[thelist] OT: Programmer's night before Christmas

Madhu Menon webguru at vsnl.net
Wed Dec 20 00:22:39 CST 2000

This is a programmer's version of the Christmas story:

      'Twas the night before implementation and all through the house,

      not a program was working not even a browse.
      The programmers hung by their tubes in despair,
      with hopes that a miracle would soon be there.
      The users were nestled all snug in their beds,
      while visions of inquiries danced in their heads.
      When out in the machine room there arose such a clatter,
      I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.
      And what to my wondering eyes should appear,
      but a super programmer (with a six-pack of beer).
      His resume glowed with experience so rare,
      he turned out great code with a bit-pusher's flair.
      More rapid than eagles, his programs they came,
      On update! on add! on inquiry! on delete!
      on batch jobs! on closing! on functions complete!
      His eyes were glazed-over, fingers nimble and lean,
      from weekends and nights in front of a screen.
      A wink of his eye, and a twitch of his head,
      soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
      He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
      turning specs into code; then turned with a jerk;
      And laying his finger upon the "ENTER" key,
      the systems came up and worked perfectly.
      The updates updated; the deletes, they deleted;
      the inquiries inquired, and closings completed.
      He tested each whistle, and tested each bell,
      with nary an abend, and all had gone well.
      The system was finished, the tests were concluded.
      The users' last changes were even included.
      And the user exclaimed with a snarl and a taunt,
      "It's just what I asked for, but not what I want!"

And for that hopelessly off-topic post, I definitely owe a tip... (unlike 
some of the other OT posts ;)

<tip type="form design">

Users hate to fill out long forms that require them to divulge everything 
from their annual income to their dog's name. If a person feels, "Damn! 
It's going to take me 15 minutes to fill all this crap up", they're not 
going to bother. Keep registration forms short, especially for things like 
subscriptions to email newsletters (you really only need the email address 

But the sales guy yells, "we need our demographic data!" :)

He has a point. But if you really need to get all that info, make it 
optional *after* registering and offer a carrot of a lucky t-shirt, mug, 
whatever. Make it worth the user's while to fill up all the fields. But 
don't make it compulsory.

Lastly, don't ever expect people to fill in their salary honestly. It just 
isn't going to happen. Try to provide salary ranges instead. That has a 
better chance of being more accurate




<<<   *   >>>
Madhu Menon
Manager - User Experience
Trisoft Systems Pvt. Ltd.

Work: http://www.trisoft.net
Personal: http://madman.weblogs.com

More information about the thelist mailing list