steves.mind

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Archive for IT

Hello World!

God, I don’t think I remember the last time I made one of these starter “Hello World” applications, hah. Feels like I’m 12 back in the days when I was getting started into this addictive programming world.

Nothing too fancy here, but I going to give it a shot at mobile development for real. Not going to bring it into my “professional” life as at this point, to be honest, I just don’t feel like committing to anything. This is going to be something like a … hobbie.

PS: CEO, I hope you don’t forget about what you said in the meeting, I’m coming for ya! 😉

HTML5

In the mist of everything that is going on right now at work, I barely have time to write anything that is substantially interesting. However, I do have time to read the news when I get home and today I stumbled upon this. I’m not really up-to-date of the latest html5 news, but aside from what’s obvious, this is certainly a very nice feature. Considering that most of the browsers already have some support (remember html5 is not ready yet!) –  and even Android, iPhone and iPad support a good portion of it – it actually something to consider if you’re planning on building a website right now.

I will certainly add this to my “to do” list. I really want to try HTML5 out.

Development: User Interface is key to a sucessfull application

Now, more than ever, everything is about the looks. Not just technology, everything.

There’s a big difference between entering an office where everybody’s desks have piles of papers scattered around, documents on the floor and the employees dressed as if they were camping in a summer festival and an office where everything is clean, tidy and people dressed in a more formal way – why? Because the second scenario transmits organization and professionalism while the first one immediately makes you question the quality of the employees and their work. It’s not a golden rule as I’m certain there are a few exceptions to this, but it is a pretty accurate behavior. Society is becoming more aware and giving more value to the visual component of things which translate in a few simple concepts: design, style and eye-candy.

The last concept is a fusion of the first two, and that’s where you want to focus when we’re talking about new software applications. As a software developer every time I am given a new project I automatically think of delivering something awesome, not just good as, the way I see it, good is just delivering what the client asked nothing more, nothing less. We should always try and provide something better than what the client initially wanted which doesn’t necessarily implies adding new features and spending more time working, sometimes adding very simple things can add a lot of value to a software application and make your client happy.

I consider graphical interfaces the most important aspect of an application. The GUI (Graphical User Interface) of an application is the bridge between the human and machine, therefor the better the GUI the better the user will be able to do his job. Surely, you don’t want the user spending 10 minutes finding a menu, a link or a button to a key feature of your application the same way you don’t want to type 10 different passwords to log in onto your computer. Also, you don’t really want the user to get headaches from using the application because of huge contrasts or bright colors (e.g.: white text on red background) and obviously don’t want the user to keep clicking on the wrong button because it’s too close to some other element of the window/screen that the user uses frequently.

Keep in mind that the level of interaction, functionality and information delivery is done through the GUI so not only you will want the user to be able to do his work but you also want him to feel comfortable doing it. Designing a GUI must also take into consideration the human psychology and translate it into logic to provide the maximum level of usability and satisfaction.

Moreover, a client decision can heavily depend on the visual component of a software application as that’s the very first thing a user evaluates as soon as they see it and, it has a direct impact on how receptive they will be at using it.

Consequently it will also make the difference between acceptance and rejection in the marketplace.

Bogus feeling

A lot of people at my work consider the IT department an expense rather than a valuable part of the company. Moreover, not only they disregard its importance they also see the people who work at the IT dept. as “people who don’t do squat”. This type of feeling and mentality not only gives me the urge of punching everyone in the face but also makes me realize how clueless and ignorant the people at my work are. For a lot of them the reason behind the existence of an IT department in the company is as simple as “because we have computers”.

People take for granted the fact that, when they get to work, they will have a computer with a internet connection, access to their e-mail account and, in some cases, messenger. I’m cool with that, because in all honesty that is probably the lowest level type of thing(s) that the IT department is in charge of proving to the entire company. People do not realize that to send and receive emails there has to be a server providing a mail service, in order to see how much the company has made in the last day there is a sales system integrated with our core system (ERP) that processes and provides that information. People also fail to see how much work is behind an application that allows them to see if a order has arrived or if it’s still being processed, they fail to see how much time it took the IT people to create applications to make the other departments work easier. Basically, they fail at having the most basic understanding of what a IT department is.

Funniest part in all of this is people only have a glimpse of the importance of an department like mine when something stops working.

Sometimes I wish the servers went down for a week just to make people use the goddamn pen and paper like the old days. Even then I’m not sure if everybody would understand our work.

Here’s an interesting link that goes a bit more into detail about the importance of the IT in a company: http://sloanreview.mit.edu/special-report/it-innovation-schrage-video/