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The deterioration of IT

  • 07-09-2022 10:59am
    Registered Users Posts: 8,123 ✭✭✭Ray Palmer

    I have been dealing with computers for 40 years and it is my profession. As a result I have seen a lot of different operating systems, GUI, hardware etc...

    Initially computers were certainly not user friendly but with time you could figure it out using books. Many kids my age at the time just used the computers to play games but I was programing including creating programs for the maths homework in school and selling it. Back then it actually meant I had to get a lend of certain computers to reprogram it for them. Even basic wasn't uniform on home computers (not PCs).

    Anyway going through all the various different changes to IT computers became more uniform making life a lot easier. There was still variation with Apple being an obvious example of radically different interface. Time moved on as Windows became more like Apple and vice versa. Overall lots less variation and web interfaces being more popular and now the basic way to do most things

    The weird thing is standards were way higher before. Now I go to a website, app or program and they don't follow design standards or even consistent with itself. I remember the manuals explaining the rules for using drop down, toggle button, prompts etc... This is the language of the design. Now you can see that different programmers did different parts and don't know or agree a standard.

    Went to a website and it asked for my number with a prefilled drop down showing "+353" and you enter your number without the zero is what that means. Enter my number as it prompts but it throws up an error saying "this is not a valid UK number" I enter the leading zero and it then accept it. How this was programmed and tested to have this just shows how the standards were not considered or known?

    I worked in a company that needed to upgrade the GUI to make it easier to use their main software. The whole point was to make it so it was consistent and the "highest" standard. They proceeded to remove all keyboard shortcuts, change table selections with drop downs, prompt buttons were used for multiple functions but not actual prompts etc... It made anybody with experience as slow as a person who just arrived in the door, screens were unusable as result of drop downs etc... The showed it to the users and they were horrified but they put it in anyway as it was "new" and "better", mild improvements to response times was all it did. Spoke to GUI developer and he didn't even know the names of GUI items or what they were for.

    The young IT staff I meet now find anything that isn't GUI like a website they get really confused. There is an old software that works like old Apple with drag and drop functions that actually do things. Fill in a form and then you drag it onto a application item and it processes it. Very simple but the new guys can't grasp it. Am I the only one seeing this?



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,433 ✭✭✭victor8600

    Them youn wans don't know nothing!

    Soon they will be voice programming like: "Computer, build me a nice website"

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,123 ✭✭✭Ray Palmer

    Don't get me wrong older people are making these decision and don't know what the standards are either so not directing the projects correctly and many will never use the software themselves. They have a budget and a project so they do by budget and timelines regardless of the outcome. When you see €1million spent on downgrading a user interface it is very disheartening. They could have improved the existing GUI for €100k instead.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,872 ✭✭✭EmmetSpiceland

    I try to avoid dealing with the IT grunts as much as, humanly, possible.

    The tide is turning…

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,123 ✭✭✭Ray Palmer

    You do use websites, apps and programs though?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,209 ✭✭✭Nate--IRL--

    GUI design has definitely followed form over function with the rise of touch interfaces.

    More whitespace, and less information on screen at one time, has become the fashion for non touch interfaces now too.

    Try using a modern interface on that 14" monitor you have stashed in your datacenter rack, it's impossible to navigate.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,123 ✭✭✭Ray Palmer

    Except there are IT people like me who are there to deal with users and the less social IT workers.

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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 18,908 CMod ✭✭✭✭Ten of Swords

    But Moore's law still applies, right?



  • Registered Users Posts: 9,445 ✭✭✭Flinty997

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,995 ✭✭✭SuperBowserWorld

    So, the OSs have native support for consistent UIs across applications.

    The problem is cross platform apps and web apps which are lowest common denominator and much more malleable. E.g. the MS Teams desktop app is broken and less functional than native MS apps for example ...

    It's incredible that these UIs keep changing and software gets rewritten across the board. New hardware required and very little actual productivity added in the apps. Apple, MS, Google all reinventing their own wheels.

    It's a trillion dollar snake oil salesman trick.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,192 ✭✭✭timmyntc

    Moore's law is dead

    We now live in the era of the 'chiplet'.

    No not THAT type of chiplet, the computer one:

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,123 ✭✭✭Ray Palmer

    Thing is it did nothing right. It should see if there was a zero and accept when there or not there but the error message was wrong too as it was an Irish number not a UK.

    If they wanted it with the zero they should state it rather than use the international standard which specifically does not require it

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,445 ✭✭✭Flinty997

    This reminds me where I complained about the lack of meaningful error messages, and explained why an error message with technobabble was "error 7" or such was entirely pointless to an end user. But the Program manager said it was a valid error message. I gave up at that point. You get a lot of that pedantic BS in IT these days.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,445 ✭✭✭Flinty997

    Used to be you could do magic with a computer, save people hours of tedious task, do amazing things.

    These days its all confusing people so badly they give up and return to using pencil and paper.

  • Registered Users Posts: 233 ✭✭Fallout2022

    You know that some people will include the zero and some won't. You branch the code to deal with either. You can trim the zero and send

    the number on to the same function or you can send a message box back to the user to clarify or change their input.

    The thing shouldn't just present an error code and come to a stop.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,995 ✭✭✭SuperBowserWorld

    I'm not sure what that ribbon ever added. It's so confusing.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,123 ✭✭✭Ray Palmer

    Common practice to give error messages the user doesn't understand so they don't do anything more damaging. When errors appear and you want the user to contact support desks using such an error message can be put in. The amount of panicked call you can get from an innocent error message that has a line like "possible data breach" in it means it is best to hide the information. We had one error message that was very intentionally misleading to catch people gaming the system after repeated warnings.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,445 ✭✭✭Flinty997

    Sorry but thats a half assed way of dealing with it.

    Its variation of security through obscurity.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,445 ✭✭✭Flinty997

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,445 ✭✭✭Flinty997

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