Implications of programming outside your professional domain

This is a discussion on Implications of programming outside your professional domain within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; I'm currently developing an interactive Flash presentation to run on pharmacies touch screen monitors. You've seen these before... Now, I'm ...

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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Implications of programming outside your professional domain

    I'm currently developing an interactive Flash presentation to run on pharmacies touch screen monitors. You've seen these before...

    Now, I'm not a designer. Not very good at it either. I'm "just" a programmer. But was given a certain creative freedom for this project as long as I use the materials the pharmaceutical gave me.

    When a designer tells me my creation sucks, I take it as gospel. If he says so, it's because it sucks. I go back and change it. I'm not trying to defend my creative process or my professional honor; As I said I'm not a designer. There's nothing to defend. What I may do sometimes is express my opinion: If my aesthetic standards tell me their alternative solution sucks, between both sucking options, I may think mine sucks less. But that's it. The designer has the last word. He just learned my personal opinion.

    So when I tell a designer that what they want to do is technically challenging or simply not possible (within the current development time window, or budget), I expect them to understand that I'm now talking on my grounds. That's my domain. He should take it as gospel and either increase the budget or give me more time (depending on which). Concerning programming, what I say goes. There's no debate. I may be willing to hear his opinion though. But, as before, that's it.

    Because I'm stupid, I tend to respect other people's space and the knowledge they acquired during their careers. Unfortunately I'm not that lucky finding others who do.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    Yeah, I was quite amused when a designer friend of mine initially criticised the design of a website that I worked on, then apologised when he found out that I worked on it. I told him that it did not matter: I merely translated the design from image prototypes into clientside code with just a few minor tweaks, and those images were created by another friend of mine, who is an engineering student. (The actual web designer kind of went missing.)
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    In this situation, I always ask 'why' when told to change something. I don't want to get confused between someone else's preference and a real reason. If there's some sort of rational reason, I want to learn it for next time.

    I haven't had the misfortune of others not respecting my experience, but I can see how that would be supremely frustrating.
    If I did your homework for you, then you might pass your class without learning how to write a program like this. Then you might graduate and get your degree without learning how to write a program like this. You might become a professional programmer without knowing how to write a program like this. Someday you might work on a project with me without knowing how to write a program like this. Then I would have to do you serious bodily harm. - Jack Klein

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    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    So when I tell a designer that what they want to do is technically challenging or simply not possible (within the current development time window, or budget),
    Unfortunately that attitude simply doesn't work. I find there is a better way to say you cannot do 'exactly' what they want but you can still give the impression that you are attempting to meet their needs. Find pieces of what they want that you can implement in the time and budget given and begin to make compromises with them. Usually when you take this approach the other party realizes that you are willing to do a little give and take to get the project done.

    Remember when someone questions you they are not questioning your experience. They are questioning usually due to a misunderstanding or a lack of information. Proper communication is the answer to these types of issues. Give off the air of willingness to go the extra mile and willingness to discuss which pieces of the design you can do and which pieces are 'troublesome'. I never use words like can't or won't b/c they do not paint the task in the proper light nor do they help the situation. Can't simply is not in the vocabulary. Can is the key word....but can encompasses a wide range of ideas. Just because you 'can' does not mean you should and just because you can does not mean you have the time nor the money. Usually you can spin these things on their head and end up reaching an agreement in the end.

    I'm currently developing an interactive Flash presentation to run on pharmacies touch screen monitors. You've seen these before...
    I highly recommend you go to Microsoft and review their GUI guidelines. They have a lot of great information that they themselves have followed over the years in Word, PowerPoint, and other applications. I think the ribbon bar concept violates all of these guidelines but that discussion is out of the scope of this thread.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 08-04-2010 at 10:12 PM.

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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Remember when someone questions you they are not questioning your experience.
    It however bothers me when its done with an authoritative stance. Especially when I do my best to exactly not do that.

    But this is also a cultural problem, I must say. When people openly support cheating and lying at work, and where incompetence and low productivity values are actual skills, it becomes acceptable to question anyone when they say "I can't do that. Not with this budget and not in that time".

    I never particularly enjoyed having been born a latin.

    I highly recommend you go to Microsoft and review their GUI guidelines. They have a lot of great information that they themselves have followed over the years in Word, PowerPoint, and other applications.
    Yeah, I'm sort of on top of it. The user interface (for the kiosk mode, not the administration mode) is extremely simple so there's not much concern there. My main concern at this point is guaranteeing resolution independence, which is a pain to do in Flash

    I haven't had the misfortune of others not respecting my experience, but I can see how that would be supremely frustrating
    Very. It can be said it depends on the person. But on my case, I deal badly with the thought of someone mistrusting my intentions. On airports, for instance, I hate knowing that the officer in front of me doing a "random" search is suspicious of me. It's that bad.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    Woof, woof! zacs7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    I highly recommend you go to Microsoft and review their GUI guidelines. They have a lot of great information that they themselves have followed over the years in Word, PowerPoint, and other applications. I think the ribbon bar concept violates all of these guidelines but that discussion is out of the scope of this thread.
    Except they changed the guidelines... The usability expert that helped come up with the ribbon spoke at my uni a few years ago. It's the result of usability testing, thank the users

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