Rounding Off the Edges

In Alex Russell’s latest blog post, When Utility Isn’t Enough, he writes that he’s “starting to focus more and more on the ’sharp edges’ of the web development experience.” I think he’s suggesting that we — tool developers and envelope pushers — might best spend our time reducing the pain points instead of always chasing the latest advancement. I agree. He continues that:

“rounding off the sharp edges is an exercise in usability: things are only useable (sic) when they do what you expect them to. A system that hurts you more than you expect isn’t useable.

I share his conclusion that “sacred cows and continually sunk costs” can’t continue forever.

Come to think of it, this is probably one of the chief issues of the past year, and forward too. A common manifestation of this syndrome is the ongoing struggle between “because it’s the standard” and “because it works.”