Quoting Brent Simmons

Posted in Software at 1:00 am by

Brent Simmons:

One of the rules I’ve used […] is not to argue with “I bet lots of people are like me and want feature X,” but instead say why you specifically want feature X, or why you’d prefer some behavior or design change.

In other words: instead of just asserting that a thing would be better or more popular if done a different way, tell a story with details.

Maybe that’s not right for every beta test, but that’s what works for me. I like stories. A single person can convince me with a good story.

Brent has written about this point before, in the “Tuesday Whipper-Snapping” section of How to manipulate me (or, Tuesday Whipper-Snapping),1 but it’s an important point that bears repeating: when you are a user trying to explain to a developer/QA/support that you’d like feature X or think feature Y would work better in some other way, tell us why. Tell us what you’re trying to do, why you’re trying to do it. As Brent says, tell us a story, with details, about what you need/want to do with the software.

First, as the quotation above indicates, a good use-case (“story”) can often convince the person/people behind the software right off the bat of the importance and/or awesomeness of your proposed feature. Second, as Brent mentioned a decade ago (!) in the discussion of Exposé in “Tuesday Whipper-Snapping,” your story is important because it may lead to the developer(s) devising a new or easier or more clever way of helping you to accomplish your task, rather than the specific implementation you may have conceived yourself.

So, tell us stories about what you hope to do.


1 Which I’ve linked to before in my compilation of great “Brent Simmons on software development for end-users” articles. ↩︎

1 Comment »

  1. User Grav­atarافكار و احلام » A Strange Preparatory Footnote to the Fate of the Open Web said,

    06.01.17 at 5:33 pm

    […] of Gruber’s podcast. Since I think Brent Simmons is an interesting guy and often has useful things to say about software development, I was curious to see what his new project was. Since I am also a […]

Atom feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URL

Leave a Comment