used in the real world the bugs appear and cause intense frustration to the poor users.
The applications we use that are true quality are the ones that we hardly notice. Quality software has an intrinsic property of not getting in the way and allowing the user to focus on their action, instead of focusing on the application. It’s as simple as that.