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Why are computer programs unnecessarily complicated?

  1. Sep 29, 2014 #1
    I was using iTunes, but I found myself having to do a Google search any time I wanted to do anything with it. And apparently lots of other people do too, because there's lots of results for the same exact questions I asked.
    So I decided to find an alternative to iTunes. I found a program called MediaMonkey. Well, a simple thing like erasing the iPod or putting music on the iPod is so esoteric that I have to, yet again, do Google searches to find out how to do it. Why can't they just have a button that says "Erase iPod" or "drag music here to put on iPod"? I've had problems like this with other programs as well. The features are just worded strangely, or the path you have to take to get to your goal is obscure. "Would it be in tools, properties, or options?" And the features that are of the least importance are the first ones you see. You'd think the most important features of iPod programs would to put music on or take music off of the iPod. But to do that, you have to do Google searches.
    However, if you want to "analyze volume" or access your "media server", it's right there in the front. No searching needed.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 29, 2014 #2

    Borg

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    Because if you put it right on top, people will do it accidently and then be upset that it was so easy to wreck their account.
     
  4. Sep 29, 2014 #3
    I was exaggerating a little with that one. I once had a game for Playstation that had an option to "format" memory card. I was a kid at the time and didn't know what "format" meant. So I clicked the button and it erased my memory card. Why that game even had that option, I'll never know.

    The point is, people download these programs to add and remove music from their iPod. The interface of the program could reflect what 99% of the users need to do most, but it doesn't.
     
  5. Sep 29, 2014 #4

    Borg

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    I think that the problems with intuitiveness come from various situations. While the developers can have a big say in how the programs function, management does have the final word. I can think of a couple of plausible scenarios where functions won't be as intuitive as they could be.

    1. Making the removal button not too easy but easier to access - management could decide that once the person removes the software, they are unlikely to return and therefore want to make that as difficult as possible.

    2. The other one depends on the software process itself. I have seen a number of projects where the developers will be given the initial task of putting together rough storyboards or design ideas for their manager and the first set of rough sketches becomes the design whether it makes sense or not. And, it's hard sometimes for developers to step back and look at their layout from a user's point of view. For the developer, even a convoluted process can seem 'obvious' to them because they've worked with it continuously.
     
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