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NZCS PR Programming Good Practice

The NZ Computer Society Programming Good Practice stream met on Thursday 20th June on the topic: User Interfaces that Work Hosted by Peace Software, led by Ian Mitchell with speaker Robert Barnes, vigorous debate erupted over the role of technical writers.

Some considered that programmers had an essential critical role in that they did control the source and the text of all messages while others considered that at least the scenarios (in XP: "stories") should be written by technical writers so that they were very clear in the first place.

Should spelling mistakes in messages be considered "bugs"?

How much of the user manual should come out of the code (as in JavaDoc) where it will better reflect what the code actually does? Should the user manual be written first as part of the specification? If so how many times will it be updated during development? What design of GUI and dialogue would leave the application truly "intuitive" and therefore not needing a manual? Should "usability" testing be done without a manual? Should "pop-up" help be entered or edited by programmers, by tech-writers or both?

The result: Clearly a topic for a further meeting! Regards,

Ian Mitchell, FNZCS Ph: +64 9 528-3350 Mobile: +64 25 965-608

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